Geograph Britain and Ireland

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Geograph Britain and Ireland
Type of site
Photography website
Available inEnglish
OwnerGeograph Project Limited Edit this at Wikidata
RegistrationRequired for contributing photos
Users13,449 contributors as of 29 November 2021[1]
Launched6 March 2005 (18 years ago) (2005-03-06)
Current statusActive
Content license
The map browsing interface, showing thumbnail photos for each completed "geograph"

Geograph Britain and Ireland is a web-based project, begun 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 × 1 km (100 ha) grid square in the Ordnance Survey National Grid and the Irish national grid reference system.[2][3] There are 332,216 such grid squares containing at least some land or permanent structure (at low tide), of which 281,131 have Geographs.[4]

Geographs are being collected for all parts of Great Britain, Isle of Man and Ireland. The Channel Islands fall outside Britain's grid system, but may be geographed using their local UTM grid.

The project is sponsored by the Ordnance Survey, and extracts from the OS Landranger 1:50,000 scale maps illustrate the grid square pages. Geograph Project Limited is a charity registered in England and Wales,[5] and the name Geograph is trademarked.[6]


Photographs can be contributed by any registered user, although they must be approved by a panel of moderators before appearing on the website. The main aim of moderation is to make the site 'classroom ready' so that inappropriate images are rejected. 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 everyone an irrevocable licence to use their image(s); it is very difficult to get an image removed once it appears on the website. Default photo resolution is a 1024 pixels long edge, with a minimum of 640 pixels and options for higher resolutions to be made available.

The entire archive of images with RDF metadata is available for download via BitTorrent.[7]

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.[8] There is, however, no limit to the number of images per square, and some squares have over 1000 images.

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

Types of image[edit]

Typical rural geograph image
Typical urban geograph image
Typical wildlife supplemental image

Geograph images are classified by site moderators as:

  • Geograph – an image which usefully illustrates or characterises the area in which it was taken;
  • Accepted – an image which adds useful information about a square but which does not meet the requirements of a geograph; this includes close-ups, interiors, aerial shots, photos taken from outside the grid square, moveable objects that can't be shown on maps and silhouetted images;[2] this category has subcategories 'Close Look', 'Inside', 'Aerial', 'Cross Grid' and 'Extra';
  • Rejected – an image that does not meet the requirements of the Geograph Project.

There is a special classification of image that is known as a First Geograph – the first image uploaded of a particular grid square which meets the requirements to be a geograph. Contributors can also gain Second, Third and Fourth visitor points for each square, depending on how many other geographers have already submitted geographs to that square. The relevant date is when the photo was submitted, rather than taken.

A contributor gains a TPoint (Time-gap Point) by submitting a photo that was taken over five years after the most recent image for that square. A contributor can also gain a TPoint by submitting an historic photo to a square that was taken at least five years distant from any other photograph in the square.

The site also provides a count of the number of grid squares each contributor has photographed (Personal Points).

Some of the common themes for geograph photos include:


The 2,000,000th submitted image: Malvern Rise near Dover
1,000,000th image shows a minor road near Aberuchill

As of February 2024, the project had over 7.5 million photographs from over 13,800 contributors,[3] covering over 98% of Great Britain and over 47% of Ireland.[9] There were an average of 27 images per grid square.[10]

Milestones include:

  • 29 November 2021: The 7 millionth image was submitted
  • 17 January 2019: The 6 millionth image was submitted[11]
  • 5 July 2016: The 5 millionth image was submitted[12]
  • 9 June 2014: The 4 millionth image was submitted[13]
  • August 2012: 80% coverage of Great Britain & Ireland
  • 29 June 2012: The 3 millionth image was submitted[14]
  • 14 August 2010: The 2 millionth image was submitted[15]
  • 15 October 2008: Millionth image[8]
  • 8 April 2008: 750,000 images[16]
  • 13 March 2008: Two-thirds coverage of Great Britain & Ireland[16]
  • 25 July 2007: 500,000 images[17]
  • 25 June 2007: 75% coverage of Great Britain[18]
  • 30 May 2007: 10% coverage of Ireland[16]
  • 5 March 2007: 50% coverage of Great Britain & Ireland[16]
  • 3 October 2006: 250,000 images[19]
  • 17 August 2006: 50% coverage of Great Britain[20]
  • 1 March 2006: 25% coverage of Great Britain & Ireland[21]
  • 21 December 2005: 25% coverage of Great Britain[16]

Photograph of the Year competition[edit]

2011 winner by Mike Smith

A weekly competition runs in the members-only forums to select the Photograph of the Year (POTY) from photographs taken that week. Each week one of a panel of volunteer selectors chooses around 50 of the week's best photos. Last week's winner then picks their favourite photo from the 50. After the end of the year the weekly winners are voted on to decide the best photo of each month and overall winner.

