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Geograph Britain and Ireland is a web-based project, initiated in March 2005, to create a freely accessible archive of geographically located photographs of Great Britain and Ireland.[1] Photographs in the Geograph collection are chosen to illustrate significant or typical features of each 1 km x 1 km grid square in the Ordnance Survey National Grid and the Irish national grid reference system.[2] There are 330,184 such grid squares containing at least some land.[3] Each page uses a Geo microformat.[citation needed]

Geographs are being collected for all parts of Great Britain and Ireland with the exception of the Channel Islands and a similar project is planned for New Zealand. The Channel Islands fall outside Britain's grid system, but may be geographed using their local UTM grid.

The project is sponsored by Ordnance Survey, and extracts from the OS Landranger 1:50,000 scale maps illustrate the grid square pages.



Photographs can be contributed by any registered user, although they must be approved by a panel of moderators before appearing on the website. The activity of taking photographs for the project is known as geographing. All images are licensed by the contributors using the Creative Commons cc-by-sa 2.0 licence which permits modification and redistribution of the images under certain conditions. Contributors should be aware that they are granting Geograph an irrevocable licence to use their image(s); it is very difficult to get an image removed once it appears on the website.

The entire archive of images with RDF metadata is being made available for download via BitTorrent.[4]

As an incentive to increase coverage, participants are awarded a point each time they contribute the first photograph classified as a geograph to a grid square.[5] There is, however, no limit to the number of images per square, and some squares have over 100. A weekly competition runs in the members-only forums to select the Geograph of the Year from photographs taken that week. The annual winners are "Deer Fence on the Shank of Drumfollow" by Gwen and James Anderson (2008), "Horsey Drainage Mill, Horsey, Norfolk" by Rodney Burton (2007) and "Islands of mud, East Hoyle Bank" by Peter Craine (2006).[6][7][8]

Some participants combine geographing with other outdoor location sports such as letterboxing, geocaching, trigpointing, benchmarking, and peak bagging.

Types of image

Geograph images are classified by site moderators as:

  • Geograph – an image which usefully illustrates or characterises the area in which it was taken;
  • Supplemental – an image which adds useful information about a square but which does not meet the requirements of a geograph; this includes close-ups, interior, underground and aerial shots, and shots taken from outside the grid square;[2]
  • Rejected – an image that does not meet the requirements of the Geograph Project; these are retained by the system but are not visible to anyone other than the owner and the moderators.

There is a special classification of image that is known as First Geograph - the first image uploaded of a particular grid square which meets the requirements to be a geograph; this status is assigned automatically by the system and not by moderators. A new system of points where contributors can gain Second, Third and Fourth points has now been introduced. Similar to the first point system, this time a contributor with gain a point depending on how many other geographers have submitted to that square. For example, a square with one image by one contributor will have second, third and fourth points up for grabs. The same will apply if the first contributor has submitted 100 images in that square. The date the photo was taken makes no difference to the points system. So the next person to submit a geograph will gain a second visit point. The third person to submit will get a third and so on. This was introduced with feedback from members as well as a need to fill up squares will few images.

Some of the common themes for geograph photos include:


As of July 2010, the project had over 1,950,000 photographs contributed by more than 10,000 photographers, covering 93% of Great Britain and 31% of Ireland.[9] Photographed squares had an average of 4.7 images.[10]

Milestones include:

  • 7 August 2010: Saturday Morning the 2 millionth image was submitted.[11]
  • 15 October 2008: Millionth image[5]
  • 8 April 2008: 750,000 images[12]
  • 13 March 2008: Two-thirds coverage of entire British Isles[12]
  • 25 July 2007: 500,000 images[13]
  • 25 June 2007: 75% coverage of Great Britain[14]
  • 30 May 2007: 10% coverage of Ireland[12]
  • 5 March 2007: 50% coverage of entire British Isles[12]
  • 3 October 2006: 250,000 images[15]
  • 17 August 2006: 50% coverage of Great Britain[16]
  • 1 March 2006: 25% coverage of entire British Isles[17]
  • 21 December 2005: 25% coverage of Great Britain[12]


The Geograph site was awarded the Yahoo (UK & Ireland) Travel Find of the Year 2006.[18]

First Geograph Conference

On Wednesday 17 February 2010, Geograph British Isles organised its first conference for contributors to the project. About 80 contributors attended to discuss the project in both plenary and breakout sessions.[19] The event was hosted by Geograph's sponsor, Ordnance Survey.[20] It took place at the Ordnance Survey head office at Romsey near Southampton and was reported by geography-related media.[21][22]

Long term archival

The site has been selected for long term web archiving by the British Library in their UK Web Archive.[23]

Sister projects

In 2009, a sister project, Geograph Deutschland was launched, covering Germany.[24] Geograph Ireland currently co-exists with Geograph British Isles, but may split into a separate project.[25] Geograph Channel Islands covers the Channel Islands.[26]

See also


  1. ^ Official website
  2. ^ a b c Hawgood D. Geograph or supplemental (June 2007) (accessed 13 March 2008)
  3. ^ Geograph: Overview Statistics for Geograph British Isles (accessed 27 January 2009)
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Moore, Matthew (27 December 2008). "Modern Domesday book' builds photo archive of UK". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-12-27. 
  6. ^ Geograph Forums: Geograph of the Year 2008 - Final (accessed 27 January 2009) (Registration required)
  7. ^ Geograph Forums: GotY 2007 - The Final three! (accessed 7 February 2008) (Registration required)
  8. ^ Geograph Forums: Geograph of the Year 2006 (accessed 19 August 2007) (Registration required)
  9. ^ Stats July 2010
  10. ^ Geograph: Progress So Far (accessed 27 January 2009)
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b c d e Geograph Forums: Antici - - - - pation! (accessed 14 April 2008) (Registration required)
  13. ^ Geograph Forums: Half a million images (accessed 19 August 2007) (Registration required)
  14. ^ Geograph Forums: 75% of Great Britain Complete (accessed 19 August 2007) (Registration required)
  15. ^ Geograph Forums: A quarter of a million images! (accessed 19 August 2007) (Registration required)
  16. ^ Geograph Forums: 50% of Great Britain completed (accessed 19 August 2007) (Registration required)
  17. ^ Geograph Forums: 25% Total Coverage (accessed 19 August 2007) (Registration required)
  18. ^ Yahoo: Travel Find of the Year 2006: Geograph (accessed 19 August 2007)
  19. ^ [1]Geograph website forum passim (Registration required) (accessed 26 February 2010)
  20. ^ [2] Ordnance Survey press release (accessed 26 February 2010)
  21. ^ [3]SpatialNews website (accessed 26 February 2010)
  22. ^ [4]Ordnance Survey press release (accessed 26 February 2010)
  23. ^ Geograph British Isles in UK Web Archive (accessed 26 February 2010)
  24. ^ Geograph Germany website
  25. ^ "Welcome to Geograph Ireland". Geograph. Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  26. ^ "Welcome to Geograph Channel Islands". Geograph. Retrieved 28 May 2010. 

External links



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