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Geograph-or-supplemental Article
the text below is maintained only as a historical record. This document may not represent current practice.

Geograph or Supplemental - How are pictures moderated?

If you are new to the site, please have a look at our guide first which should help you get started. The information below provides a wider selection of examples taken from the site to help you understand what does and what doesn't constitute a geograph.

Our Aims

The aim of the Geograph website is to be a widely appealing web site that will gradually produce a freely accessible archive of educationally useful, geographically located photographs of the British Isles.

The Ordnance Survey grid has been chosen as the basis for the geographic referencing system.

To get an idea of the type of image we are interested in, think what a child sat looking at a map in a geography lesson might find useful when trying to make sense of what a the human and physical geographical features in a given grid square actually look like, or what would he see if he looked further a field from a given viewpoint.

There are many, very broad subject areas that could be useful to the child in interpreting the map information including:

These can be photographically interpreted in many different ways - this is definitely not an exhaustive list!

The success of the site depends on a high image submission rate as well as on their accuracy, quality and usefulness. We try to make the site appeal to as wide a range of potential contributors as possible so have guidelines rather than hard and fast rules and have introduced a competitive element in the form of geograph points and a leaderboard.

We hope that as time goes by, most geographs will be taken specifically for this purpose but realise that many people may also wish to contribute pictures from an existing collection.

Don't be disheartened if your image is not classed as a geograph, if your image has been accepted as a supplemental it is still a valued contribution to the project. Only a very tiny percentage of submissions are rejected!

The table should serve as a guide to some of the types of photograph which a site visitor might find useful and an indication as to whether they would be classed as a geograph or a supplemental image and which grid square they should be submitted under. Whatever type of picture you submit, please try to include as much additional information as possible in your description.

Small area images (<1

showing subjects within a given grid square taken at close range from within the square

Subject location with grid reference quoted to as many figures as accurately possible.

SP1093 : Court Lane by Adrian Bailey
GEOGRAPH: Shows in detail an example of the built environment within the grid square

SJ4800 : The stream at Longnor by Adrian Bailey
GEOGRAPH: Shows in detail a particular feature of the physical geography of the square that is easily identifiable on the map

TQ2486 : In the London traffic by Adrian Bailey
SUPPLEMENTAL: A good subject and easy to locate on the map from the description but of borderline quality having been taken through dirty, wet glass!

SP2962 : Flatrabbit Lane by David Stowell
SUPPLEMENTAL: Doesn't show a significant geographical feature

NF8459 : Otter Warning Sign by Paul Store
SUPPLEMENTAL: Although the road is easily identifiable from the description the image is poorly composed with >50% of it showing grey sky. Better framing showing more of the road would have made a good geograph.

Wide area images (>1sqkm)

showing landscape features or other subjects from a viewpoint which may or may not be within the square occupied by the photographer.

NT6087 : Bass Rock by Gary Rogers
SUPPLEMENTAL - because the subject is not shown in sufficient close up detail. Also, photographer's position (NT5685) is neither stated nor easily determined

NG8784 : Torridon Viewpoint by Roger McLachlan
GEOGRAPH - because it provides an excellent map interpretation of the area viewed from the referenced grid square. Thus, this image is logged against the PHOTOGRAPHER'S SQUARE - other images detailing the geography within the square would of course be welcomed


Although panoramas do not show geographic details of particular grid squares at close quarters they can be very useful in interpreting map information and so are welcomed. Additional geographs showing the geography of the grid square in question will of course be required to complete the detailed picture for a particular square. Several different types of image have been categorised as panorama by contributors. The viewpoint should be clearly stated.

All panoramas should be logged against the photographer position

NW9954 : Portpatrick by andy
GEOGRAPH : not only does it show some of the main geographical features of the square, it's also an extremely good representation of what could be seen from the given location and would greatly aid map interpretation.

SU6022 : Beacon Hill panorama 2 by Peter Facey
SUPPLEMENTAL : The image shows a relatively large number of grid squares but the photographer's position and direction of view have been clearly stated However this is an image created from a single frame and the distortion caused by the ultra wide angle lens has made accurate determination of the lay of the land impossible.

SJ5786 : River Mersey panorama by andy
GEOGRAPH : The photographer's viewpoint has been accurately stated and details of what can be seen have been included in the description. It would be better if the compass directions had been stated in the description so as not to affect the display dimensions of the picture and despite being a little dark it is possible to make out the geographical lie of the land from the given viewpoint

Close up or detail images and interiors

Although normally classed as supplemental we welcome this type of picture because they add depth of detail and interest to the site and complement the geographical information available for a given grid square.

