Published: 3 February 2011
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[Geographical Context] [Image Buckets] [Tags]


On geograph, a tag is a non-hierarchical keyword or term assigned to a photo. There can be multiple tags per photo.

Tags aid in searching and browsing images.

Tags are being introduced to replace the current fledgeling Category (Primary Geographical Category) system. They also introduce a very simple categorization system in the form of "Geographical Context" tags.

Transition Information for Contributors

Categories (now 'Geographical Context')
  1. The number of categories available during the submission process will be reduced to around 45.
  2. There is no 'Other' category, you must choose one (or more) from the list.
  3. The aim of the Geographical Context section is to provide high level categorization to tags/images.

  1. Add further Tags by simply typing as required in the 'Tagging box'.
  2. Tags are free-form, but intelligent suggestions will be provided to speed up the process.
  3. It is not compulsory to add any Tags.
  4. Please add as many Tags as you need. Tags will help other people find your photo.

Geographical Context

As well as the general free-form tags, we have a small list (about 45) of main primary "Categories" - which are stored in Tags. This list helps provide structure to the whole tag system, and as such replaces the previous "Primary Geographical Category". Descriptions and examples for the Geographical Contexts are given on this help page.

A new submission requires at least one Geographical Context tag, and we will be endeavouring to automatically add the tag(s) to a bulk of the photo back catalogue.

Known Limitations

Tags on Geograph is a very new addition, and as such not fully developed yet. The details here are subject to change.

In particular:


Further details about tags...

Case in-sensitive

Tags are not strictly case sensitive, and will in many places be used in lowercase only. But they should preserve the case (ie if enter uppercase it should be remembered). It's not possible to create different tags that differ only in case.

Acceptable characters

Unacceptable characters


Spaces and underscores are interchangeable in tags. Spaces are an allowed character in our tags. (some tagging systems don't allow spaces)

Length Limits

Prefixes are limited to 32 and the tag itself is limited to 64 characters. So a tag overall has a maximum length of 97 characters.

Types of tags

Fundamentally there are two types of tags, public and private. Public tags, anyone sees, and can use to search for images, etc. Private tags are only visible to the user that added them. Private tags will be convertible to public tags.

Only the photo contributor can add a public tag to their images. But if multiple people define the same private tag for a photo it's eligible to be promoted to a public tag. [the exact details to be worked out]

Private tags, are a useful way to mark images so you can find them again in the future. For example could have a 'favourite' tag (call it what you like!), to find your favourite images.

Private tags viewer

Converting categories

The current category attached to an image, is likely to converted to a tag. [The exact details to be determined]

Converting keywords

Some people have been adding keywords to end of the description. These will be converted automatically to formal tags.

Converting terms and clusters

The automated 'terms' and 'clusters', which are essentially just tags, but created by a computer, have the potential to be used as normal tags. There is no current plans to bulk convert, but it might happen in some form. For the moment, the tag editor will list the terms and clusters, so that they can be converted manually.

Note: The terms and cluster databases are built using a bulk offline process (using resources donated by geograph members) - so the most recent images don't likely have any terms/clusters yet. Now we have a more high profile use for these databases it should give us an incentive to keep them more current.


Can Optionally use a prefix on a tag - these help to make tags useful in a variety of special ways. In effect they create a name-spaceExternal link for tags. In many places tags may be shown WITHOUT the prefix.

Anyone can create a prefix, but there are certain known prefixes that have special meanings.

The format is prefix:tag, (ie a colon separates the prefix and tag) for example bucket:transport is a tag 'transport' in the 'bucket' name-space.

There are the following reserved prefixes...

Can also use prefixes to annotate what you tagging, examples

Or classify tags by type
[more details to be added - this is still open to discussion]

*** Note: tags using these special prefixes may be made Public - even for tags marked Private.

Using tags

Tags are not displayed much on the site yet. Find them in the 'Tags Box' noted below. Public tags are now listed on this basic page.

Note about the Search Engine/Interface

Can enter tags in the keywords box. Eg [train] to search for images tagged with 'train'. Also works with Prefixes, eg [place:London] and spaces [River Themes].

If just want to search 'in' the tags on the image, use tags: format. tags:London - looks for London anywhere in tags - so matches "London Bridge", and "London Eye" for example.

Adding tags to an image

Open the 'Tags box' against an image (see below for where to find it).

Add a new tag, by entering a tag in the box, and click Add. (can also just press enter)

* Can enter multiple tags at once, separated by , or ; (comma or semicolon).

On your own images can choose between making the tag Public (green) or Private (red), click the tag itself to toggle the colour.

Can remove a tag by clicking the X against a tag. General (yellow) tags are public tags added by the image owner and cannot be removed by other people.

In many cases suggestions for tags will be displayed below the Add box, simply click a 'Use' to enable the tag.

Note: the changes you make are saved to the server immediately. Changes are not tracked in Suggestions/Tickets.

On edit photo page

Use the box below the "shared description box" at the bottom of the page.

Via search results

The "Multi Editor" display mode, includes an interface to display/edit tags.

Multi tagger


Quick way to add many similar tags to a series of images.

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright February 2011, Barry Hunter; licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.

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