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Extracting central places from the link structure in Wikipedia

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Explicit information about places is captured in an increasing number of geospatial datasets. This article presents evidence that relationships between places can also be captured implicitly. It demonstrates that the hierarchy of central places in Germany is reflected in the link structure of the German language edition of Wikipedia. The official upper and middle centers declared, based on German spatial laws, are used as a reference dataset. The characteristics of the link structure around their Wikipedia pages, which link to each other or mention each other, and how often, are used to develop a bottom‐up method for extracting central places from Wikipedia. The method relies solely on the structure and number of links and mentions between the corresponding Wikipedia pages; no spatial information is used in the extraction process. The output of this method shows significant overlap with the official central place structure, especially for the upper centers. The results indicate that real‐world relationships are in fact reflected in the link structure on the web in the case of Wikipedia.