Geograph Quickstart Guide

Published: 4 July 2007
Welcome to Geograph! Having found us, naturally you want to get going straight away. To upload a picture, simply click on submit in the menu on the home page, and you will be taken through the process. This guide will help you understand how your pictures will be classified on acceptance. (But donít forget to read the main manualExternal link as well, when you get a minute. Thereís much more information there!)

There are two major categories for accepted images.


A picture of an aspect of the square, or prominent feature of the square, showing the context of its geographical location and taken from within that square. In other words, a picture giving the viewer a good idea of the general topography of the area - what the area within the square looks like.

Since few squares comprise a single type of landscape, more than just a single geograph is likely to be needed properly to represent a square. The more the better!

Supplemental Image

(From 11 May 2016 the Supplemental classification is replaced by Image Type Tags: see Image Type Tags UpdateExternal link )

A picture which further enhances the information available for the square by showing:

1) Closer detail of what may be seen there. This would include close up pictures showing flora and fauna; pictures of buildings or other structures or items, or parts of these, which donít show the context of the area in which they are located.

2) A view taken from outside the square for which it is submitted. This would include pictures taken from a distance so as to include the whole of a feature, eg. a mountain, or building, where it is not possible to do so from within the square, and general wide sweeping views covering several squares which could not be sensibly attached to any particular square. Of course, a picture including a distant view, but showing a substantial part of the square from which it was taken, would be a geograph for that square.

3) Images such as interior shots; underground images; aerial photos, or any other picture which adds to the general impression of the square but which may not be classed as a geograph.


A point is given to the first geograph submitted to a square. The points system is simply a fun incentive to encourage coverage. No prizes, and you canít go and spend them in the supermarket!

So why canít a supplemental image get the point for being the first submission to a square? Well, the main purpose of the site is to gain a geographically representative photo of every grid square. Geographs therefore get priority in statistics so that progress can be tracked to see how the aims are being met. Whilst a supplemental image certainly provides information about the square, it may not necessarily be geographically representative of that square or, importantly, easily identifiable on the map.

The distinction between geograph and supplemental image is also made to ensure that there will be consistency of resolution across the site. In other words, so that each square may be illustrated at a similar scale to every other. Hence the requirement for a geograph to be taken from within the square for which it is claimed.

For these reasons, only the first geograph, rather than a supplemental image, can earn the point for the square.

However, since much additional, useful and interesting information can be gleaned at other resolutions, (eg. extreme closeups, or at greater distances, for instance to show the whole of a mountain) supplemental images can enhance the information provided by geographs. Supplemental images are valuable, and valued pictures which complement the geograph images.

Rejected images

Now, a quick word about rejected images. Very few images are rejected. Some of the main reasons for rejection are:

1) The image has been digitally manipulated in a way that is likely to have significantly devalued the geographical information.

2) Itís a family snap type picture, where family/friends are the main subject. People can be in the picture, but they shouldn't be the main subject.

3) We are not looking for technically perfect pictures, but anything too small (fewer than 480 pixels along the longest side), blurred or so underexposed that the detail canít be seen properly is likely to be rejected. Pictures with distracting reflections (eg. having been taken from inside a building or vehicle) may also be rejected. Very often a bit of judicial editing will improve the picture and it can be resubmitted. Pictures with date stamps automatically added by the camera may be accepted if it's not too obvious, but such images are STRONGLY discouraged. If possible, please turn the date stamp feature off when taking pictures for Geograph.

There are a few other reasons why a picture may not be accepted. These are detailed in the main Geograph GuideExternal link.


Occasionally you may come across a picture on the site which doesnít quite seem to fit the above guidelines! Itís important to remember that as Geograph has grown it has evolved, and the guidelines have had to change to reflect this. For instance, some early pictures were at first accepted as geographs whereas had they been submitted today they would be classed as supplemental. In the beginning the moderating (classification of images) was done by one person. All on his own! Now, with several thousand images submitted each week, that would be an impossible task. So we have a team of moderators, and that means that inconsistencies or mistakes can sometimes occur. If you happen to find one, we do encourage you to let us know, so that it can be put right if necessary.

Oh, and another little point. In order to keep the site looking neat and professional, it helps if all titles and comments conform to the Geograph Style. Have a look at the Titles & Comments Style GuideExternal link to see how to do this.

Going back to supplemental images. Some people may be a little concerned that they are not really as good as geographs. This is not correct. Do not worry if an image is classed as supplemental. It is on the site, and available for the world to see, just as geographs are. Your admiring viewers are not going to care how itís been classified. They probably wonít even notice what is, after all, only a technical distinction.

Look at it this way. Geographs are the bread and butter of the site. Supplemental images are the icing on the cake!

We look forward to seeing your pictures!
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright July 2007, Lynne Kirton; licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.
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