Help:Wiki Guides/Places

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Now what?

OK, let's talk about creating and improving articles about Places. A Place on the SABRE Wiki is defined as an identifiable settlement such as a town or city, and is not simply a junction location. As with other articles, they are all the product of improvement over time, so don't think you need to jump in there straight away and get it all the way to a five-star rating.

An important thing to remember: before clicking "Save page", click on "Show preview" - if you then look at the preview of your page, you'll catch most of your errors before you've made them!

Starting out

The first thing to do is to think about whether an article about a place needs to exist on here or not. Remember, the SABRE Wiki is all about roads, so we need to concentrate on places which are either significant to the British or Irish road networks, or that have an interesting roads history.

Almost by definition, if a place is a Primary Destination or a Terminal Destination, then it is deemed to be significant enough to need an article.

If a place isn't a Primary, Terminal or Intermediate Destination (which makes it a Non-Primary Destination...), then there's a bit of thinking to be done. If a place is the focus of the road network over a significant area (such as Ludlow), then it should probably have an article. If a place is important enough to be a former County Borough (such as Smethwick), then it should probably have an article. If a place does not fall into either of those two categories, then it basically comes down to a simple question: Can I write something interesting about the town's road network that's more than just a table of roads, or not? The answer to that should tell you whether the article should exist or not.

We're not Wikipedia, and we're not interested about things that aren't to do with the road network beyond that needed to add a bit of "colour" to an otherwise entirely road-based article.

You can tell if "your" place already has a page by looking in Category:Roads by Area, which is the starting point for all place-related items.

If a town/city has the same name as another one, you'll need to add a suffix to the name - usually the country or the Traditional County that the place is located within. See Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Newcastle (Northern Ireland) as examples.

If your place has the same name as a Traditional County, then you'll need to add a disambiguation page and link to it, eg for Dublin, there is also Dublin (disambiguation).

If you're thinking of adding a place that's outside the United Kingdom, Ireland or the outlying islands, be very careful. The SABRE Wiki currently isn't really set up to handle places outside this area, so you may cause things to break. Tread carefully, and check everything before pressing "Save"!

Creating the perfect page

Just like other pages, a perfect Place page will be the cumulation of lots of small improvements, but there will be certain items that are common to each.

We'll take each section in the order it appears on the editing page - don't worry if a particular part looks too complicated - just move onto the next.

The Infobox

The Infobox is the fancy box that appears on the right-hand side of every roads article. It does lots of clever things, but when you're editing or creating a page, it can look quite scary. There are a lot of possible things you can add to the Infobox, all of which are gone into in detail on the Infobox's own help page. Here, we'll just look at the basics.

This is an empty Infobox, showing the most common features. A good place to start if you're creating a new article is to simply copy and paste this blank template and then fill in the blanks.

 | country            = 
 | region             = 
 | gaelic             =
 | irish              =
 | welsh              =  
 | county             = 
 | authority          = 
 | name               = 
 | lat                = 
 | lon                = 
 | zoom               = 
 | next               = 
 | image              = 

As you can see, the Infobox usually starts with "{{Place", and ends with "}}". In between the two, there are a number of labels (also known as "variables"), all of which start with "|", and then their name followed by "=". There is (as always!) an exception. Primary Destinations start with "{{Primary Destination" - this is so that all the pages end up in the right places.

Now, let's look at the labels one by one.

The first label is country, which tells the Infobox to categorise the place as belonging in a specific country. The most common answers here are:

  • Republic of Ireland
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wales
  • Scotland
  • England

However, it does accept others like "Isle of Man" or "Jersey"!

Region is next, and you'll be pleased to know that half the time you can ignore it completely - it's only useful for places in England. Annoyingly, though, this does need to be typed in exactly correctly, or it doesn't quite go according to plan - so copy and paste from this list!

  • South East England
  • Greater London
  • South West England
  • West Midlands
  • the East Midlands
  • Yorkshire and the Humber
  • East of England
  • North East England
  • North West England

The next three (gaelic, irish, and welsh) are also easy: they come into play in cases where the English-language name of a place is different from the one used in Scottish Gaelic, Irish, or Welsh – and signs are bilingual. This is sometimes the case in Scotland and Northern Ireland; it always is in the Republic of Ireland and Wales!

