26.07.2012

Explore volcanoes on Wikimapia Pt.2

Today we continue exploring volcanoes from around the world with Wikimapia. African continent has drawn our attention this time. Most African volcanoes resulted from hotspots or the rifting in Earth crust, or a combination of both reasons.


The East African Rift

The East African rift, one of the world's most dramatic extensional structures, has produced the continent's highest and lowest volcanoes, ranging from the massive Kilimanjaro to vents in Ethiopia's Danakil Depression that lie below sea level. The East African Rift is an active continental rift zone in eastern Africa that appears to be a developing divergent tectonic plate boundary. The rift is a narrow zone in which the African Plate is in the process of splitting into two smaller tectonic plates. If you switch on “volcano” category and watch East Africa you’ll notice the contour of the rift right away as the red marks that show volcanoes will be grouped in the eastern part of the continent in a line.

The highest mountain in Africa is Kilimanjaro - the dormant volcano from Tanzania with three volcanic cones. Its highest peak Unuru is 5,895 metres above the sea level. There is a permanent snow pack on the peak. The second peak Mawenzi (height 5.354 m.) its located on the righ of Uhuru. Estimated to be 12 sq km in 1900, the ice cap on the highest point in Africa is now only 2 sq km. One of the most visible signs of global warming, the snows of Kilimanjaro have dwindled some 80 percent in little more than a century. Ice has also thinned significantly, leading scientists to believe the famous sight could be gone by 2020. Now that is something to think about.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Cameroon is an active volcano in Cameroon near the Gulf of Guinea. It is just a bit lower than Kilimanjaro and is 4,**** m high. More than 100 small cinder cones, occur on the flanks and surrounding lowlands of the volcano. A large satellitic peak, Etinde (also known as Little Cameroon), is located on the southern flank near the coast. Historical activity, the most frequent of west African volcanoes, was first observed in the 5th century BC by the Carthaginian navigator Hannon. During historical time, moderate explosive and effusive eruptions have occurred from both summit and flank vents. Eruption in 1922 produced a lava flow that reached the Atlantic coast, and a lava flow from a 1999 eruption stopped only 200 m from the sea.

Mount Cameroon

Mount Elgon is a huge, ancient, and eroded stratovolcano which sits astride the Uganda-Kenya border. Although not the tallest of the isolated volcanoes of East Africa, it is among the largest in volume, rising up from a base over 80 km in diameter on the plains at about 1200 m elevation. Elgon is topped by a caldera about 8 km in diameter, with several high points over 4000 m along the rim. Elgon is noted for its unique Afro-alpine trees and plants, and for the many caves in its mid-elevation slopes, where elephants and other large animals can often be found eating mineral salts. These caves are not lava tubes, since Elgon has few suitable lava flows, but are instead eroded from the volcanic tuff (welded ash flows) which make up the bulk of Elgon's volume (digging by elephants may also contribute to the enlargement of the caves).

Mount Elgon

In Africa except the already familiar to us but none the less striking volcanoes you can find some volcanic places that you couldn’t ever see in Europe. And I’m speaking about lava lakes.

In Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park, mount Nyiragongo is situated. Nyiragongo volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Africa. Its main crater is about two km wide and usually contains a lava lake. The crater presently has two distinct cooled lava benches within the crater walls - one at about 3175 m and a lower one at about 2975 m. Nyiragongo's lava lake has at times been the most voluminous known lava lake in recent history. The depth of the lava lake varies considerably. A maximum elevation of the lava lake was recorded at about 3250 m prior to the January 1977 eruption, lake depth of about 600 m. Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira volcanoes are together responsible for 40% of Africa's historical volcanic eruptions. On the satellite photo you may even see the smoke from the lava lake rising high.

