Panoramas and Photospheres on Geograph

Published: 14 March 2020


We have recently introduced more specialist support for Wide Angle Panoramas, including full 360 degree panoramas and even photospheres (full spherical).

Because viewing very wide angle photos in small or thumbnail form, we propose that 'crop' from the image is used as the main image, and the full wideangle photosphere added as an additional image via the 'Upload Larger Image'. These means the crop/thumbnail will show in search results where, but the user will still be able to view the full panorama.

We dedicated viewer for the larger image, in particular for 360 degree images and photospheres so can view in a rotatable interactive viewer (which shows the image in a natural projection).

For images with the special prefixed [panorama:...] tag, a link to the viewer will automatically included on the photo page.


Thumbnail of Dedicated Crop :: Example Raw Panorama :: Screenshot of a Dedicated Viewer
:: ::
To show how the crop is only a small part of the full panorama, and the dedicated viewer which allows the viewer to rotate and zoom in to see any view.

Part 1, Uploading Cropped Panorama

We don't have native support (hopefully coming soon!) for creating the thumbnail automatically, so to upload a panorama, first prepare a cropped version, such that it looks kinda like a normal aspect ratio photo.
This should be at least 640px wide. (as that is size will use on photo page)

... then firstly upload this cropped version as normal. Give it a title/etc, but also please add a special prefixed tag (prefixed tags have a word followed by colon, then the actual tag), supported tags below; which will help ensure we can display the normal aspect ratio image, and provide the full viewer for downloading/viewing the full panorama.

For locating the panorama, of course use the camera location for the 'Camera Position' field, but of course for wide angle photos (even 360 degree images) then the subject is harder. For full 360, suggest just repeating the location in Subject box, or if its very wide angle and shows lots of squares (not just the camera square), just put the 4figure gridref (like SK2583) as subject, to show it subject of square, but not focusing on exact subject location.
Alternatively, and particularly for just slightly wide angle (eg under three or four normal camera widths), then pick a subject, and then use its location, also set the 'View Direction field' approximately.

Part 2, Uploading Full Panorama

After the initial submission has completed, then separately upload the full resolution image.

Goto the 'Image Edit page' (eg click 'Change Image Details') and select 'Upload a larger version' (or maybe 'Upload another large version' if the initial upload was >640px). And upload the full panorama file.

Note we do have a file size limit of 8Mb, so may have to resize the before upload (note at this time the submission process does not proactively downsize images to get under 8mb)

However we have a practical limit of about 12,000px wide, if you have a larger than 8Mb and/or wider than 12,000px to upload, please contact

Supported tags


TF0133 : Church of St Nicholas: Panorama of interior by Bob Harvey
A full 360 degree and spherical image. Upload a full equirectangular image, with image ratio 2:1. We will attempt to provide a special viewer to assist the user to view the image.

Ideally for 'crop' thumbnail produce it in standard view, eg take a screenshot from a viewer, not just a direct crop of the equirectangular image (as looks distorted in normal viewing.

A equirectangular image looks something like this: Link and rendered in a interactive viewer: Link


TF1017 : 360 degree by the Car Dyke by Bob Harvey
A extreme wide angle and fully circular image, but not a full sphere (i.e. missing top/bottom)

We hope to display these in a rotating viewer, assuming the mage is a Cylindrical projection image

An example 360 degree image: Link and rendered in a interactive viewer: Link

Note: Can also define the vertical field of view by adding a [vfov:...] tag, see below. (defaults to setting it based aspect ratio of the image).


TQ7381 : Shell Haven East Site panorama, 1967 by Robin Webster
A wide image, but not fully 360 degree. Where the image is so wide it doesn't look natural viewing as a single image.

Again create a crop to upload initially, and upload the wide version as an add on.

We may have a viewer that can try re-project these naturally, but at least will have a interactive zoomable version so can zoom in to see the detail (the detail often isn't visible in small images)

Example: Link and rendered in a interactive viewer: Link

Note: Can also define the horizontal (and vertical) field of view by adding a [hfov:...] and/or [vfov:...] tag(s), to the image, see below


- Sets the panorama’s horizontal angle of view, in degrees. Defaults to 120 degrees, for 'wideangle' panos. 360 for [360] images and full [photosphere]s.


- Sets the panorama’s vertical angle of view, in degrees. Defaults to setting it based on horizontal width, and the aspect ratio of the image - i.e. uses the same ratio between width/height and hfov/vfov.


Set the offset, in degrees, of the center of the panorama from North. To allow a compass be displayed in the Pano Image viewer.

Can be used with any of the three modes. Note that [panorama:photosphere] may automatically display a compass if the XMP Sphere Metedata includes a heading value, if that heading is wrong can be overridden with [panodirection:...]

Creative Commons License Text by Barry Hunter, March 2020 ; This work is dedicated to the Public Domain.
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