Quick Start Guide

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Wiki.gis.com was founded with the purpose of establishing a GIS-specific wiki for professionals, students and anyone interested in GIS and related topics. Registration is not required to view pages on wiki.gis.com, but unlike Wikipedia.com, is required to perform on-site editing. Creating an account and logging on is accomplished by clicking on the links in the top-right corner of the web browser. You will be asked to validate your email address, but you don’t have to reveal any personal information.

Once you have created an account, participating in a wiki community can be a daunting experience to new users, but a rewarding experience to those who learn a few basics to participate and contribute subject-matter expertise to the community.

It's important part is to take small steps on the path to mastering the MediaWiki system, and solicit help along the way if you get stuck. Help can be found in many places online, as well as emailing the wiki.gis.com administrator. A good place to start is by learning how to edit existing content and expanding on that experience to create unique content.

Editing an existing article vs. creating a new article

Existing articles can be edited, or new articles created.
Before adding a new article, it is important to ascertain whether the article already exists. If an article exists, it can be edited by logged-in users.

It is easy to edit the contents of a wiki page.

  1. Click the "edit" tab at the top of the wiki page.
  2. Make any necessary edits or additions to the text.
  3. Click the "Save page" button.

Note: It is highly recommended to click the "Preview page" button to preview the wiki page with your edits or additions prior to clicking the "Save page" button to save the wiki page with the current edits.

Once you are comfortable with editing an article, you can begin experimenting with creating articles, adding images, links, tables and other functions. The wiki markup language offers a wealth of automated rendering functions to format and display text and links with a few simple keystrokes. While it doesn’t have the same level of sophistication as some other markup languages, users will find they can learn the basics of creating and displaying articles and content with a few simple minutes of instruction.

Basic steps to creating an article

Before creating a new article, it is important to make sure that the term does not already exist. The search box in the upper right corner of the window is a good place to start, but visitors can also browse by article categories, recent articles and other on-site pages.

The "Special Pages" link on the left-navigation menu displays a wealth of different pages, categories and content types available on the wiki. The requested pages link is another link that displays pages that have been requested by the community, or are referenced on existing pages without supporting content.

  1. Make sure the term does not exists by performing a search. If the term exists, search on a new term, or the user will be given the option of editing an article from the search results.
  2. If the term does not exist, the user will be given the option of adding a topic.
    1. Select a boilerplate by selecting an item from the drop-down menu a selecting "Load." (A boilerplate is a basic template type that can be filled in with content appropriate to that template type.) The six types of boilerplates are: Generic Template, Technology Template, Process Template, Organization Template, People Template and User-Group Template.
    2. After selecting the boilerplate type and selecting load, fill in the relevant content into the Wikitext editor.
    3. Images can also be added to an article by uploading and referencing from within an article.
  3. Once the content is complete, a category will have to be selected before publishing. A category groups related content in a hierarchical tree.

Adding Images

Adding images to the wiki is easily done by first logging in, then uploading a file. This wiki accepts png, gif, jpg, jpeg and svg formats up to a maximum file size of 8MB.

To upload an image:

  1. Browse to locate the file you want to upload
  2. Enter the destination filename (used to simplify complex names when uploading.)
  3. Enter a summary (a description of the image.)
  4. Select upload options
  5. Select "Upload File."

The options of "Watch this file" and "Ignore any warnings" are not required. The most simple way to display an image once it has been uploaded is by using the file name in the format of:

[[File:File.jpg]] to use the full version of the file Other options can be found on the Adding images page. These many options allow for thumbnail versions, wrap-around text, captions, galleries and other options.

Content Basics

The default WikiMedia engine is designed to display content in a left-to-right, top-to-bottom fashion. At the top of the article is the title, followed by a table of contents--if there are four or more headings--and the body copy. By default images are displayed on the right.

Headings and Subheadings

Headings and subheading are used to break up content into navigable pieces. To define a heading, bracket the word or phrase with two equal signs

== Introduction == This is a main heading, that enters the text into the table of contents, as well as displaying a line below to divide the content from the heading. A subheading displays a smaller heading in large, bold format. A subheading is created by using three equal signs to bracket the word or phrase, i.e.

=== Beginning === . More information about headings can be found at [Wikipedia.com]

Articles with four or more headings automatically render a table of contents with headings listed. The code on the right overlay displays the results shown with arrows on the left.

Font Formatting

Fonts are easily formatted using a few keystrokes. Below are some commonly-used basic font-formatting options that can be used in the Wikitext entry form.

Description You type You get
character (inline) formatting – applies anywhere
Italic text


Bold text


Bold and italic

'''''bold & italic'''''

bold & italic
Escape wiki markup

no ''markup''</nowiki>

no ''markup''

Using Images in Articles

The most basic use of images takes the form of [[File:File.jpg]] where File.jpg is the name of an image that was previously uploaded from the "Upload file" menu option. This tag will display the image in full-size format with a right alignment by default.

