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(show all questions)
- Open source? Creative Commons? What's that all about? Close
- Keeping the Geograph website operational requires many people to donate their time or resources, and we want to be sure that the website is 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).
Also, we require all submitters to adopt a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence on their photographic submissions.
Under this licence the photographer keeps the copyright on their images but grants the right to anyone to copy and/or distribute and/or modify the image and its attached metadata, provided they give credit. This right to reuse the image may include someone printing and selling the image on Ebay or elsewhere.
On submission, contributors licence their images at one or more specific sizes. Once a licence is granted it is irrevocable, as that image and licence may legally have been downloaded and used elsewhere.
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 http://www.geograph.org.uk/help/freedom
(Developer? http://www.geograph.org.uk/article/Geograph-for-Developers )
- How do I send private emails Close
- You can contact a contributor directly using the link on their profile or on any of their submitted photographs. If you want to contact them about a specific photograph, using the link on that image will help them know which photo you refer to.
Be aware, not all contributors are still active and may have changed their email address since registering with Geograph.
- How do I find the location for an image Close
- Every submitted image has an Ordnance Survey grid reference, which pins it down to a single 1km square in Britain (two letters) or Ireland (one letter). That generates a local map above the photo with a blue ring where the main feature is.
The viewer location can be any distance away but if not a cross grid will always be within the same square. Cross grids include views, longer telephoto shots and normal photos taken near a square border.
When adding your own decide where the primary location is in the view and then use the second black circle to show where you were when you took it.
- Why are you introducing Geographical Context? Close
- Geograph publishes photos that illustrate the geography of Great Britain, Ireland and the Isle of Man.
For the first six years and 2 million images, Geograph contributors have been required to choose a primary geographical category for each of their images. They could either select one from a list or create a new one if what they wanted didn't exist. Some contributors limited themselves to a small number of very general categories (moorland, lake, buildings...) while others preferred to create much more detailed, often unique, categories (church (Roman Catholic) (former), artificial fish farming pool, bat hibernaculum...). The list grew to an unwieldy 9,000 categories, mostly of detailed photograph subjects. The primary geographical categories – which offered a broad-brush way of organising the archive – had got lost.
The system showed its limitations as the archive grew. For example, in this subject-rich photo http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1579473 the short title and description and single category (Watercourse) mean that other features go unrecorded, so will not be picked up in a search. Similarly in http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/716196 the category selected was Lake. A search on Lake would return over 25,000 images – not very useful. The interesting detail in the description would only be found by a very specific search. In a third example http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/514710 the category Artificial fish farming pool is unique, although the image would be found by a search for Fish farm. All these images would of course be seen in browsing their respective gridsquares. Photos with the minimum information will tend to be invisible to searches because searches are text-based. The solution is to enable contributors to choose multiple categories – tags – and one or more primary geographical categories – geographical context - that describe the content of the photo.
Of course, submitter knows best. The new system asks submitters to choose at least one geographical context from a fixed list of 46 very general options. If several of them apply, all their boxes can be ticked. At the same time, detail is encouraged with free-form tags which would previously have cluttered up the category list, and which can now be put to good use in narrowing down searches. So, geographical context and tags together should do all that categories used to, but without their limitations. In the Askern example several context boxes could be ticked: Lake, Village, Open space, Leisure; possibly Mining. From these alone a picture forms in the mind. Tags would fill in details of the birds, the tree, and the vanished historical features. The more information that can be attached to a photo the greater its value to the archive.
[edited by Robin Stott]
- Counties, I'm confused, which do you display? Close
- 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.
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 http://www.abcounties.co.uk/ . (However beware that the site doesn't use the exact same terms.)
To see lists of counties in each structure see the Explore Section.
- I've seen little thumbs-up symbols around the site, what are they? Close
- Simply click them if you like the image and/or description (separate entries in the thumb pop-up 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.
- What are those little thumbs to the right of the images about? Close
- If you find a picture or its description particularly good or useful, you'll find links to heap praise on either in the thumbs pop-up menu which shows when hovering over the thumb symbol to the right of the main picture. Just click the appropriate link(s).
Contributors can see which of their pictures others found useful at http://www.geograph.org.uk/thumbed.php?type=&who=others .
You can also 'thumb' your own images to keep track of your own favourites. This is counted separately from feedback by others.