The annual winners were;

  • 2015 "Sunrise at Ross Back Sands" by Ian Capper [22]
  • 2014 "North end of Mochrum Loch" by David Baird [23]
  • 2013 "Whiteout in Ninesprings" by Eugene Birchall [24]
  • 2012 "A slipway on Luing" by Walter Baxter.[25]
  • 2011 "Morning Walk" by Mike Smith.[26]
  • 2010 "The north ridge of Stob Ban" by Karl and Ali[27]
  • 2009 "Miners Hill" by Ian Slater.[28]
  • 2008 "Deer Fence on the Shank of Drumfollow" by Gwen and James Anderson.[29]
  • 2007 "Horsey Drainage Mill" by Rodney Burton.[30]
  • 2006 "Islands of mud, East Hoyle Bank" by Peter Craine.[31]


The Geograph site was awarded the Yahoo (UK & Ireland) Travel Find of the Year 2006.[32]

UK Wikimedian of the Year 2012 – Honourable Mention[33]

Geograph Conference[edit]

On 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 break-out sessions.[34] The event was hosted by Geograph's sponsor, Ordnance Survey.[35] It took place at the Ordnance Survey head office at Romsey near Southampton and was reported by geography-related media.[36][37]

On 4 April 2012 a second conference took place at The Circle in Sheffield. It took stock of where the project was at that time, as it neared 3 million submissions; and put forward potential solutions that could secure its financial future in the years ahead.

The third conference took place at The Edinburgh Training and Conference Venue on Saturday 8 June 2013. Subjects discussed included funding of the project, educational use of the images and the moderation procedures applied to contributors' submissions.

For the fourth conference, the venue was again Southampton, the Ordnance Survey's new headquarters building at Adanac Park, on 27 June 2014. Subjects discussed included the quality of submitted photographs and titles, the production of high-quality descriptions, local studies, as well as the funding of the project, educational use of the images and the moderation procedures applied to contributors' submissions as in 2013.

For the fifth conference, Geograph members gathered at Peterborough. On the Friday afternoon conference attendees visited a brickworks just outside the city. The conference itself was held at Peterborough Museum and included a talk on the geologist William Smith. Walks around the city centre and local waterways concluded the proceedings.

Tools and facilities[edit]

The site has a number of tools for making use of the photographs. Collectively known as Collections, the site front page now features a Collection of the week. The various techniques include (with examples):

  • Shared Descriptions, a simple method of grouping images by a common topic
  • Articles, a longer text-and-image article by one or more authors
  • Galleries, a forum-like mechanism where people list similar photos
  • Geotrips, where photographs, a GPS track file, and a written description combine to illustrate a day out or an expedition.

Contributors can choose to add meta-data to each image, in the form of Subject and Tags, to go along with the geo-tagging by location. All of this allows the use of a Browser to allow the relatively large archive to be searched. There are other methods of search, of course, ranging from Simple text search to tagged searches and complex searches.

Because of the geographic indexing of the pictures, it is possible to summon a page for an individual 1-km square. These square pages all provide a /link page which links to internal and external tools, such as a wide range of other mapping sites, and the various national historical artefacts databases.

The site has a lot of detailed statistics, but can also create personal profile and personal coverage maps. It started as a game, and many of the tools support personal achievement and goals.

Long term archival[edit]

The site's 5 million plus photographs[13] were selected for long term web archiving by the British Library in their UK Web Archive.[38]

Many photographs have been transferred to Wikimedia Commons, and the photos are used in thousands of Wikipedia articles.[39] About 1.8 million photos were transferred to Commons in 2010, but no further bulk transfers have been undertaken.[40][41] However, tools and advice for transferring are provided for each photo on its re-use page.