Mount Nyiragongo Lava Lake

Erta Ale ("smoking mountain" in Afar) is an active shield volcano in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia. It is the most active volcano in the country. Erta Ale is 613 metres tall, with a lava lake, one of only five in the world, at the summit. It is notable for being the longest existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century. It is known locally and in lore as a "gateway to hell". Erta Ale is located in the Afar Depression, a desert area spanning the border with Eritrea, and the volcano itself is surrounded completely by an area below sea level. On this satellite picture you can even see the result of overflowing lava - long black lava traces.

Erta Ale

The next volcano disproves the stereotype that volcanoes are always high mountains.
The Danakil depression is one of the world's most extraordinary places, where giant tectonic forces rip the Earth crust apart. Active volcanoes, deep depression and infinite salt deposits are the result. The Danakil is one of the most hostile and fascinating places, but also home to one of the richest salt deposits. For thousands of years the salt has been being faught over here, exploited and exported. It is ruled over by the proud tribe of the Afar. Up to today, this work is being done as in biblical times. The craters of Danakil are the lowest known subaerial volcanoes. The most recent of these craters, Dallol, lies 48 m below sea level and was formed during an eruption in 1926. Colorful hot brine springs are found in the Dallol area.

Dallol

Another interesting natural volcanic phenomena is a volcanic field. A volcanic field is an area of the Earth's crust that is prone to localized volcanic activity, it usually contains 10 to 100 volcanoes and is usually in clusters. Lava flows may also occur. A volcanic field is probably a perfect place for filming a movie about the Moon. Natural decorations are ready and waiting for a brave film director for thousands years!

Jabal Meidub Volcanic Field is situated in western Sudan. Basaltic scoria cones are scattered throughout the field, their lavas have produced a broad lava plateau. The youngest dated eruptions about 5000 years ago produced a tuff ring and a lava flow. But this is only the one of many volcanic fields in Africa. Here is Mega Basalt Vulcanic field, straddling the Ethiopia-Kenya border. These two neighbor volcanic fields are also very picturesque.

Jabal Meidub Volcanic Field

Unfortunately, the largest part of the amazing volcanoes is hard to visit. You either need to be an experienced mountaineer or find a save guide and be prepared physically for a long journey in desert. But gladly that doesn't mean, that just a "man of mould" will never enjoy the beauty of African volcanoes.
Volcanoes National Park, which is situated in northwestern Rwanda, is a perfect place for inquisitive tourists! On the territory of the Volcanoes National Park the very rare, and endangered species of mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) are living on the slopes of the vulcanoes. Moreover, there are some picturesque lakes and caves to visit.
Just not far from Volcanoes National Park is The Virunga National Park, formerly named Albert National Park, which a tourist can also visit. Although the volcanoes in national parks are not the biggest, they are probably much more suitable for tourism.

Volcanoes National Park

As you may see, Africa is a continent, that is full of volcanoes. All, that are mentioned in this article, are already marked on Wikimapia, but their description will be certainly improved, if you find them and add more photos and information. But even a larger part of volcanoes are left unknown and await their turn to be revealed to Wikimapia Community.

18.07.2012

The Eiffel tower conquers the World

The Eiffel Tower was built as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair on the Champ de Mars in Paris. Though it wasn’t the love from the first sight between citizens and the “Iron Lady”, within the years the tower has become both a global icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Named for its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower is the tallest building in Paris and one of the most-visited monuments.

The Eiffel Tower

We on Wikimpia have the “eiffel” category (don’t confuse with German “eifel” with one “f”) that is is given to the objects made by Gustave Eiffel (like railway bridge in Pronto, Spain or railway station in Budapest, Hungary) or connected with the architect somehow.
But these places are not the only that can be put in “eiffel” category. The Eiffel tower was a revolutionary word in architecture. It excited architects from the whole world, so some of them made their own buildings inspired by the same technology like Blackpool Tower or Tokyo tower.