While you're at it, you can use the thumb pop-up to throw the image in one or several 'image buckets' - categories which classify the type of image, e.g. whether it is a close-up or a panorama, or if it shows people or landscapes. By doing this, you can help Geograph to narrow down searches and add value for other site users.
- Why can I only get to page 20 of search results? Close
- For performance reasons our search engine can only access the first 1000 results of a given search. This is in fact just like Google and other major engines.
If you are trying to view more images, there is a few techniques to use. The best one is to try to narrow your search results. Maybe adding a another keyword. Or even specifing a date range - for example limiting to only recent images.
If you order the results in date submitted (decending or ascending) order, you may be offered a link on the last page to create a new search from that approximate point forward (it does this by adding/changing the date critieria of the search) - in this way you can get though by using a number of seperate searches.
- Can I subscribe to a square and receive a notification when new photos are added to it? Close
- Create a search that only find images in the given square, in reverse date submitted order using the search form http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?form=advanced . This one is an example for SN5881: http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=23416804 . Copy the GeoRSS link at the bottom of the search results page. You can either read the feed in an RSS reader such as Google Reader http://www.google.co.uk/reader by adding the link as a new subscription, or you can use an RSS2email service such as Feedmyinbox http://www.feedmyinbox.com/ to receive updates via email.
There is also a link at the bottom of your profile page giving access to a special search showing images uploaded in the last 30 days in any square that you've submitted to.
Finally, you can subscribe to the grid square discussion of a square you're interested in by going to the grid square discussion page and ticking 'notify me of new posts'.
(Inspired by a question asked on the forum by tuppence and answered by barryhunter http://www.geograph.org.uk/discuss/index.php?&action=vthread&forum=18&topic=13038 .)
- What are my legal rights when taking photographs? Close
- Let's preface this by stating We Are Not Lawyers, and if you have any doubts about your right to take pictures, then you're probably better off not submitting it to us. However, there is a useful guide available which outlines your rights in the UK fairly concisely.
Possibly useful reference: https://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/latest/photo-news/uk-photographers-rights-print-them-out-and-keep-them-handy-19949 and http://www.openphotographicsociety.org/shop-and-tools/photographers-rights-uk/rights-card/858-photographers-rights-card-download (very similar)
- I've had a complaint about one of my pictures. What should I do? Close
- It probably depends on the nature and tone of the complaint you've received, and on where you've taken the picture from. You've got three options: respond to the complainant, pass it on to Geograph, or ignore it. In any case, remember that there's nothing wrong with taking pictures from places with public access as long as it doesn't infringe someone's privacy in a very specific manner.
If the complaint is a reasonable request, you may wish to discuss the matter with the complainant directly - they may well be happy with your picture and text once they get to know you a little and realise you're a friendly if slightly excentric square bagger rather than a horse-rustling paedophile terrorist.
If the complaint is irate or makes unreasonable claims for privacy, you may prefer not to let the complainant have your email address. If you don't respond, they can always complain to Geograph. Alternatively, you can forward the complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org , who will deal with it on your behalf. It helps if you present your side of the story and say whether you've taken the picture from a public space, a Public Right of Way or from private property without statutory access. Please make sure that the email address of the complainant shows in the body of the forwarded message.
On the other hand, if you do want to deal with an irate complaint by replying directly, it is usually a good idea to wait a couple of days to diffuse the heat of the moment.
If the complaint is about the text rather than the image, it is often possible to find a wording which will pacify the complainant without distorting the meaning of your text.
(Based on a question asked on the forum by Roger Jones http://www.geograph.org.uk/discuss/index.php?&action=vthread&forum=14&topic=14020&dontcount=1&page=0#1 and answered by Evelyn Simak.)
- What is an ITT? Close
- Image Type Tags (ITTs) were introduced in May 2016 to further define different types of supplemental image. Originally there were 5 (including Geograph) but in November 2016 this was changed to 6 after complaints about the words used. Whether this has helped or not is still a matter for debate.
Generally they can be helpful in refining a search.
- I entered the wrong date in the "date taken" field before submitting. Can I change it? Close
- Yes, as with any of the information you added when submitting, this can be edited using the 'Change image details' form which is linked to just below the photo on its main page.
