Geograph Image Metadata

Published: 7 November 2016
This article is a brief but technical overview of the fields we hold for Geograph Image submissions.

Assigned by the image uploader

Grid Square

The square the image was specifically uploaded to. In effect a 4 figure version of the Subject Location.

Subject Location - OPTIONAL

The coordinates for Subject of the photo. The contributor specifies this as a Grid-Reference during upload. Internally we store as eastings/northings on the national grid (OSGB for Great Britain, and Irish Grid '65 for Ireland), as well as indication of the resolution of the grid ref (we accept between 4 and 10 figure)

While strictly optional, it's highly encouraged. When the project started we didn't collect this so early submissions in particular are missing this.

Photographer Location - OPTIONAL

The contributor can specify a grid-reference for the photographer location. Internally stored in a similar way to Subject Location.

While strictly optional, it's highly encouraged. When project started we didn't collect this so early submissions in particular are missing this.

View Direction - OPTIONAL

Compass direction the photographer was facing when taking photo. Typically auto-computed when entering subject and photographer location. But can be manually changed.

Use 6fig - OPTIONAL

We have a special flag, that even though the location(s) was obtained to higher resolution, they should only be shown to 6 figures. Used when don't trust the location, or it was obtained by dragging markers on small scale mapping.

Image Title

Mandatory, but short and generally unique title for the photo.

Description - OPTIONAL

Free form description attached to image. Often describing the specific image, or the area etc. Plain text, no HTML allowed.

Shared Descriptions - OPTIONAL

We store a list of Shared Description(s) attached to the image. Essentially blocks of text, that common to multiple images.
Can read about them in their own article: Link

Image Category - OPTIONAL

Originally images allocated to a single image subject category from a list. Phased out beginning 2007 so not all images have this, encourage tags now instead.


Freeform labels, manually attached to image. Contributors can choose from existing, or create new tags. Multiple tags allowed per image.
Alas tags are quite complex on Geograph, more information starting here: Link

Date Taken - OPTIONAL

Optional (but highly encouraged) date the photo taken. May be partial, eg only year, or year+month. Date only, no time component.
(during upload, will be extracted from EXIF if possible, but can be manually changed)

Photographer Credit - OPTIONAL

Specific name for who owns the Copyright of the image (normally its the Contributor that uploads the image), but in some cases users may upload images on behalf of another user.

Automatically Assigned

We calculate and store various values as go along, either during submission, or when above data is modified. Maintained without user-interaction.

Geograph ID

Automatically assigned Unique ID per image. Increasing in order of submission.

Contributor ID

The unique ID for the user profile that uploaded the image.

Submission Date/Time

Automatically assigned to date/time the photo was uploaded to Geograph, not changeable.

Update Date/Time

The last time anything about details about the image changed. We keep 'Suggestion Ticket' log, which records ongoing changes to images.

Moderation Status

Was the image moderated as 'Geograph', or not. (can also be Rejected, or Pending, but will only see these for your own images)
(the decision comes from Volunteer moderators)


The licence the photo is released under, currently ALWAYS link


The order the image was added to the grid square in question. Used in allocating points. So image later 'moved' into a square, does not usurp the points!


Any point(s) allocated to the image. Including Firsts/Seconds, etc, and TPoints.

Larger Dimensions - OPTIONAL

If a greater than 640px version is stored and released, we store its dimensions.


We do store the original EXIF data as originally attached to the uploaded JPG. (even if the contributor only released a low resolution version) Currently not actively exposed anywhere nor downloadable.

Auto Computed

We also have a number of 'computed' fields, created by computer from the above data. These generally don't form part of formal submissions, but we share the data upon request. In nearly all cases, is disposable; the data can be recreated again from scratch.

WGS84 Lat/Long

For convenience purposes we compute the longitude and latitude from the full Subject location. If the image does not have an exact Subject location specified, then it's the centre of the grid square the image is in.

Nearest Place

We compute the name of the nearest settlement to the subject location, (or gridsquare), via various gazetteers. This is used to show the 'near to' link on photo page, as well as sometimes used as a very granular location search, eg filtering by county the place is in, gives very approximate filtering of images by county.

Cluster Labels - OPTIONAL

These are algorithmically assigned labels, from looking at similar photos in the same square, to group similar images.

Extracted Terms - OPTIONAL

The prominent or important terms from Title/Description, by a computer algorithm. Useful in some cases where the contributor hasn't chosen tags.

Vision Labels - OPTIONAL

We've run a significant proportion of images through computer vision systems, which 'guess' possible label(s), for the image. Don't use these yet, as very hit and miss!

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright November 2016, Barry Hunter; licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.
With contributions by Geographer and Penny Mayes. (details)
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