County and authority can be misunderstood. Authority needs to be answered with the name of the body that looks after the roads that run through the place - so it is the top-tier local authority, which may be a County Council, a Metropolitan Council, a London Borough or a Unitary Authority. If you want to be clever, then simply add "[[" and "]]" around the name of the authority, which in SABRE Wiki terms is always of the form XYZ Council. This will turn the word into a link which people can then click on to move to that page. If you want to be really clever, then add "{{-}}" between authorities will give a nice space and a dot to separate them, like this:

. County is pretty simple too - it's the Traditional County a place is located within. So, no Metropolitan Counties, no Greater London - though there is a useful layer on SABRE Maps to help you if you're not sure. Again, you can add "[[" and "]]" around the name of the county to turn it into a link, and "{{-}}" between counties will give a nice space and a dot to separate them. Now, of course, many counties have the same name as a current top-tier local authority despite covering a different area and to separate them out, we have separate pages for each, such as Staffordshire and Staffordshire Council, with the former being the traditional county (which includes Wolverhampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Walsall and so on), and the later being the County Council area (which includes none of the above). Make sure you use the right one in county and the right one in authority! You can make it look nicer by changing the name of the link, like this: [[Kent Council|Kent]], which displays Kent, but still links to the right place. If you get it wrong, don't worry about it - someone will come along and fix it.

Name is the easiest one of the lot - it's used to help categorise the page so needs to be added. It is also useful where the name of the place is different from the article name - like Bangor (Northern Ireland) so that the big label at the top of the Infobox says what we really want it to say!

File:Maps gridref.PNG
SABRE Maps Grid Reference

Lat and lon are also fairly obvious: they're the latitude and longitude of the town or city centre. Aha, I hear your head banging on the desk. Where on earth do you get those from? Well, SABRE Maps helps with that! All you have to do is find the city centre on SABRE Maps, and simply click on it. All of a sudden, at the bottom of the left-hand blue menu will appear the relevant latitude and longitude. Simply copy and paste the latitude into the lat tag, then do the same process for the longitude into the lon. Doing this not only adds a nice map to the Infobox, but it also allows you to click on the "Location Map" link that appears to display the place in SABRE Maps, but also it allows SABRE Maps to display the place using its own search facility. Clever, eh?

If you've got those two sorted then zoom is pretty useful - it's simply a number that sets the zoom on the Infobox map so it looks nice! Try "11", "12" or "13" for starters, depending on how big your place is. If you leave it out, then you'll just get the default zoom level, which might be OK for you.

The last-but-one tag that we'll look at is next. It's a simple list of the nearby Primary Destinations that can be reached from this town or city. Once again, you can add "[[" and "]]" around the name of the Primary Destination to turn it into a link, and "{{-}}" between them will give a nice space and a dot to separate them out. If your place is in the Republic of Ireland, just change the tag to read next_td to change the label to something more suitable.

Finally, we have image. Use image to, well, put a picture in your infobox. It's nice to have here a picture of the "Welcome to" sign for your place. All you need to put here is the name of a picture that's already been uploaded onto the SABRE Wiki. If you've not got one already, then there's instructions in the Photos and Maps section of this Guide.

The Dab Box

See main page: Template:Dab

The Dab Box is easy because most places don't have one! It's only used where there is more than one place with the same (or a very similar) name, or where a place and a county have the same name, such as Durham, County Durham and even Durham Council! If there aren't two places with the same name, then you can safely ignore this section.

The Dab Box (when you have one!) goes immediately under the final "}}" of the Routebox, and looks like this:

{{ Dab 
| town in the Potteries, [[Staffordshire]] 
| city on the River Tyne in traditional [[Northumberland]] 
| Newcastle upon Tyne 

It looks complicated, but again it's actually quite simple. Let's break it up into sections, each of which are separated by a "|" character (that's shift and the key to the left of "Z" on PC keyboards).

The first section simply starts with "{{" and then the word "Dab". This simply tells the system to create a Dab Box. See, told you it was quite simple!

The second section is just for you to write a very short description of the place that this page is about, whilst the third section is for you to write a very short description of the "other" place. Finally, the last section contains the page name of the "other" place , then the Dab Box is closed with "}}".

It should end up looking something like this:

This article is about town in the Potteries, Staffordshire

Just as a final thought with the Dab Box: if you put it on one page, then the other really ought to have one too!

