Geograph photo archive now accepting larger images

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windmills Geograph photo archive now accepting larger images

The Geograph website is a very useful archive of geolocated images througout the British Isles. You will find it linked to extensively through this site, and featured in thumbnails which are all made available via a Creative Commons licence. However one thing that has worried me about the site is the lost opportunity it represented - the images have long been restricted to just 640 pixels along their longest side. A photograph shows something at one moment in time - and part of the value of a large collection is being able to see how things looked at a particular time, and to compare that with views at a different time. With only small images being stored, much of the detail that these enthusiastic photographers had captured was being lost.

Of course there are competing issues here - one consideration is storage space, but that is so much cheaper now than when the project started. Another is the willingness of photographers to make their photos available to the project - many have been willing to do so for small images with the expectation that if someone wants a larger version it ought to be possible to contact the photographer to come to some arrangement. That's fine in theory, but over time the historical value of the archive is thereby dimished since it becomes hard if not impossible to contact the originator, and so we tantalisingly know that a higher quality image did exist, but cannot be located.

I'm pleased to note that Geograph have just begun accepting larger images into the archive for those photographers who are willing to provide them. Not everyone will, and I can understand the desire to keep back some of their best images, but I'm sure that we will see increasing numbers of larger "everyday" shots, which to my mind are the key value of this archive. If it's a famous landmark, then there will be loads of possible sources to get a quality image of it - it it's otherwise unremarkable then this archive is the place to find it, and many more people are happy to share their shots of (maybe special to them), but otherwise unremarkable places.

And to bring this back on topic, there is a great set of photos of Wimbledon windmill in the snow which have just been uploaded, which take advantage of this ability to upload larger images. You can't quite read the full text of the Baden Powell plaque above the door - but you can read the "Windmill Museum" sign below it! photo 1, photo 2, photo 3, photo 4 Mills: [Wimbledon Common] Tags: [geograph]
Item: #749, Posted: 14/1/10.

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