The full syntax for displaying an image is:


Where options can be zero or more of the following, separated by pipes:

  • border, frame, thumb, or frameless: Controls how the image is formatted
  • left, right, center, none: Controls the alignment of the image within a text
  • baseline, sub, super, top, text-top, middle, bottom, text-bottom: Controls the vertical alignment of the image within a text
  • {width} px: Resizes the image to the given width in pixels
  • {width}x{height}px: Resizes the image to fit within the given width and height in pixels; it is possible to specify only the height by writing x{height}px
    • Note that the image will always retain its aspect ratio.
  • link={destination}: Allows to link to an arbitrary title, URL or just nowhere
    • link= : Will display an image without link, e.g.


Here are some basic-use examples of displaying images.

  1. Image displayed in a 300-pixels-wide, reduced-size from it's original 616 pixels wide x 424 pixels tall format using the code



Here is an example of an image displayed 300 pixels wide as a thumbnail with a caption using the code:

[[File:OrteliusWorldMap.jpeg|300px|thumb|Caption]] When clicked, the image will open to a larger version of the image along with information about the image if provided on upload.

Here is an example of a left-aligned image displayed 300 pixels wide as a thumbnail with a caption using the code:

[[File:OrteliusWorldMap.jpeg|left|300px|link=Atlas]] .

When clicked, the browser will go to the page titled Atlas.


This image is right aligned and the text will flow around it:

[[File:OrteliusWorldMap.jpeg|right|300px|This image is right aligned the the text flows around the image]] .

This image is right aligned the the text flows around the image

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam sit amet nulla ut est venenatis scelerisque. Pellentesque nibh mi, imperdiet in tincidunt accumsan, dictum sed elit. Suspendisse pulvinar pellentesque purus nec luctus. Vivamus pharetra lorem neque, ut posuere lacus. Curabitur fringilla imperdiet felis, eu auctor lorem commodo quis. Suspendisse at risus et metus faucibus gravida. Vestibulum at eros ut nisl commodo sagittis. Praesent faucibus tortor malesuada massa auctor a faucibus erat laoreet. Vivamus dignissim lacus vel libero tincidunt scelerisque. Suspendisse nec ipsum lorem. Fusce adipiscing bibendum orci ac fringilla. Morbi tincidunt commodo nisi, a adipiscing nibh cursus sit amet. Vivamus tortor urna, mattis a vehicula et, faucibus ac nibh.

In odio nisi, ornare quis vestibulum ac, auctor vel leo. Phasellus dolor sem, tempor nec lacinia ac, aliquam feugiat dui. Vivamus ornare, eros a varius aliquet, tellus erat adipiscing libero, et suscipit dui magna ac magna. Vestibulum vel fringilla nibh. Nullam ornare pellentesque velit, sit amet mollis risus commodo nec. Donec in tincidunt magna. Fusce dui metus, bibendum ut tempor vel, malesuada sed quam. Vestibulum eu mi id odio dapibus dictum. Vestibulum accumsan scelerisque semper. Donec tristique sagittis condimentum. Ut in suscipit nibh. Vestibulum sem eros, pharetra at sollicitudin ac, rutrum malesuada sapien. Mauris non vehicula dolor. Nam nisi lacus, hendrerit sit amet scelerisque posuere, lobortis pellentesque massa.

Vivamus at est enim, sit amet pharetra felis. Ut suscipit interdum nulla vel varius. Suspendisse potenti. Nam urna tellus, vulputate ut iaculis porttitor, accumsan a justo. Cras a elit tortor. Morbi ac lectus ut nulla facilisis facilisis vitae ac libero. Phasellus magna ipsum, iaculis vel convallis a, lobortis vitae neque. Quisque vel turpis quam, non sollicitudin ipsum. Donec egestas fringilla posuere. Morbi id dui sed est porta suscipit non nec felis. Curabitur bibendum hendrerit odio sed adipiscing. Phasellus mattis purus dapibus nibh varius euismod auctor elit posuere. Nam placerat suscipit tincidunt. Donec sit amet risus nec lorem pellentesque semper. Donec rhoncus sollicitudin diam, at aliquet massa rutrum scelerisque. Mauris at nisl eu arcu ullamcorper ultrices quis sit amet neque. Maecenas dictum, ipsum at convallis interdum, ante magna interdum elit, non vulputate quam ligula id est. Aenean imperdiet turpis at augue gravida in aliquam diam vestibulum.


Wiki markup language provides an easy way to build both internal(wiki.gis.com) and external links to other resources on the web.

Internal Links

To add an internal link, enclose the name of the page you want to link to in double square brackets. When you save the page, you'll see the new link pointing to your page. If the page exists already it is displayed in blue, if it does not, in red. Selflinks to the current page are not transformed in URLs but displayed in bold. (If you really want to link to the current page, use an anchor (see below), or [[#top|current page]] which always links to the top.)