The introduction

Time to get your writing pens out now...

The Introduction section should go immediately after the Dab Box, if there is one, or immediately after the Infobox if there isn't. In the introduction should go a short paragraph or two just summarising the place - the aim should be that the Introduction is the minimum that should be written abou tthe place.

Introductions generally start with similar ideas that generally indicate the location of a place, like in the following example:

Middleofnowhere is a medium-sized town within the historic county of Somewhereshire and is part of the Sprawlingmetropolis conurbation.

The subject of the page is always bolded. To get something to appear in bold, then all you have to do is put ''' either side of the thing you want to look that way. That's three single quote marks (the middle key between L and enter on PC keyboards) - double quotes won't work. Again, if you can't get it to work, don't worry about it, just ask for help on the forum.

Immediately after the subject, it's best to say where on earth the place is. It's a good idea to say which traditional county the place is within, whether it is part of a larger conurbation, and perhaps its location relative to a larger place in there - enough to give people a good idea of where the place is!

Then just write a bit about it! As a general rule-of-thumb, if you can't write more than a couple of paragraphs, then the introduction should be the only section needed. Please try to write an introduction, though - a page without words looks very unfriendly to other people, and it shouldn't be hard to write at least something about the road. Remember to add "[[" and "]]" around anything that has a page on here, so road numbers, places, bridges, junctions and counties (with the "|" trick where necessary) should all be linked - though only once per section please.

Once again, please remember that the SABRE Wiki is not meant to be a general geographic resource - we're interested in the roads and road history of a place, not reams and reams of other off-topic information. Please don't copy and paste information from Wikipedia - despite what it may suggest elsewhere, it's not allowed and breaks copyright.

We're also not too fussed about administrative boundaries when dealing with places - it's perfectly OK to talk about roads through a town or city's rural hinterland - though take care not to talk too much about areas better described as other places, especially within conurbations. The classic example is to think about the M5. At no point does it actually enter Birmingham Council's local authority boundary, but as it's clearly related to the city itself, it's OK to talk about it in the Birmingham page. Remember, Birmingham and Birmingham Council are not the same thing, and don't cover the same area.

The history bit

A section talking about the roads history of your place helps a lot when writing about it.

You'll need a title for this section. As a reminder, to put in a title, you simply put "==" (two equals signs) either side of your title, so:

== History ==

There's several questions you might ask to find out a little more about a place's road history, such as:

  • What did the town's network look like in 1922, when the original Great Britain numbering scheme came into being?
  • How about in 1935, when there was a mass revision of the road numbering in Great Britain?
  • Has there been a bypass (or two) constructed so that traffic can avoid your place? If so, when was it built?
  • Is there a Ring Road either completely or partially constructed?
  • What was the network like before 1922? Was it on the route of a turnpike, or one of the routes improved in Victorian times, such as Telford's Holyhead Road? How about a Roman Road?
  • Are there any plans for future road construction in your place?
  • How about any proposed routes that were never constructed?

Another good place to look is on SABRE Maps, where you can look through the historic mapping and see how things have changed in "your" place. You can find all sorts of tips about research in The Research Guide.

Highways Management

Ideally, you'll need a short section that talks about the management of the highways in your place.

You'll need yet another heading:

== Highways Management ==

Then simply follow it up with a section talking about who looks after the roads in your place - a short list of Trunk Roads (if any), and then a mention about its top-tier local authority, such as the following example:

The non-trunk roads in Brownhills are maintained by Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council. The only road maintained by the Highways Agency in the town is the A5, whilst the M6 Toll is managed by Midland Expressway.

Remember that a place is not the same thing as a top-tier local authority, even if their names are the same.


The routes section goes next. Basically, this is just a simple table listing, as you might expect, a list of the roads that run (or ran) through your place and its immediate surroundings. Be aware that for the largest places, the list will become unnecessarily long, so just look at the inner-city area!

You'll need yet another heading:

== Routes ==

Then there's a template or two to help you create the list, and to make sure it's all there. To start the route list, it simply needs:

{{Route List Head}}

That adds the headings in. Then for every route you want to add, you need one of the following for each direction. As with the Infobox, you don't need to fill everything in, just as much as you can.

  | type     = 
  | route    =   
  | display  =
  | to       = 
  | notes    = 

Type is, not surprisingly, the type of the road. The most common answers here are "motorway", "primary", "non primary" and "defunct". The next item, route is simply the appropriate road. This sets up a link to the right SABRE Wiki page, so there's a difference between A5223 and A5223 (Wellington). Make sure you put the right one in!