SK8030 : Maize field near Branston, Leicestershire by Kate Jewell
SUPPLEMENTAL A close up of the Maize growing in the field. Had the grid reference been given more accurately the image could have been classed as a geograph given that a reasonable length of the path is shown.

SD5301 : Bean crop in flower by Gary Rogers
SUPPLEMENTAL : A close up of a pea plant in a field in Billinge provides interesting additional information to complement the other photographs for the square.

NH9857 : The Rodney Stone by Anne Burgess
SUPPLEMENTAL : Interesting additional image with accurate location information.

SJ7493 : Benchmark by Keith Williamson
SUPPLEMENTAL : The wall of the bridge contains a date stone and an ordnance survey bench mark - accurately locatable to within 10m !

NU1241 : St Aidan and the Monks by Gary Rogers
SUPPLEMENTAL : Images taken inside a building or underground will in most cases be classed as supplemental.

SJ3390 : Liverbirds by Gary Rogers
SUPPLEMENTAL : detail image of a Liverbird and the clock towers on top of the Liver building in Liverpool..

SU4578 : A Ladybird's Hasty Retreat by Pam Brophy
SUPPLEMENTAL : A fantastic image showing examples of the dramatic insect life to be found in the area - if you look closely enough!

Old Images

Old images are welcomed but care must be taken to ensure that they are referenced under the correct grid square.

TQ3082 : Corner of St Pancras Road - Euston Road by John Barrett
GEOGRAPH A very informative old photo showing old style traffic lights and old London Buses as well as street lighting and building facades that certainly will have changed since the photo was taken. Location can easily be determined.

NT1684 : Railway Tracks Half Full by Simon Johnston
GEOGRAPH A good quality, older image with a very informative description and has been accurately located by the contributor.

NN1644 : View west from the summit of Stob Coir'an Albannaich by Gordon Brown
SUPPLEMENTAL A reasonable quality scanned image in which the viewpoint has probably been accurately located. Although the scene is probably much the same today, it is currently classed as supplemental because of its age

Digitally manipulated/Sunset/Very Underexposed Images

Images that have been digitally manipulated in a way that is likely to have significantly devalued the geographical information they contain are likely to be rejected (or at best classed as supplemental). sunset/sunrise or heavily underexposed images where the main purpose of the image was to produce a visually pleasing picture will be classed as supplemental unless sufficient geographical information can clearly be discerned. Images taken specifically for geograph are unlikely to fall into this category.

TF6740 : Sunset at Hunstanton by Kim Slater
GEOGRAPH The image has been accurately located to within 100m and details of the physical geography of the beach and the human element (the groyne and a marker built on it) are clearly visible.

TQ2444 : Sunset over woodland to the North-West of Collendean Lane by James Insell
SUPPLEMENTAL This image has been very accurately located and described but contains hardly any visual geographic detail. It is not really acceptable for the purposes of the site but has been classed as supplemental so that it remains on the site as an example for the purposes of the guide.

SE2185 : View from the road to Thirn by Nick W
SUPPLEMENTAL Roughly 2/3 of this image is sky - it looks like it has been taken more for visual impact than as a geograph. The inclusion of so much sky has resulted in underexposure of the geographically interesting land area (or its been digitally altered to appear dark to enhance the aesthetic appeal) either way its not a geograph but as some information can be gleaned we've accepted it as a supplemental.

People pics

Images that incidentally show people going about their daily routine provide valuable human geographical information and can be classed as geographs.

Snaps that have been taken mainly to show family members on holiday are not normally accepted.

J3279 : Belfast Castle by Kenneth  Allen
REJECT : typical example of the type not normally accepted for the purposes of the site.

D0644 : Carrick-a-rede rope bridge by Kenneth  Allen
GEOGRAPH : Here's an example where the inclusion of a family member doesn't detract significantly from the geographic value of the image.

Small Images

We are not looking for technically perfect images nor do you need expensive photographic equipment to take part but small, poor quality pictures (where the largest dimension is less than 480 pixels) are unlikely to be of acceptable quality for the purposes of the site.

Images from camera phones are frequent rejected for this reason

TL7608 : Bridge over the River Chelmer by Helen in Mustardland
REJECT : typical example of the type not normally accepted for the purposes of the site.

Telephoto Images

We prefer people to try to get themselves into grid squares and take images at close range. Taking a telephoto lens up a hill and taking a shot from 5 or 6 miles away isn't really what the site is about, it generally doesn't result in the level of detail we are looking for and spoils the game for those members who like the challenge of getting into the less accessible areas

NZ7619 : Looking East from NZ760190 by Nick W
REJECT : Typical example of the type not normally acceptable..

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