- Where can I find the reference number of a photo? Close
- All submitted images have a unique identity number. It forms the last part of the URL (web address) of the main photo page.
example: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4 is the first 'live' image on the site and has the ID number 4 (we don't use leading zeroes) while http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4018397 was the four millionth to go 'live' on the site (we do get a few rejects or failures) and has the ID number 4018397.
- How long does a photograph stay pending? Close
- This will depend upon how many moderators are active and the rate at which images are being submitted. It can vary between a few minutes and a couple of days.
Occasionally technical problems can lead to the suspension of moderation for brief periods. This may be announced in the forum.
You can view your recent uploads, moderated or not, via your Recent uploads page http://www.geograph.org.uk/submissions.php (link in the side bar) or from links on your profile page http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile.php (link top right of most pages).
- Can I change my name to a pseudonym on a submission ? Close
- You can submit all your photos under a pseudonym by changing the name on your Profile http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile.php (link top write on most pages). Note that by doing this, the name will be changed on all photos you have previously submitted from the account. These may already have been used elsewhere, crediting the name originally shown.
You can change the credit on an individual image, for instance if you asked someone else to take it for you, but the name on your profile will still be shown on the photo page and the photographer name will still link back to your profile.
You can open another account under a pseudonym but this will need to be done from a different email address and you will have to take care which account you are signed in with before submitting, making changes or posting in the forums.
- How do I delete my account? no photos submitted Close
- Accounts cannot be deleted - see this answer http://www.geograph.ie/faq3.php#103
If you have submitted no photos the only way anyone can find your account is by trawling through every account number - in November 2015 there are around 122100 of them.
If you are still concerned about your name or email address being available you can edit your profile to anonymise your name and introduce an error into your email address (which is not visible unless you have set it to be so).
- Any rule about cloning out? Should one blurr out faces of people in the photo? What about ugly wires, aerials? Close
- Short answer - please don't!
Editing out what is there by stamping another part of the image over in order to produce a 'prettier' picture is not what Geograph is about. We aim to record what is there, not a prettified version of it.
If people happen to be in your photo and you think they may object to the image appearing on the internet, consider if you are prepared to deal with any objections they may raise. If not, best not to submit. That said, I can only recall 2-3 images being removed from view because of objections raised by people (known to the photographer) who appeared in them - in the 11 years since the site started.
Some submitters do blur out legible vehicle registration plates. Opinions vary as to whether this is necessary or desirable but it is not a reason for rejection if subtly done.
- When submitting I am getting messages about file sizes above 8 MB. I always submit from my iPad. What can i do about this? Close
1) Resize the image before you send
2) Limit the size of the image before you take it.
Most smartphones allow you to tweak the size of the image before you take the pic. You might find editing software for your smartphone to help you edit the image to get the size below 8MB.
- How do I add a shared description to a submited photo? Close
- Please see the article http://www.geograph.org.uk/article/Shared-Descriptions
The easiest place from which to add shared descriptions to a few recently submitted images (or check if you have attached it to all you intended) is your Recent Uploads page http://www.geograph.org.uk/submissions.php (link in side bar).
The Shared Descriptions tab below the description box shows how many shared descriptions are attached to an image. Click it to check which they are, create a new shared description or attach one already created.
There is a bulk attach tool available to facilitate the adding of a shared description to up to 50 images at a time (see article).
Note you can only add shared descriptions to your own images but are free to contact other contributors to alert them to the existence of a shared description relevant to their photo which they may wish to add.
- Can I use someone else's text in my description? Close
- It's usually best to paraphrase information from other sources and then add a reference (or hyperlink) to those sources. If you want to quote something verbatim, you need to ask the author for permission to use it and to re-licence it under the Creative Commons licence - which essentially means they not only allow you but the whole world to use their text, provided credit is given. If you have their permission to re-use their text, you should still acknowledge that it's theirs.
It doesn't matter if the text you wish to quote is from a commercial printed work, a website or just a handwritten note the original author wrote just for your information.
(Inspired by a question asked by Jon2 and answered by barryhunter on the forum http://www.geograph.org.uk/discuss/index.php?&action=vthread&forum=18&topic=13068&dontcount=1&page=0#6 .)
- How do i close my account? Close
- Short answer: you can't. But please read on...
You can't revoke the Creative Commons licence you have given The World when submitting your photos, and we would like to ensure as best as we can that you continue to get credit for your images wherever they are used. If you stop submitting, your existing photos remain visible and credited to yourself for this reason.