Annoyingly, that makes the list look a bit untidy, which is where display comes in. This forces the table to show whatever you put here, which fixes all the odd-looking brackets.

To is, well, the places that the road is (or was) signposted to. Remember to add "[[" and "]]" around places that have pages of their own on the SABRE Wiki. Finally, notes is simply a place you can put any extra comments you might have about a road.

Again, it's probably a good idea to copy and paste the list here.

Once you've finished your list, there's one last job to do - and it's one that's easily missed. You need to "close" the route list, and that's done by simply adding the following to the bottom:


The Navbox

See main help: Help:Navboxes

The Navbox is the blue box that appears at the bottom of articles. It should be on every page, and come after all the writing bits, and is another item that whilst it looks quite complicated, it's actually reasonably simple.

In its most basic form, just adding the following gets you a Navbox.


If you do that, then you get the simple navbox like below, which is taken from the Redditch page:

As you can see, it picks up lots of things automatically, such as pictures that have been tagged with the place, as well as other road features that have been tagged as being in the place. If there's nothing been tagged, then it doesn't appear.

However, we can make the Navbox do a couple of other interesting things, if we add a "cat=" bit on the end, like this example:

{{Navbox|cat=Places in the West Midlands region}}

This then calls a second template, which has links to other places in the same region, so the effect is:

Article ratings

See main page: Wiki:Article Rating

Nearly there now!

As you might expect, each page should have an Article Rating, basically saying how good (or otherwise) a page is. This rating is used to generate the "Star" box at the top right of an article, and also to help people target pages that need improving.

Article ratings go under the Navbox, though it's nice to leave a couple of empty lines between them!

The format of the Article Ratings section is:

<!-- Article Rating, 1-5 stars. See [[Wiki:Article Rating]] for more details -->

It's probably easiest to copy and paste that in!

Taking the two parts in turn, the bit that starts "<!-- " and ends in " -->" simply tells the page that this is just a comment, and shouldn't appear in the final text. In this case, it acts as a substitute heading so that it's easy to pick out the Article Rating section.

The second section is the Rating itself. Simply replace the "1" with the rating you think it should have, based on the criteria in the Article Rating page. Be honest, and convention is that you shouldn't award a "5" to work that you've created or improved - leave that to someone else.

Page categories

Right at the bottom of the "ideal page" is the page categories.

What on earth are page categories? Well, they're the glue that holds the SABRE Wiki together, allows the Navbox to work, and helps people find relevant pages. Pages can be in as many categories as you like - there's no limit to them.

The format of the Article Ratings section is:

<!-- Categories -->

Again, the initial part between the bit that starts "<!-- " and ends in " -->" simply tells the page that this is just a comment, and shouldn't appear in the final text. It acts as a substitute heading so that it's easy to pick out the Article Rating section.

For places, the minimum should be that it appears in its own category. You can do this like the following example:

[[Category:Somewhereville| ]]

Basically, that's simply replace the word "Somewhereville" with the page title, including any of the bracketed bits on the end if there are any. The funny bit on the end is just to make sure that the place page appears at the top of the category listing.

Photos and Maps

This is in a separate section because where they go depends on the picture or map concerned! Pages full of just text look dull, and the best pages contain something pretty to make them look nicer. Photos and maps illustrate the page often far better than the written word - though remember that each page has its own photo gallery which means that you don't have to put hundreds of photos on a page! Remember that a scanned map extract is treated like a picture.


File:A2 at Leyton Cross - Geograph - 203101.jpg
A road, which may well bypass a town in Kent.

Photos speak a thousand words, apparently. I'm not sure about that, but they certainly make a page look nicer. The best pages have at least a couple of photos on them, but don't overdo it! All photos tagged with a place appear in that page's gallery, and a selection of them appear in the Routebox on the bottom.

To put a photo on a page, it must be uploaded to the SABRE Wiki, for which you use "Upload file" from the left-hand blue menu, and then fill in the form as appropriate. Please fill the form in as much as possible, as not only does the photo then appear in all the right Galleries, but it'll also appear in SABRE Maps in the right place. Please respect other people's copyrights, and remember that just because it appears on the Internet doesn't mean it's fair game to use. You are OK to use anything from Geograph (for which there's special bit on the top of the upload form), and anything that you've taken yourself.