The Blackpool Tower is a tourist attraction in the town of Blackpool, Lancashire, in the north of England. The tower, 158 m tall, first opened to the public on 14 May 1894. Unlike the Eiffel Tower, it is not quite free-standing, its base is hidden by a building housing the Blackpool Tower circus. The top of the tower is accessed by two lifts. There are four viewing platforms open to the public, the lower of which is completely enclosed. These afford views of much of Lancashire and the Isle of Man, in addition to Blackpool and the rest of the Fylde peninsula. The enclosed lower platform contains a glass floor above the south-west leg that allows visitors to look down on the street below. The tower is topped by a flagpole, and normally flies the Union flag except during the illuminations when the flagpole is lit by nearly one hundred lamps. The tower is used as a transmission location by one local FM station and a variety of non-broadcast services. The tower is normally painted dark red, but for its centenary in 1994 was painted gold.
The tower is lit during the annual illuminations, when the town and seafront are adorned with colourful displays of bulbs that stretch up and down the waterfront for several kilometres. It is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers.

The Blackpool Tower

Tokyo tower is a communications and observation tower located in Shiba Park, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. At 332.5 metres, it is the second tallest artificial structure in Japan. The tower is painted white and international orange to comply with air safety regulations. Built in 1958, the tower's main sources of revenue are tourism and antenna leasing. Over 150 million people have visited the tower since its opening. FootTown, a 4-storey building located directly under the tower, houses museums, restaurants and shops. Departing from here, guests can visit two observation decks. The 2-storey Main Observatory is located at 150 metres, while the smaller Special Observatory reaches a height of 250 metres.

Tokyo tower

Petřín Tower was built in 1891 in Prague. It extends to a height of 60 meters and was inspired by Paris' Eiffel Tower. In fact, with its hilltop setting, the tower's peak height above sea level is roughly equal to that of the Eiffel Tower. Visitors can, for a small fee, climb the stairs to the top of the tower, and command a clear nice view of Prague. Better views, as well as a couple of restaurants and some excellently secluded picnicking spots, are to be found in the park on the hillside below.

Petrin Tower, Prague

As every great work of art, the Eiffel tower has not only its followers, but a lot of replicas from around the world. And the biggest replica of it is in Las Vegas, USA.

Paris Las Vegas is a hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, it includes a half scale 165 m tall replica of the Eiffel Tower, a sign in the shape of the Montgolfier balloon, a two-thirds size Arc de Triomphe, a replica of La Fontaine des Mers and a 1,200-seat theatre called Le Théâtre des Arts. This place is probably even more french than Paris itself! A perfect hotel for a honeymoon or just a romantic journey in french style.

Replica in Las Vegas

If you feel like spending the day in french atmosphere, you should visit a closest amusement park. In such places (like in Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, USA, or miniature park in Brussels, Belgium) you will certainly find La Tour Effeil.

The one-tenth replica of the Eiffel Tower at France pavilion at Walt Disney World Resort was also constructed using Gustav Eiffel's original blueprints. If you looked at the Eiffel Tower today as it stands in Paris, it would be colored in dark grey. However, here in Epcot, the Eiffel Tower is more tan and pinkish. The reason is the France Pavilion here represents the late 1800s and the Eiffel Tower is the same color it would have been then. Here even most of the shops are actual shops selling French goods such as Guerlain perfumes. The pavilion features "Impressions de France", a panoramic movie shown on five adjacent screens, offers a whirlwind tour through the country set to the sound of French classical music. A real old nice France in the middle of USA.

Replica at Walt Disney World Resort

Mini-Europe is a Belgian miniature park that has the reproductions of the most attractive monuments in the European Union on show, at a scale of 1:25, including the Eiffel Tower as well.

Mini-Europe, Brussels

Here is a Chinese replica of the Eiffel Tower in Shenzhen, at the Window of the World theme park. The park has about 130 reproductions of some of the most famous tourist attractions in the world squeezed into 48 hectares. The 108 metre tall Eiffel Tower dominates the skyline.

Replica in Shenzhen


If you search for "eiffel" in Romania you will find something really amazing. It seems like the tower was "born" in western Europe. Here are the old mine, where people used to produce iron, and a blast furnace for iron ore smelting. The iron made here can be found today at the Eiffel Tower. Pretty natural that there is a little Tour Effeil in Romania as well.

