I recently noticed on a friend's phone that the proprietary Google apps notice when you shoot a photo on some app and then ask "is this <object-X-nearby>?", offering to upload (and license) the photo to Google (for Panoramio? or just Google Maps maybe). Some also speculate that Pokémon Go is increasing the amount of photos people take of niche monuments/landmarks (Niantic's goal might still be to feed Google Maps).
We should counter this with a feature that lets people know they can also contribute geotagged photos to the commons rather than give up all their copyright to some corporation. I think the apps have the chance, and hence the duty, to offer users a way out from walled gardens and monopolies.
Could the Wikipedia app, when running in the background, "intercept" camera shootings and current location to produce such notifications? If so, I think it would be trivial to give the user a link to https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:UploadWizard or https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Upload&uselang=ownwork , ideally prefilling the filename (and a category for the area?). Such notifications should be throttled in some way so that they don't bother users too much.
The only issue is how to identify photos which have a good chance of being useful. I can think of two approaches:
- actually try to identify the item in the photo, by checking if OSM or Wikidata know of something "important" in the area;
- just search Commons for images geotagged to the same area and suggest to upload a photo if there isn't any (à la Geograph).
Some filters can also be used, for instance identify whether the picture contains a big face and if so ignore it.
I guess I may anticipate some objections. My proposal has two crucial differences from past attempts:
- we wouldn't *push* the user to take a photo but just reuse the user's judgement that something was worth taking a photo of;
- we would not invent a new upload interface, which always causes problems, but send users to the usual interface with all the copyright and describing options.