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'Israel's latest invention: free hi-res aerial photos for all.

Where do Wikis--the official ones, like Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikibooks, Wikimedia Commons, and all their Wiki brothers and sisters--come from? They are established and managed by the Wikipedia Foundation, the official world repository of all things Wiki.

Joining their rank this year as the "coolest Wiki project" will be an Israeli invention, WikiAir, a project that will show the world, via free high-resolution aerial photos, the nicer side of Israel. Eventually, as the project is adopted in other countries, WikiAir will bring beautiful bird's-eye views of all the world's most interesting sites.

WikiAir is more than just a collection of photos of pretty places; it's a system of agreements to enable Wiki volunteers to take advantage of air travel in order to easily and cheaply take high-resolution photos of interesting and unique sites from the air.

Volunteer photographers hitch a ride with private planes and on short-range commercial flights that fly at lower altitudes, and take photos from the air using long-distance lenses. The photos are then uploaded to the WikiAir site as hi-res photos, where anyone can view or use them, within the parameters of the usage agreement common to most wikis (no cost to use for informational sites, educational use, and publications; attribution required).

While somewhat similar to Google StreetView, WikiAir is less about mapping the world than about highlighting important and interesting places, said Amos Maron, director of WikiMedia Israel. All of the sites being photographed are under established and legal civilian air routes, so unlike Google StreetView or Google Earth, there is no danger that a secret security installation will inadvertently show up in the photo mix.

By The Times of Israel

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Publication:Israel Faxx
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Aug 1, 2013
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