Replica in Slobozia, Romania

La Tour Effeil can show up in most unexpected places! Obviously people just love to built it near their houses or neighborhoods, probably just to add a little bit of "romantisme français" in their lives. However, here are some Rrussian Eiffel towers:
A 11 meters tall Eiffel Tower in Perm, Russia, is a popular place for newlyweds to celebrate their marriage. Indeed, why not to start your family life with a glass of champagne near the most romantic monument in the world?

Replica in Perm, Russia

Here is a town called PARIS not far from Cheljabinsk, Russia, with an Eiffel Tower right in the middle of it! Paris was founded in the beginning of 19th century, but the tower appeared just a few years ago in 2005. Can you imagine what an astonishment see the citizens of Russian Paris on peoples faces, when they introduce themselves in a conversation?

Paris, Russia

This is certainly not the whole list of the Eiffel towers in the world. You can literally find them everywhere: a lonely Eiffel Tower right in front of a gas station in a deserted area in Tatarstan, Russia, or a little copy of the Eiffel Tower in Donetsk, Ukraine. This one is from Varna, Bulgaria.

If you have any information about an Eiffel tower in your town you can share your knowledge with other members of Community or just contribute to Wikimapia by gathering all the towers from todays article to one special category. And don't forget to give a proper category to all your objects, these structures the data and may help to find even more interesting things!

11.07.2012

Explore volcanoes on Wikimapia Pt.1

Some people say that the World will end up in volcano explosions. Well, we on Wikimapia are not so pessimistic. Nevertheless, it is always better to be aware of a potential danger, especially, when it is such a beautiful and breathtaking natural phenomena. There are about 600 active volcanoes on Earth and nobody can even guess how many of them in total, as the biggest part is covered by the ocean. Wikimapia users when tagging volcanoes add a proper category to each of them, so it’s easy to filter them out. Today Wikimapia suggests you to explore volcanoes in Europe.
Usually we don’t associate Grand Dame Europe with a place full of sizzling hot magma floods. And that’s pretty fair. The biggest part of European volcanoes are extinct, which means that there is no written records of their activity, and look more like old closed up scars than a dangerous crust on the planet surface.

Here is a picturesque green mountain in France - Puy de Dôme, which is actually the highest and the youngest point in the Massif Central of France. In pre-Christian Europe, Puy de Dôme served as an assembly place for spiritual ceremonies. Than a Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to the God Mercury was built here. Today there is a transmitter for FM and TV on the top of the mountain.

Puy-de-Dome

Another quite and beautiful volcano is Santa Margarida Volcano in Catalonia, Spain. Its height of 682 meters, the volcano is part of the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park. It was named Santa Margarida as there was the hermitage of saint inside the crater of the volcano. The building was destroyed in 1428 during the Catalonia earthquake and rebuilt in 1865. Today Santa Margarida Volcano looks like a perfect place for long walks and relaxation.

Santa Margarida Volcano

But some European volcanoes are not as serenely as it may seem. There is still couple of colossal volcanoes, that remind about themselves from time to time.
No surprise that Iceland is the leader of all European countries among the amount of volcanoes. Volcanoes in Iceland are mostly covered with glaciers and this fact provides indeed an amazing view.

Eyjafjallajökull is probably the most famous volcano in our days. And the funniest thing is that it is not the real name of a volcano (which has no name at all), but the name of glacier that covers it. Its last eruption in April 2010 caused meltwater floods rushing down the nearby rivers, so 800 people were evacuated. The eruption threw volcanic ash several kilometres up in the atmosphere which led to air travel disruptions in northwest Europe for the whole 5 days.

Eyjafjallajökull

Surprising that volcano that made tho whole world speaking about it, is a minor volcano on the island. The largest one is Öræfajökull - a dormant volcano, which is also the highest peak in Iceland 2119 m high, part of the Vatnajökull glacier. Though the word dormant seems to have a peaceful meaning, the volcano can blow up anytime, and that would be much worse than in 2010.

