Use of Cookies on Geograph Website

Published: 25 May 2011
On 26 May 2011, the rules about cookies on websites changed. This site uses cookies. This document attempts to document their use, and the implications of opting to block cookies.

For more information on the new regulations, see: link

Session Cookies

These cookies are set temporarily, and are automatically deleted when browser windows are closed.

Implicit session cookie (PHPSESSID)

This cookie is automatically set on first visit, and allows temporary remembering of state. Such as the background colour of the photo page(s). Or if you switch the display method on the grid square page.

It is also used to remember your login. Once you login, your identity is remembered via this cookie, to prevent you needing to login again for a short while.

After 24 minutes of inactivity, this cookie will be regenerated automatically.

Implication of blocking: Some customizations will not work, nor will you be able to login to use member functions. The "OS Map Checksheet" page will not be able to display maps.

Tracking possibility: Once logged in geograph can of course identify users - however this is clearly opt-in (in the sense that you decide to log in). And the cookie is short term.

Persistent Cookies

Geograph uses persistent cookies (a cookie that survives between browser sessions), to remember specific states - in response to specific use actions.

Remember Me (autologin - 1 year)

This is set explicitly when a user ticks the "Remember Me" tickbox on login. This enables the current user to be remembered and hence you will not have to periodically re-login - to continue using the member only features.

Implication of blocking: Will just have to periodically login, just like if never ticked "remember me"

Marked Images (markedImages - 10 days)

When "Mark" an image(s) - the list of marked images is stored in this cookie.

Implication of blocking: Will not be able to use the Mark facility.

Map Service (MapSrv - 10 days)

Used to indicate which map service last used during submission (v2) only.

Implication of blocking: You will have to reselect your preferred service during each submission.

Map View (GMapView/GMapType - 10 days)

GMapType - used to remember last used map type, such as Map vs Satellite on various Google Maps view used on the site (notably the map during submission)
GMapView - in addition used to remember the centre point - so that the map can start zoomed to the same approx location as the last submission.

Implication of blocking: Every time the maps are loaded will be back to the default.

External Services

Geograph uses a number of external services to implement parts of the website.

Google Maps

NID, SNID, PREF, khcookie
These cookies are used by Google to store user preferences and information when viewing pages with Google maps on them. Note they are only on the * domain, not on geograph itself, as the Google Map is loaded direct from Google servers.

Implication of blocking: None for Geograph itself, unknown how Google will handle it.

OS OpenSpace

Does not set any cookies.

Add This

uid, uit (possibly di, dt, loc, psc, ssh, sshs too)
Add this appears to set these cookies for tracking purposes. Addthis allows the user to share a webpage with many social sites.

Note they are only on the domain, not on geograph itself, as the AddThis widget is loaded direct from their servers.

Implication of blocking: The addthis button probably won't remember your preference of services available.

Google Analytics

Although we no longer use it, we used to use Google Analytics to track visits. So some users might find they still have Google Analytics still set on Geograph domains (_utma/_utmb/_utmc/_utmz). Click here for an overview of privacy at GoogleExternal link.

The Google Analytics cookies were not used, remembered, or tracked by the geograph website itself.
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright May 2011, Barry Hunter; licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.
With contributions by Penny Mayes and Peter Facey. (details)
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