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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions




What is Geographing?

  • It's a game - how many grid squares will you contribute?
  • It's a geography project for the people
  • It's a national photography project
  • It's a good excuse to get out more!
  • It's a free and open online community project for all

See the original guide to good Geographing, contributors' quickstart guide, and the welcome letter.

What makes a good Geograph image?

  • You must clearly show at close range one of the main geographical features within the square

  • You should include a short description relating the image to the map square

  • Photographing a subject that could be useful to a child in interpreting a map

How do I get a Geograph point for my image?

If you're the first to submit a "Geograph" for the grid square you'll get a "First Geograph" point added to your profile and the warm glow that comes with it.

We welcome many Geograph images per square, so even if you don't get the point, you are still making a valuable contribution to the project.

In addition we now award "Second Visitor" points (and Third and Fourth!) - which are given to the first Geograph the second contributor adds to a square. The third contributor similarly gets a "Third" point for their first Geograph to the square.

So a single square can have a First, Second, Third and Fourth Visitor point, but a contributor can only get one of those per square.

You can earn yourself a "Personal" point by submitting a "Geograph" for a square that is new to you, regardless of how many contributors have been there before.

What is a Supplemental image?

If an image doesn't quite fulfill the Geograph criteria above, but is still a good image, we'll accept it as "Supplemental image" - no Geograph points are awarded, but the image will still appear on the selected grid square. A square that just contains Supplemental images is still open to be claimed as a Geograph though!

Note Follow this link for a more in depth discussion of the finer points of moderation.

Do you accept multiple images per square?

Certainly - the points system is there to encourage people to make that extra effort to capture squares we don't have photos for yet, but we welcome additional Geograph or Supplemental images, perhaps showing a different subject, or a different time of year. You could be gaining yourself a personal point too.

Everyone sees things differently - feel free to give us your take on any square. Some squares have been done in considerable detail, helping to more fully document and add depth to a square. In particular, watch out for things others may have missed - the coverage maps can help with this.

How do I find which squares need photographing?

If you are looking for squares to obtain a point, try the coverage maps, and look for green squares; also accessible from that page are various printable checksheets for easy reference in print form. More technical users might enjoy GPX, or Memory Map downloads.

Many of the squares have been captured but only have a few photos; check out the depth map, from which you can find under-represented squares. In the same vein we have a number of maps to show the distribution of photos within a square, usually on a centisquare grid, which divides a grid square into 100 squares, each 100m by 100m.

We have also recently introduced a new map, "Recent Only" this shows recent photos. Help us keep the coverage current by photographing squares without any recent photos (orange or green).

Also look out for geotagged icon icons around the site, click them to take you to the links page for the location. From that page you can access textual lists of squares in need of photos (as well as direct links to many of the maps on the site).)

Do I need to resize my photos? Are there size limits?

You can upload images of any dimensions, portrait or landscape, but the file size needs to be under 8 megabytes. We do resize them so their longest dimension is 640 pixels on the main photo page. Optionally, you can also release larger versions of various sizes for downloading and re-use. Larger Uploads Information.

Ideally images shouldn't have a longest dimension of fewer than 480 pixels. While we might accept such images if they hold particular interest, we would really prefer a larger image.

See also Tip for uploading Panoramas

We do record the EXIF headers from your original image, so it is advantageous to upload your original camera image or use image editing software that maintains the EXIF data if you want this information to be kept (but we don't currently make use of the data).

I disagree with the location or title of an image - what can I do?

Our "Change Suggestions" allow any registered user to suggest a change of grid reference, title/comment or other information - simply view the full size image and click the "report a problem" link.

I made a mistake on my submission, how do I change it?

In the grey bar near the centre of the photo page, is a link "Suggest a change to this image" - click that and fill out the form.

What an earth is a TPoint

TPoint or 'Time-gap Point' is a new kind of point. A contributor can gain a TPoint by submitting a contemporary photo to a square that hasn't had a photo for 5 years. The aim is to increase the date range of available photos per square.

Squares available for a recent photo are shown in orange on the Recent Only coverage map, or purple dots on the 'TPoint Availability' layer on the Draggable OS map.

· Read more about the various points on the Statistics FAQ

There's a page I once saw on Geograph, and I can't find it again!

Have a look at More Pages and our Sitemap, between them they should give access to many a page

Counties, I'm confused, which do you display?

We use county information to aid recognition of place names on photo pages and other areas of the site, like helping to disambiguate search terms (e.g. a search for "Gillingham")

For Ireland, it's simple; we just use the traditional counties. Great Britain isn't so easy, which has seen three major county structures;

Ceremonial counties (sometimes known as Geographic)
These were introduced in 1974 primarily as a way to define areas for county councils. Although these are possibly what most people recognize as counties, a suitable dataset to allow us to use these counties would be too costly for us to bear. So we must compromise a little...
Administrative counties (also known as district/unitary authorities)
These are the modern 'counties' in use by the current government (since 1997). This is the best dataset we have available, so we display it prominently in the gazetteer line on photo pages. It is also useful for identifying the council responsible for the area. However for large towns/cities, for example Sheffield, which are in their own authority (i.e. the 'county' of Sheffield), we attempt to be clever and display the historic county instead.
Historic counties
These are the counties that have evolved over many hundreds of years and were in active use until 1974. We use this data as a fallback - where we've opted to display the administrative country on a photo page, you can often find the historic county by hovering over this title.