Assuming you've managed that bit, how do you get it to appear on the page? Well, like this:

[[File:picture.jpg | thumb | side | caption]]
File:B3062 from OS one-inch sheet 179, 1960.jpg
A map scan can look nice on a page

You'll notice that it looks like a simple link on steroids. So, we open with "[[" as you might expect. Then straight afterwards we need the name of the picture, including the "File:" prefix.

As usual, we separate the different parts with "|", and the second section simply says "thumb". That tells the system to show a small version of the picture - miss it out and you'll get something you don't expect!.

The third section, is side. For that, you replace the word side in the example with either left or right, depending on which side you want the photo to appear. Easy, eh?

Finally, the last part is caption, which again you replace entirely with, well, the caption you want on the picture. Don't forget to end the whole thing with "]]"!


Maps are great. Generally, we all love maps.

If you want to put a SABRE Maps extract in the middle of your text, it's very similar.

Here's an example:

{{mapbox | map=<sabremap lat=51.150467 lon=0.876217 layer=mot zoom=12 /> | caption=Ashford, Kent in 1923}}


Basically, you just start by typing "{{ mapbox |", which tells the system to create a mapbox. Remember that "|" is shift and the key to the left of "Z" on a PC keyboard. This then gets followed with four, let's call them subtags for now. They are:

File:Maps gridref.PNG
SABRE Maps shows lat and long of a point too
  • lat=
  • lon=
  • layer=
  • zoom=

Three of them are pretty obvious. lat is simply the latitude of the centre of the map, lon is simply the longitude of the map. Once again, SABRE Maps helps with that! Click on the point you want to be at the centre of your extract,and at the bottom of the left-hand blue menu will appear the relevant Lat and Lon of your point.

Zoom is again pretty simple - it's just a number you use to control just how zoomed in your map extract is. It's probably best to start with 11, and then select "Show preview", then adjust the number to get the effect you want. Bigger numbers are more "zoomed" than smaller ones.

The most complicated is layer. Layer controls which map you see, and most of the different map layers you can see on SABRE Maps are available to you. If you miss out layer entirely, then you get the present OpenStreetMap map. The most common layers (though there are lots of others) are:

Finally, if you want a caption, you add "| caption =", followed by the text that you want to show. If you don't want a caption, you can just miss that bit out. Finally, you need to tell the system that you've finished with the Mapbox by typing "}}".

Ta-da! One map, just like you see to the left. Once again, remember to "Preview" before hitting "Save"!

What next?

After creating a new place, or even updating an existing page, there's a couple of "tidying up" jobs that will need doing.

The place category page

Each place that you create will need its own category page in order to hang everything together, and so all the Navboxes work correctly. If you've just updated an existing page, then this section may not apply - so don't worry if it doesn't.

Right at the bottom of your completed and saved page, there's a section that will say "Categories". If you've followed the instructions on this page, included in there will be your page name - almost certainly in red.

If you click on it, it takes you to the category page, which will be blank. Select the "create page" link, and then all you have to do is copy and paste one of the following, then press "Save". Don't worry at all about what it means - it's all pre-set to just work.

  • If your place is a primary destination in Great Britain

[[Category:Smaller Primary Destinations]]
  • If your place is a non-primary destination in Great Britain

[[Category:Non Primary Destinations]]
  • If your place is on the island of Ireland

[[Category:Irish Destinations]]
  • If your place is on one of the off-shore islands, such as the Channel Islands or Isle of Man

[[Category:Non Primary Destinations]]

Adding items to the place category

This is the dead clever bit that makes all the Navboxes work well, but it's slightly counter-intuitive initially.

Once you've added a place, then to get all the Navboxes throughout the SABRE Wiki working properly, you need to add [[Category:Myplace]] to the bottom of any articles that are located (or pass through) within or near to the place concerned. Don't forget to replace "Myplace" with the real name of your place!

So, that's roads, bridges, junctions, motorway services and so on. As you add the [[Category:Myplace]], preview and then save those articles, you'll see (if you refresh the page!) them appearing in the place's Navbox in the right places. You'll also see them appearing in the relevant "other nearby" sections on Navboxes throughout the SABRE Wiki.