For a long time, many Spanish Wikipedians shared the idea of finding images for all municipalities in Spain. For a long time, we didn't try to carry out that mission (if we could even call it a mission). We thought that with the photographs already in Commons, there would be an ample supply. Maybe there would be a missing village here and there, but we were sure that there was not a lot of real work to do.
Then we started to check out the situation. The number of municipalities in Spain, we thought, was about 8,100. Despite an official policy of mergers, the actual number of municipalities had increased (but fortunately not by much).
Then the hard part began. For all our guesses and suppositions, the real gap between what we had and what we needed was around 2,200 municipalities. Ten times our estimates. And in many cases, the photos available in Commons were not meaningful.
Some more numbers were required. Spain covers some 505,000 square kilometers, including two archipelagos, and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla in Africa. We were really lucky this time: only one municipality without a picture was placed outside the Iberian Peninsula. All others could be reached by car; sometimes just a short bus ride was needed. But sometimes we had to drive hundreds of kilometers to reach some places, and we got very skilled in finding odd routes covering as many places of interest as possible. I remember a journey from Valencia to Burgos via Ciudad Real, and other people going from Madrid to Tarragona via Albacete. Or one companion who drove all the way from Calatayud to León and back in a day taking pictures, 400 km each way.
One of the first things we discovered was that when you plan a route, time is always critical: an hour of driving time can mean ten kilometers or one hundred, but it always takes an hour.
Places without pictures were mainly in low density areas
For more than five years, we've been driving and photographing. The numbers gradually improved. From March 2015 to March 2017, our wanted list was cut in half, from 2,231 to 1,126.
Old station of an abandoned rail line in Castrillo de la Reina
Memorial to the Migrant in Benatae
Tractor hunting in Villamayor de Santiago
A bench in nowhere provided by a bank that no longer exists. Quintanilla de los Caballeros
Margañán river at Cabezas del Villar. These photos help to locate others
2006: people of Granucillo posing for something called Wikipedia
Church explained by its sacristan and bell ringer, Jaramillo de la Fuente
This picture was uploaded by the mayor of Lanciego/Lantziego
Local people open doors, literally. Carcelén
Rural Spain made for some Quality Images too. Renera
Cemetery of Cabezón de la Sierra
A path of carrots near Rueda
Peasant in Vizcaínos
Tenada in La Hija de Dios
Mural in Villangómez
People in Berrocal de Salvatierra fight to keep their medical services
Football field in Losacio
Ruins of a paper mill in Villas Viejas
Abandoned school in Horcajada de la Torre
Townhall of Santa María de Sando
We have taken 20,000 photos, and we have learned much. We have seen wonderful places nobody cares to visit. We found that the Emptied Spain exists, and is full of great people. We met many people proud of their towns that have helped us access places. We found municipalities without a cemetery, or with a part-time city hall, or built around a water tower. We learned that helipads are not transportation, but public health infrastructure. We found that the image of a country goes far beyond its monuments. We found great experiences and a challenge well worth achieving. Only 30 municipalities left to go!
Wikitakers do not feed on megapixels. At least, not always.