If you would prefer no longer to be identified as the photographer of the photos you have uploaded, you can change your real name in your profile http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile.php?edit=1 to show a pseudonym, or you can ask us http://www.geograph.org.uk/contact.php to anonymise your account. In either case, your decision is reversible should you change your mind - which of course we do hope!
- How do I get a list of my photos as a CSV? Close
- On the bottom of your profile page, look for "Download: CSV , XML for Excel 2003 of all images".
This has links to download as Comma Separate Values (CSV) or Excel XML format.
These can be opened in spreadsheet software, eg LibreOffice or Micrsoft Excel.
The URL for these downloads looks like this:
For CSV: http://www.geograph.org.uk/export.csv.php?u=XXXX&supp=1&taken=1&submitted=1&hits=1&tags=1
For Excel: http://www.geograph.org.uk/export.excel.xml.php?u=XXXX&supp=1&taken=1&submitted=1&hits=1&tags=1
The parameters specify what is included. The contributor is u=XXXX, where XXXX is the user ID. If you use a link from your own profile, it will include your own ID.
&supp=1 - include photos classed as supplemental
&taken=1 - include taken date
&submitted=1 - include submitted date
&hits=1 - include hit count
&tags=1 - include tags, in a list separated by question marks
&desc=1 - include description
&class=1 - include classification (geograph or supplemental)
&level=1 - include geograph points, eg 1st, 2nd, 3rd
&ll=1 - include latitude and longitude (in separate columns)
&en=1 - include numerical grid reference, in easting and northing, plus figures for precision
&ppos=1 - include photographer position, easting and northing
For more details, see the API help: http://www.geograph.org.uk/help/api#csv
- How can I retrieve pictures from Geograph to replace those lost from my home computer? Close
- You can download your photos from Geograph in the same way anybody else can. In most browsers this involves right-clicking on the image and selecting 'Save image as' or similar, then choosing where to save it on your computer.
If you have licensed a larger size then pick the largest version on the download page.
Geograph does not retain unlicensed larger sizes so, no matter what size original you submitted, you will only be able to download the size you agreed to license.
- Can I change the category of photos submitted a year or more ago? Close
- Yes, it is still possible to change the category on older submissions but why not embrace Tags?
The old Category system is no longer available for most contributors on new submissions and there is a plan to remove Categories and replace with a tag. You can add tags to images which already have a Category and this may be a more useful exercise.
- What does 'not yet allocated' mean on my profile? Close
- You will only see this against images submitted before Image Type Tags were introduced. Previously it said 'supplemental' and then 'unknown'. So it just means a supplemental image which has not yet had an image type assigned.
- Can I submit a photo taken by someone else e.g. a friend? Close
- If your friend asks you to and for some reason cannot create their own account then that's fine provided they understand the Creative Commons licence. You should credit them as the photographer when submitting.
See related article: Photos not taken by submitter
- What's the ideal size for an image submitted to Geograph? Close
- All images shown on the general photo pages fit within a 1024pixel-square area. If they are bigger than that when uploaded, the site software will reduce them to fit into that frame. If they are smaller than 640px, the moderator is likely to request a larger version.
Optionally, you can upload a larger version of the same photo and license that larger version with the same Creative Commons licence (unlimited free re-use by anyone for any purpose as long as credit is given) as the main image. To do this, select the largest image size that you are happy to contribute when prompted by the submission dialogue after uploading your photo in step 1. Geograph will produce the standard 1024px image as well as this higher-resolution one according to your request.
Site users can access these larger images by clicking on 'more sizes' above the main photo on the photo page.
- I have licensed an image larger than I intended, can I remove it? Close
- The simplest method is to overwrite the large version with a smaller one.
This only needs to be one pixel larger than the displayed image (641 pixels on longest side) but can be whatever size you are comfortable to licence for reuse.
Just click on the link [Upload another large version] and follow the steps on the page.
This process works best on unmoderated images as these will not yet have been picked up by others (wikimedia, British library, site visitors etc). We cannot guarantee that images overwritten after moderation will not have been copied elsewhere before being replaced.
- What are shared descriptions, and how can I add them? Close
- Shared descriptions are blocks of text that you can apply to a number of images. You can also use shared descriptions written by others.
