Tropical Depression Seventeen-W on August 14, 1996.

On December 4, 2012, Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, hit the 15 million media file milestone. The 15 millionth picture depicts Tropical Depression Seventeen-W, a tropical cyclone that developed during the 1996 Pacific typhoon season, and was created by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The public domain image was uploaded by User:Supportstorm, who has participated on Wikimedia projects since 2009. Supportstorm mainly contributes to Wikimedia Commons and English Wikipedia, specialising in tropical cyclones.

599 days had passed since the last milestone of 10 million media files, which was reached on April 15 2011. Credit is due to the Wikimedia Commons community, who is largely involved in a variety of projects, processes and negotiations that are intended to improve the availability of public domain and freely-licensed educational media content to the public.

The last two years have seen an increasing number of cultural institutions (GLAM) and other organisations providing content that would have otherwise not been freely accessible. Two Wiki Loves Monuments contests have also been responsible for more than 500,000 uploaded images. Moreover, constant technical improvements, such as the UploadWizard introduced in May 2011, and the new HTML5 video player, facilitate the contributions of current and future participants and encourage them to expand niches like audio and video.

Thanks go to tens of thousands of contributors who have helped to reach this milestone. With 480 million unique visitors accessing the Wikimedia projects in more than 280 languages each month, there is a good reason to upload another 15 million files.

Let’s work on this together.

Peter Weis