Öraefajökull

To be honest, we should admit that volcanos can not only destroy but even create new life. And a good example is Surtsey - a volcanic island off the southern coast of Iceland. It is also the southernmost point of Iceland. It was formed in a volcanic eruption which began 130 metres below sea level, and reached the surface on 15 November 1963. Surtsey was declared a nature reserve in 1965 while the eruption was still in active progress.

Surtsey island

Italy is also a volcanically active country. Here you can find the only active volcanoes in mainland Europe.

Vesuvius is a stratovolcano to the east of the city of Naples. It is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years, although it is not currently erupting. The area around Vesuvius was officially declared a national park on 5 June 1995. The summit of Vesuvius is open to visitors and there is a small network of paths around the mountain that are maintained by the park authorities on weekends. Another noteworthy fact about Vesuvius is that on the slopes of the mountain it is the oldest volcanology institute in the world founded in 1841.

Mount Vesuvius

Mount Etna is another Italian active volcano on the east coast of Sicily. It is the largest active volcano in Europe, currently standing about 3,326 m high, which means that Mount Ethna is nearly three times the height of Mount Vesuvius. The size and amazing look of Ethna is so impressing, that ancient Greeks had a legend, that this was the home of Hephaestus, the god of fire, whose great forge was built here as well.

Mount Etna

You can also find volcanos in Greece.

Crater Stefanos on volcanic island Nisyros is the biggest and most important crater which monopolises the tourists' interest as it is one of the biggest and best preserved hydrothermal volcanoes in the world.

Crater Stefanos

Another remarkable volcanic place in Greece is a small, circular archipelago of volcanic islands located in the southern Aegean Sea, Santorini. It is the most active volcanic centre in the South Aegean Volcanic Arc, though what remains today is largely a water-filled caldera. The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions the planet has ever seen: the Minoan eruption, which occurred some 3,500 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of feet deep and may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km to the south, through the creation of a gigantic tsunami. Another popular theory holds that Santorini eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis.

Santorini islands

This is certainly not the whole list of volcanoes in Europe. On Wikimapia almost 2 500 objects have ‘volcano’ category. Though it is a lot of data to explore, there are still many volcanoes left untagged or without a detailed description. We appreciate every contribution of our users and look forward to see more information as well. Explore the world with Wikimapia and share your knowledge with other members of Community.
http://wikimapia.org/#lat=53.1866609&lo ... =b&tag=567

11.07.2012

Upgrading Wikimapia API

We are starting to improve Wikimapia API. If you are interested in application development, based on Wikimapia API, please, take part in our API forum discussion here viewtopic.php?f=12&t=10099

10.07.2012

Interactive roads

iroads.jpg

Today we are pleased to introduce a long-awaited feature - road interactivity.
As you can see, not only places can be added and described on Wikimapia, there are also roads. From the beginning it was difficult to browse for road pages as a user couldn’t open them directly from the default site mode. With the new feature the access to the road pages expanded, so you can hover mouse over any road and see it highlighted and the tooltip with its name appears. Then, if you click on the road you’ll see it’s description, which any registered user can edit.

This new feature is aimed to make data search easier and increase the amount of valuable information that might help you to orientate yourself on the map better.
Road interactivity is currently working on the New Wikimapia (http://new.wikimapia.org/) starting from the 12th zoom level. So you can already get familiar with the new feature and don’t forget to leave your suggestions for improving Wikimapia on forum and report us about bugs on bugtracker.

04.07.2012

Wikimapia blog

During these years our users have been adding and gathering different information from around the world, and we value every little peace of it a lot. It is you who make Wikimapia information unique and interesting. Today we are starting to keep Wikimapia blog aimed to encourage our contributors and share most amusing places and latest news on Wikimapia with you.