Sister projects[edit]

In 2009, a sister project, Geograph Deutschland was launched, covering Germany.[42] Geograph Ireland currently co-exists with Geograph Britain and Ireland, but may split into a separate project.[43] Geograph Channel Islands covers the Channel Islands.[44]

Mobile apps[edit]

There is an Android app named Geograph Alerts in the Google Play store which will track your current location and inform you if you enter a grid square which you have not yet photographed.[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Geograph". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Hawgood D. Geograph or supplemental (June 2007) (accessed 13 March 2008)
  3. ^ a b Bennett, Magnus (29 November 2021). "The 'map nerds' who are building a national archive". BBC Scotland News. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  4. ^ Geograph: Overview Statistics for Geograph British Isles (accessed 24 June 2014)
  5. ^ "Geograph Project Limited, registered charity no. 5023932". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  6. ^ About Geograph (accessed 25 June 2012)
  7. ^ "Geograph Torrents". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  8. ^ a b Moore, Matthew (27 December 2008). "Modern Domesday book' builds photo archive of UK". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2008.
  9. ^ "Overview Statistics for Geograph Britain and Ireland". Geograph. Retrieved 21 February 2024.
  10. ^ "Progress So far..." Geograph. Retrieved 21 February 2024.
  11. ^ "Lincoln Cathedral east end (C) Julian P Guffogg". Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  12. ^ "Megalithic wedge tomb (C) Antony Dixon". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Portland Arms Hotel, Galston (C) Leslie Barrie". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  14. ^ "St Andrew's church, Ogbourne St Andrew (C) David Purchase". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Fields south of Ketteringham Road (C) Evelyn Simak". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  16. ^ a b c d e Geograph Forums: Antici – - – - pation! (accessed 14 April 2008) (Registration required)
  17. ^ Geograph Forums: Half a million images (accessed 19 August 2007) (Registration required)
  18. ^ Geograph Forums: 75% of Great Britain Complete (accessed 19 August 2007) (Registration required)
  19. ^ Geograph Forums: A quarter of a million images! (accessed 19 August 2007) (Registration required)
  20. ^ Geograph Forums: 50% of Great Britain completed (accessed 19 August 2007) (Registration required)
  21. ^ Geograph Forums: 25% Total Coverage (accessed 19 August 2007) (Registration required)
  22. ^ PotY 2015 - Photo of the year - the winners (accessed 18 Feb 2016) (Registration required)
  23. ^ PotY 2014 - Monthly and Yearly Winners (accessed 19 Feb 2015) (Registration required)
  24. ^ Geograph Forums: PotY 2013 - Monthly Winners and Photograph of the Year (accessed 28 Jan 2014) (Registration required)
  25. ^ Geograph Forums: The thread of POTY & GOTY annual winners (accessed 6 June 2013) (Registration required)
  26. ^ Geograph Forums: PoTY 2011 – Monthly Winners – and Yearly Winner (accessed 22 June 2012) (Registration required)
  27. ^ Geograph Forums: PotY 2010 (accessed 22 June 2012) (Registration required)
  28. ^ Geograph Forums: Geograph of the Year – 2009 (accessed 22 June 2012) (Registration required)
  29. ^ Geograph Forums: Geograph of the Year 2008 – Final (accessed 27 January 2009) (Registration required)
  30. ^ Geograph Forums: GotY 2007 – The Final three! (accessed 7 February 2008) (Registration required)
  31. ^ Geograph Forums: Geograph of the Year 2006 (accessed 19 August 2007) (Registration required)
  32. ^ Yahoo: Travel Find of the Year 2006: Geograph (accessed 19 August 2007)
  33. ^ [1] (accessed 23 June 2012)
  34. ^ Geograph website forum passim (Registration required) (accessed 26 February 2010)
  35. ^ Ordnance Survey press release Archived 5 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 26 February 2010)
  36. ^ SpatialNews website Archived 11 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 26 February 2010)
  37. ^ Ordnance Survey press release Archived 1 March 2005 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 26 February 2010)
  38. ^ Geograph British Isles in UK Web Archive (accessed 26 February 2010)
  39. ^ "Category:Images from the Geograph British Isles project - Wikimedia Commons". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  40. ^ "Commons:Batch uploading/Geograph - Wikimedia Commons". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  41. ^ "Commons talk:Batch uploading/Geograph - Wikimedia Commons". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  42. ^ "Welcome to Geograph Deutschland" (in German). Geograph. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  43. ^ "Welcome to Geograph Ireland". Geograph. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
  44. ^ "Welcome to Geograph Channel Islands". Geograph. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  45. ^ "Geograph Alerts". Apps on Google Play. Retrieved 26 January 2021.

External links[edit]

Official website Edit this at Wikidata