This may be useful if you have taken a number of photos at one location, and want to write a paragraph about that location. Also if you make a change to the shared description (e.g. correct a typo) it will be updated on all the images it is attached to.
For example I wrote a shared description for a number of images featuring Epping Long Green, which I can re-use if I take any more images of that location. It also enables a viewer to access a page where all images using that description are displayed.
If someone else has already written a helpful description of a feature, you can re-use this. It also allows a way of grouping images from different contributors together. For example Ian Capper had written a description of Coal Tax Posts, which I was able to attach to one of my images: Anyone searching for "Coal Tax Posts" would be able to access a page where images from all contributors who had used that description are displayed.
You can find a detailed article on the topic written by Barry Hunter here: http://www.geograph.org.uk/article/Shared-Descriptions
You can search for shared descriptions already written here: http://www.geograph.org.uk/snippets.php
- Is there a way to enter latitude and longitude directly when submitting? Close
- On submit v1, select "Locate on Map" tab
On submit v2, "Find square on map" tool
Enter the coordinates into the box under the map. Separated by a comma, and prefixed by loc, eg:
Click the button at above the map to then continue.
(Much of the text based on an answer given by Barry Hunter in the link below)
- How do different image editing applications compare? Close
- Actually I like Photoshop. It IS expensive, but you can purchase cheaper versions of it which are perfectly capable. It does take a little time to learn, but if you can master the keyboard shortcuts it helps a lot. It really can do everything - from HDR to 3d painting.
There are loads of Image editing applications, including the free one GIMP. Its personal preference. GIMP is very capable, but I'm not personally keen on the interface, even if it is a bit like Photoshop. It also runs on Linux.
In windows, its useful to have the application set up so that a right click on the image will launch the application, or open the image in it.
- How do I get a Geograph point for my image? Close
- 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 are TPoints, how do they work? Close
- 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.
Also can get listings of squares via this page
(change the grid-reference in the box to your area of interest)
· Read more about the various points on the Statistics FAQ
- I have just had my first ever Cross Grid. Why none before? Close
- The image type tags were introduced in May 2016, previously it would have been classified as Supplemental. Perhaps you have not previously submitted an image where the subject is not in the same grid square as the camera position, or maybe you just have not noticed the tag.
- Are all photo's taken outside of a grid square "cross-grids"? Close
- (From 11 May 2016 the Supplemental Classification is replaced by Image Type Tags:
see http://www.geograph.org.uk/article/Image-Type-Tags-update ).
The short answer is "Yes": Whilst in the past there was some degree of discretion if the camera position was close to a grid-line, current guidance (2016) is quite strict.
One of the aims of Geograph is to encourage people to visit all possible land squares. If there was not a general rule requiring the camera to be in the same grid square as the subject a photographer could go to the top of a mountain or tall building and use a telephoto lens to "bag" a number of grid-squares without having to visit them.
- How are contributions scored in the Photo of the Week \ Year competitions? Close
- It isn't a matter of scoring, and there are no hard and fast rules, except that the photographs must be taken within the qualifying week, and submitted by midnight on the Tuesday after the end of the qualifying week.
There is a rota of volunteer selectors, who look through all the eligible images, and whittle down to a shortlist of about 50. Individual selectors select according to whatever criteria they decide, and post the short list to the discussion forum.
They also notify the previous week's winner, whose privilege it is to pick the winner the next week.
The weekly winners eventually go forward to a selector who picks the image of the year from among the weekly winners.
Any member can volunteer to pick a week's selection. To volunteer, send a message to the Photo of the Year Co-ordinator.
- What is the Photo of the Week / Year competition? Close
- The Photo of the Week competition is an informal competition intended to showcase some of the best images submitted during the week.
The only criterion for an image to be considered is that it must have been taken during the qualifying week, which runs from Saturday to Friday, and submitted by midnight on the following Tuesday.
Some people like to make sure that their images are submitted within the qualifying period, and other like to delay their submissions to make sure they are not considered.
What constitutes 'best' is very much subjective, because the selections of both shortlist and winner are done by different contributors each week.
As with all subjective selections, there is often disagreement with some of the selections, but that usually manifests itself by people saying which image they would have picked if it had been up to them to do so.
It all takes place in the Discussion Forum "Photograph of the Year (date)".
Photo Contributors :: Contributing
Points and Moderation
Finding way in the forum
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