Some time ago I had written about how Wikimapia was a huge benefit in a country like India where we had little or no mapping of relevance. Particularly the kind of digital and satellite maps you can zoom in and out of many parts of the world.
I don’t know about everyone else but many friends and colleagues at work have found the concept and its utility fascinating. Considering you can identify and mark your home or area out on the map, wherever in the world. A friend who lives in north Mumbai’s Yari Road area found that his neighbour’s teenage daughter had already imprinted her name on his building. And just six families live there.
A colleague from work told me how the satellite picture of his village near Ratnagiri on the south western coast of India was taken exactly 1 year and 8 months ago (or some thing as precise). How, by looking at some construction activity which had just begun there.
A Wiki Project on Bribes !
The Economist in its latest issue talks about the Wiki principle in some detail. I also learn from the same article that “the word “wiki” comes from the Hawaiian word for “quick”, but also stands for “what I know is…. Wikis are thus the purest form of participatory creativity and intellectual sharing..” The same issue of The Economist carries an extensive survey on how newspapers’ very existence is at question.
Everyone is aware of collaborative experiences like Wikipedia, an online encyclopaedia now believed to be several times larger than the Encyclopaedia Britannica. And expanding every day.
It strikes me that we should look to create more Wiki concepts like Wikimapia. Except that it could be dedicated to India or specific, information-starved areas within India. For instance, a Wiki project on government departments that accept or demand bribes with details of who, when and in what circumstances. Of course its prone to misuse. But so are so many things. Though experience suggest collaborative projects have a tendency to self-correct over time.
Right To Information Magnified !
Or a Wiki concept on the number of times your local MLA has actually done some work..or even your local usually lazy corporator. Or the last time the roads were paved and with what. You can even link with Wikimapia’s satellite images. To create a richer experience. Obviously this is your version of events but like I said before, it will self-correct. Think about it, its like a Right To Information Act concept magnified several times. But I sense it could work. Am sure you can think of more such Wiki concepts !