Those, who've been with us for a long time may remember that we had already tried to keep a blog, but probably that just wasn't the right time. It happened so that the old blog became a bit separate from Wikimapia community and we moved the news and topics on forum. Today we decided to bring back the idea of Wikimapia blog. We believe you’ll enjoy the new version of it or even learn something new.

http://blog.wikimapia.org/

03.07.2012

Venues and Infrastructure of 2012 Summer Olympics of London

On 27 July 2012 Summer Olympics will begin with a magnificent opening ceremony in London. Wikimapia users are fond of Olympics and already have tagged all Olympic venues in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. On basis of these information we prepared a guide of the forthcoming event for you.

Olymp1+2.jpg

View on Olympic Park

To get an idea of 2012 Olympics geography you need to find London on the map and switсh on ‘olympic venue’ category. You’ll see a group of buildings to the north-east of the city center - the Olympic Park that covers parts of Stratford, Bow, Leyton and Homerton in East London.
To start the journey through Olympic Park you should come to Stratford International Railway Station. Exit the station and you’ll get right to Westfield Stratford City - the gateway to the Olympic Park, with 70% of visitors to the games projected to pass through it. That’s a nice place for shopping, buying some souvenirs or having dinner. The shopping centre includes 300 stores, 70 restaurants, a Vue Cinema, a bowling alley, and a casino.

Olympstadium.jpg
Passing through Westfield Stratford City you’ll see the most important Olympic venues - Olympic stadium, where opening and closing ceremonies will take place, and Aquatics Centre. Olympic stadium is situated on a picturesque Stadium Island, surrounded by waterways. It is not the official name of the island yet, though it has come into common use.

Olympic stadium & Aquatics Centre

Olymp3+3.jpg
Right in front of the stadium is the Orbit Tower.
The colossal steel sculpture is Britain's largest piece of public art,
and is intended to be a permanent, lasting legacy of
London's hosting of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Sited between the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre,
it allows visitors to view the whole Olympic Park from two observation platforms.

Orbit Tower

Aquatics Center is the venue for swimming, diving, and synchronised swimming events of the Summer Olympics. Designed by Zaha Hadid, the Aquatics Centre has a distinctive design incorporating a curved roof. It contain two 50-metre swimming pools and a 25 metre diving pool and have a capacity of 17,500.
On the other hand of the Railway Station is the 2012 Olympic Village, which seems a pleasant place for living. 2800 homes are built here for the olympics, and another 1500 being added on after the games. The buildings will be mixed used, with shops and cafes on the bottom floors and 2-4 bedroom houses.
Right behind the village there is the Basketball Arena, that will host the basketball preliminaries and handball semi-finals and final, and the London Velodrome with BMX Circuit.

Eton Manor is the northernnmost area of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It will house temporary training pools for participants in aquatics events, including three 50m pools for swimmers, and smaller pools for synchronised swimmers and water polo competitors.
The Handball Arena for the handball preliminaries and quarter finals and modern pentathlon fencing and shooting events of the 2012 Summer Olympics is located between the stadium and Summer Olympics Media Center. Nearby is Olympic Hockey Center.

MilleniumDome.jpg
Far from the Olympic Park, behind the Themes,
there are two more buildings that are related to Summer Olympics:
ExCeL London, a large purpose-built exhibition and conference center
where boxing, fencing, judo, table tennis, taekwondo, weightlifting
and wrestling events of the 2012 Summer Olympics will take place,
and The O2 (Formerly The Millennium Dome),
where the artistic gymnastics and basketball finals will be held.

Millennium Dome

Wembleystad.jpg
On the opposite side of London city there is famous Wembley Stadium.
Among the events hosted at Wembley Stadium is
the football final of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Wembley Arena is located nearby.
During the 2012 Olympics, it will host the badminton and rhythmic gymnastics events.

Wembley Stadium

If you planning to take a break between Olympic events and see some London city sights, you may filter all objects by 'interesting places' category and undoubtedly find something to satisfy your taste.
Watch and enjoy the Olympic games with Wikimapia!
http://wikimapia.org/#lat=51.5444723&lo ... =b&tag=266