For a more in depth explanation, see abcounties.org.ukExternal link. (However beware that the site doesn't use the exact same terms.)

To see lists of counties in each structure see the Explore Section.

What do all these strange words mean?

Well, if it's a 'geographism' - a term developed during use on this site, then see this glossary article we have started compiling. There is also a wide range of sites dealing with acronyms, and abbreviations, listed on DMOZ hereExternal link.

Do you have an RSS feed?

RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, allows you to obtain an up-to-date listing of the latest Geograph submissions for integration into another website or RSS reader. For more information, try this Wikipedia article on RSSExternal link.

The feeds are also available in

We provide an GeoRSS (RSS1.0) feed at http://www.geograph.org.uk/feed/recent.rss which contains links to the latest 20 moderated images.

We have recently added RSS feeds to other parts of the site:
  • You will find an RSS button at the bottom of search results, useful to keep updated on local images.
  • Registered users can access an RSS feed of the latest topics in the Discussion Forum, and even subscribe to an individual topic, just look for the RSS button!
  • the Grid Square Discussions even supports GeoRSS.
  • Get an RSS feed of recently updated Articles.
  • The newer Content section has an RSS feed.
  • Find out about organized meets by following the RSS feed.
(They also accept the format parameter like the main feed.)

If you use the FirefoxExternal link web browser, you should be able use our feeds as "live bookmarks" - simply click the orange button in the address bar (or in the status bar on older versions).

I've seen little thumbs-up symbols around the site, what are they?

Simply click them if you like the image and/or description (separate icon for each).

We don't know what use we will make of the data, but note that there are number of things we won't do. We won't disclose who is voting (all anonymous), we won't be using it to produce leaderboards, and we won't be disclosing which images that have few/no votes. The general idea is to simply find great content worth showcasing.

See this page for a bit more information, and the general principles behind voting on Geograph.

I would be interested in using Geograph content, is that possible?

Creative Commons Licence Deed

All images are licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence, see licence details by viewing a full size image. Also look for the "Find out how to re-use this image?" link under each image on the main photo page, which outlines easy ways to re-use the image.

Are you a developer?

... maybe looking for ways to access images outside the website?

Please get in contact if you have an idea for re-using images, beyond what's available via the RSS feeds above. In all likelihood we can provide a feed to suit your requirements.

The entire archive will be available for download via bittorrent - see http://torrents.geograph.org.ukExternal link for details.

We also have a Google Gadget: * Add to my iGoogle pageExternal link * Add to any webpageExternal link *

Open source? Creative Commons? What's that all about?

Putting this together requires many people to donate their time or resources, and we wanted to be sure that we created a resource free from commercial exploitation in future. To that end, the site software is available for re-use under the terms of the GNU Public Licence (GPL).

In addition, we require all submitters to adopt a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlikeExternal link licence on their photographic submissions. While our volunteer photographers keep copyright on their photos, they also grant the use of their photographs in return for attribution (take a look at a typical submission for more details).

In a nutshell, we wanted to build a true community project that won't leave a nasty taste in the mouth by getting sold for shedloads of cash and taken away from the people who contributed. These licence terms ensure that the site and content can never be "taken away" from you. See Freedom - The Geograph Manifesto

Why must I agree to allow commercial use of my image?

Running this site costs money, particularly over time as the storage requirements are quite large. While we are confident we can meet those costs with sponsorship, granting commercial use allows anyone who runs the archive in the distant future to explore other options for generating funds, such as sales of montage posters.

Granting everyone those same rights actually protects the site community from exploitation (see previous FAQ entry), but do bear in mind that we only retain a screen-quality version of your image, and that under the terms of the Creative Commons Licence, you must be credited for any use of your image.

Who built this marvellous site?

Please see the Credits Page for information on all the people who make this site possible.

I'm concerned about a photo or comment I have seen on the site.

Please Contact Us, we'll do our best to deal with your concerns promptly.

I have a further question, what should I do?

Please Contact Us, or drop in on our friendly Discussion Forum.

I use AOL, and the images look terrible!

AOL's default settings for graphics is to show "Compressed Graphics Only". This means AOL is selectively re-compressing images before you see them on your screen. This loses a lot of image quality.

You should reset the preferences under "My AOL/Preferences/WWW" to display "Uncompressed Graphics". You will pay only a small penalty in download time to see this and other photo-oriented sites the way everyone else can see them.

Many thumbnails seem to be missing, any idea of the cause?

Some firewall programs, in particular Norton Internet Security, block images that are the same size as some common advertisements. Unfortunately many thumbnails and some map images happen to be this exact size.

So if you use such a program you might like to try turning it off temporarily and trying again, and if that gets our images back, then have a look for the option to disable this, arguably, flawed method of security.

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