Geograph or supplemental
The Ordnance Survey grid has been chosen as the basis for the geographical referencing system.
To get an idea of the type of image we are interested in, think what a child looking at a map in a geography lesson might find useful when trying to make sense of what the human and physical geographical features in a given grid square actually look like, or what would he see if he looked further afield from a given viewpoint.
There are many, very broad, subject areas that could be useful to the child in interpreting the map information, including:
- Physical landscape
- Human land-use
- Built environment
- Social interaction
- Flora and fauna
- Historical interest
These can be photographically interpreted in many different ways - this is definitely not an exhaustive list!
The success of the site depends on a high image submission rate as well as on the accuracy, quality and usefulness of the submissions. We try to make the site appeal to as wide a range of potential contributors as possible so have guidelines rather than hard-and-fast rules and have introduced a competitive element in the form of geograph points and a leaderboard.
We hope that as time goes by, most geographs will be taken specifically for this purpose but realise that many people may also wish to contribute pictures from an existing collection.
Don't be disheartened if your image is not classed as a geograph; if your image has been accepted as a supplemental it is still a valued contribution to the project. Only a very tiny percentage of submissions are rejected!
So what makes an image a genuine geograph (there can be many geograph images per square)? And what types of photo or description are discouraged on either geographs or supplementals?
- The image subject and the photographer must be within the chosen grid square. The necessity to be in a square to take a geograph is not affected by difficulty of access. There is some allowance for photographs taken near the edge of a grid square, because various methods of determining position (GPS, maps of different scales) may give slightly different results. Some images taken from outside the grid square were originally classed as geographs, but are gradually being reclassified as supplemental.
- You must clearly show one of the main geographical features within the square, showing enough of the surroundings to provide some context. A photo of a building should show all of it (or a significant part of a very large building); it should also show some of its surroundings, usually what is in front, preferably more.
- You should include a short description relating the image to the map square.
- The image must be a natural image as a human would see it, without digital alterations to the image to add a frame, dates, texts, etc., or to create a montage. Similarly turn off date stamping performed by a camera (but images previously accepted with date stamps will not be changed from being geographs). A little tweaking of brightness/contrast and/or cropping (but remaining rectangular) is fine and encouraged.
- We prefer photographs without parts of the photographer's vehicle showing. If taking a photo through a window please avoid reflections, similarly crop out wing mirrors, bonnets, etc. from the edges of photographs.
- An old or monochrome photograph can be a geograph. See also Photos not taken by submitter.
- Aerial photographs: Good quality, low-altitude aerial images taken from a plane, microlight, balloon, kite or similar are welcomed. Provided the aerial images are of the quality and resolution required by this site, are of a geographic feature, and are accurately located they will be classified as Supplementals but not as Geographs. They make a valued contribution to this site.
- Photos from the sea: if a shot from sea has sufficient geographic detail/descriptive content and is at sufficiently close range it can be a geograph. However there is a preference for shots from land within the square.
- Photographs taken inside man-made structures e.g. buildings & tunnels will be classed as supplementals.
- Photographs taken in man-made workings (e.g. mines and adits) will be classed as supplementals in almost all cases.
- Photographs taken from inside naturally covered spaces such as sea caves or pot holes may be classed as geographs if their location can be accurately ascertained and they pass the other criteria required for geograph classification such as context and scope.
- Pictures of small features (e.g. mileposts, telephone boxes), parts of buildings, flowers, butterflies, etc., will welcomed as supplemental images.
- Good quality, visually appealing pictures of wide area views covering many square kilometres may also be accepted as supplemental images provided they are accurately located, but will qualify as geographs only if a substantial part of the photograph shows the photographer's square.
- The description may be edited by moderators if it is substantially an advertisement. Submitting a photo of your own premises is welcomed but a description which is an advertisement is unwelcome. If you wish to link to your own website, please use the facility on your profile rather than including it in the image description(s).
There are thousands of images being submitted each week, and a team of moderators, so mistakes can occur. If you think your submission has been given the wrong classification, click "edit picture information" on the screen for your image, and explain the problem in the box "Please tell us what is wrong...". This raises a ticket that will be reviewed by moderators. But be aware that some aspects of moderation have changed since the site started; for example there is more emphasis on getting into the square to take photographs.
Examples are on a separate page.
Which square? gives guidance on which square to enter as the subject - for close up, wide view, macro and telephoto photographs.
Reasons for rejection.
Examples article were based originally on material in FAQs, help screens, and on submission screens. The information is collected together here, and updated in the light of experience when a team of moderators was established, and discussion in the Geograph forum.