The first letter of the target page is automatically capitalized, unless otherwise set by the admins, and spaces are represented as underscores (typing an underscore in the link will have a similar effect as typing a space, but is not recommended, since the underscore will also be shown in the text).

Description You type You get
Internal link
[[Main Page]]
Main Page
Piped link
[[Main Page|different text]]
different text
Shortened sort-of-piped link
#REDIRECT [[Main Page]]
Main Page
Internal link to an anchor
[[#See also]]

Section headings and the top of the page are automatically anchored.

#See also
Internal link to an anchor at another page
[[Help:Adding_images#See also]]
Help:Adding images#See also
Internal link to the current page's talk page
Internal link to a category page

External Links

Often there is a need to add references, citations, or further reading links to a wiki page. When these links are external to wiki.gis.com, it becomes necessary to add specific code to insert these external links into the wiki page. But first a note of caution: while some external links on a wiki page are welcome, it is not wiki.gis.com's purpose to become a comprehensive list of external links related to each topic. No page should be linked from a wiki.gis.com page unless its inclusion is justifiable. If the Web site or page to which you want to link includes information that is not yet a part of your wiki page, consider using it as a source for the article, and citing it. Guidelines for sourcing, which includes external links used as citations, are discussed at Help:Citing sources.

Description You type You get
External link
External link with different label
[http://wiki.gis.com wiki.gis.com]
External link numbered
External link icons

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.avi video]

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.wav sound]

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.pdf document]

External link icons may differ depending on the file type of the target.




External link to the same host
External link to other host passing the pagename
Mailto link
[mailto:info@example.org email me]
email me
Mailto named with subject line and body
[mailto:info@example.org?Subject=URL%20Encoded%20Subject&body=Body%20Text info]

Important points to remember

  1. External links should not normally be used in the body of a wiki page. Instead, include appropriate external links in an "External links" section at the end of the wiki page.
  2. Links in the "External links" section should be relevant to the wiki page from which they are linked. A lack of external links or a small number of external links is not a reason to add external links.
  3. In the "External links" section, try to avoid separate links to multiple pages in the same Web site; instead, try to find an appropriate linking page within the site.
  4. These guidelines for external links do not apply to inline citation or general references, which should appear in the "References" or "Notes" section.

References, footnotes and citations

Providing references, footnotes and citations is crucial to demonstrating content provenance as well as scholarly discipline. References can be applied inline using a few simple tags, and the sources and references are typically listed at the bottom of an article.


This is how it looks in the edit box[1]:

The sun is pretty big,<ref>Miller, Edward. ''The Sun''. Academic Press, 2005, p. 1.</ref> but the moon is not so big.<ref>Brown, Rebecca. "Size of the Moon," ''Scientific American'', 51(78):46.</ref> The sun is also quite hot.<ref>Smith, John. ''The Sun's Heat''. Academic Press, 2005, p. 2.</ref>


This is how it looks in the article:

The sun is pretty big,[1] but the moon is not so big.[2] The sun is also quite hot.[3]


  1. ^ Miller, Edward. The Sun. Academic Press, 2005, p. 1.
  2. ^ Brown, Rebecca. "Size of the Moon," Scientific American, 51(78):46.
  3. ^ Smith, John. The Sun's Heat. Academic Press, 2005, p. 2.

List-defined references

This is how it looks in the edit box::

The Sun is pretty big,<ref name="Miller2005p23" /> but the Moon is not so big.<ref name="Brown2006" /> The Sun is also quite hot.<ref name="Miller2005p34" />

<ref name="Miller2005p23">Miller, Edward.''The Sun''. Academic Press, 2005, p. 23.</ref>
<ref name="Miller2005p34">Miller, Edward.''The Sun''. Academic Press, 2005, p. 34.</ref>
<ref name="Brown2006">Brown, Rebecca. "Size of the Moon," ''Scientific American,'' 51(78):46</ref>

This is how it looks in the article:

The Sun is pretty big,[1] but the Moon is not so big.[2] The Sun is also quite hot.[3]


  1. ^ Miller, Edward. The Sun. Academic Press, 2005, p. 23.
  2. ^ Brown, Rebecca. "Size of the Moon," Scientific American, 51(78):46.
  3. ^ Miller, Edward. The Sun. Academic Press, 2005, p. 34.

Parenthetical references

This is how it looks in the edit box:

The Sun is pretty big (Miller 2005, p. 1), but the Moon is not so big (Brown 2006, p. 2). The Sun is also quite hot (Miller 2005, p. 3).
== References ==
*Brown, R (2006). "Size of the Moon", ''Scientific American'', 51(78).
*Miller, E (2005). ''The Sun'', Academic Press.</span>

This is how it looks in the article:

The Sun is pretty big (Miller 2005, p. 1), but the Moon is not so big (Brown 2006, p. 2). The Sun is also quite hot (Miller 2005, p. 3).


  • Brown, R (2006). "Size of the Moon", Scientific American, 51(78).
  • Miller, E (2005). The Sun, Academic Press.



Further Reading