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Image policy

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Image policy

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This policy explains how we use images (and, to some extent, other media) on Wikitravel Shared and the Wikitravel sites.

Copyleft license[edit]

All images on Wikitravel Shared and the Wikitravel sites must be licensed in a way which is compatible with the copyleft license, or must be in the public domain. See also the copyright details for more information.

Image formats[edit]

Images should be in one of the following formats:

  • JPEG - for photographs
  • PNG - for text, maps, or computer-generated images
  • SVG - for source of maps or other diagrams

The GIF format should not be used, since it is technically inferior to PNG, which has about the same purpose.

Diagrams and maps should also have a vector-format source file. We prefer SVG, but other vector formats (Adobe Illustrator, PostScript) are better than nothing.

Image information[edit]

The image information (the text entered in the "summary" field) should be in English. Additional descriptions in other languages are welcome, but they should be tagged with the appropriate template to indicate which language is in question.


The "Summary" field should contain the following information:

  • Where the image came from - whether it was your own work, or if you found it on a web site with free images
    • Please link web sites where appropriate, but be sure to link the page on which the image appears; a direct link to the image itself is not very helpful!
  • Image description
  • Where the image/photo was taken
  • Who took/created the image
  • When the image was taken/created
  • Copyright information on images should be added to image pages. Images without copyright information are assumed to be available under the default Wikitravel license, the CC by-sa 3.0, however Wikitravel Shared has special templates for this - use them.

Minimal use of images[edit]

Travellers may be using Wikitravel from networks with very low bandwidth. In some countries, an Internet café with 10 computers connected to a single 56k modem is fairly common, even travelers in developed countries can often be limited to 10k mobile GPRS access.

This doesn't mean no images, just no more images than are necessary to make the article beautiful and informative.

Image use in articles should be kept at the minimum necessary to get across a point or impression.

Please use thumbnails unless you have a good reason not to:
  • "[[File:Name|thumb|alt=Alt|Caption]]"

This way, the display size of images can be enlarged if the reader clicks on the lower right corner of the thumbnail.

The other details are optional, if you have a good reason to change the default, and can be placed in any order:

"thumb" (or "thumbnail"; either can be followed by "=filename"), "frame" (or "framed"), or "frameless". Display the image with specific formatting.
frameless is a bit like "thumb", but means both the visible caption and the box around the image are left out. Another way to put it, is that this is like specifying no type at all, except that the default size is that of a thumbnail and the "upright" option also works (see Wikipedia article for details).
"border". Put a small border around the image.
"right", "left", "center" or "none". Determine the horizontal placement of the image on the page. This defaults to "right" for thumbnails.
"baseline", "middle", "sub", "super", "text-top", "text-bottom", "top", or "bottom". Vertically align the image with respect to adjacent text. This defaults to "middle".
"Widthpx" or "xHeightpx" or "WidthxHeightpx" or "upright" or "upright=Factor". Scale the image to be no greater than the given width and/or height, keeping its aspect ratio. With "upright", scale a thumbnail from its default size by the given factor (default 0.75), rounding the result to the nearest multiple of 10 pixels. Size is disabled when the image is 'framed'. A factor of 1.3 is often about right for a landscape orientated lead image and 1.7 is often a good choice for maps.
Link the image to a different resource, or to nothing. Must not be set for non-public domain images unless attribution is provided in some other fashion.
Specify the alt text for the image. This is intended for visually impaired readers. See WP:ALT for how this should typically differ from the caption.
Specify the image's caption. This is visible only if "frame" or "thumb" attribute is used, but may be displayed on mouseover in other cases.

It does not matter whether the file is from Wikimedia Commons or hosted locally; the same syntax is used.

Internal images[edit]

Images used in Wikitravel articles should be uploaded to Wikitravel Shared. External images should not be used. Also, avoid linking to external image pages since the reader may find it annoying to jump from site to site in search of images only.

Using Wikimedia images[edit]

Images from the Wikimedia Commons or Wikipedia are often usable in Wikitravel as well, but there are a few restrictions.

  • Images licensed as public domain or under any version of Creative Commons Attribution or Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licenses (cc-by or cc-by-sa) are compatible with Wikitravel and can be uploaded.
  • Images licensed under any version of the GFDL are not compatible with Wikitravel unless they are also multi-licensed under a CC license.

As of June 2012 you can link images directly from commons simply by including the file name as if the image was included locally; you should not re-upload the file to Wikitravel.

Image sizes[edit]

Uploading high-quality source images is encouraged. Images should be less than 4Mb total size, and preferably less than 2Mb. There is a hard limit of 64Mb on uploads to, with the goal of allowing large SVG map files in mind.

Please use thumbnails unless you have a good reason not to. That way, the display size of images can be enlarged if the reader clicks on the lower right corner. If you have a good reason to change the default display size of the image, see en:Wikitravel:How to add an image#Sizing for details.

Pixel dimensions should be 1536x2048 (3 megapixels) or smaller, as this is enough for a 6"x4.5" print at 300 DPI (half a guidebook page).

Image file names[edit]

Image file names should be somewhat meaningful. Many digital cameras give images names like "IMG00001.JPG". You should try to rename these files to something like "cathedral_in_cologne.jpg", or "spanish_steps.jpg", etc. Use descriptive names with full words and underscores ("_") between the words.

This makes it easier for other people to include the image in articles, and it keeps Wikitravel Shared from having name clashes.

Do not include the image size in the file name.


Wikitravel does not use montages, or really any type of image other than maps or simple photography.

Photos of businesses[edit]

As a general rule, photos of individual businesses, especially those seen to be promotional, will be deleted.

Exceptions include images that are meant to be illustrative of the type of business establishment in a certain region, or those of exceptionally famous establishments. See also en:Wikitravel:Don't tout.

No watermarks[edit]

Watermarks are a form of self-promotion and protection against copyright infringement. The former has no place on Wikitravel and the latter is unnecessary where one has already uploaded to a CC/SA website. No watermarks.

People in photos[edit]

Removing people from photos

  • By using a tripod and a long exposure it is possible to take photos of areas with lots of people traffic without any of the people appearing in your photo. People generally move around and do not stay in the same place long enough to register on a long exposure photo.
  • An alternative to the long exposure technique (although you'll still need a tripod) is to take multiple shorts of the same scene and combine them afterward with some image manipulating software. Again, since people tend to move around, multiple shots will contain the complete scene. Select the photo that contains the least people and copy and paste portions without people from the other photos over the people in the photo you are working with.

In general, photos of people will be removed from Wikitravel. There are two reasons for this policy:

  1. A photo of the Taj Mahal is useful for travellers; a photo of your girlfriend in a funny hat standing in front of the Taj Mahal is not. In general, we don't really want pictures of travellers or other people in Wikitravel. Some exceptions might be for particular sports or activities or crowd scenes or illustrating some costume or uniform.
  2. In the United States and elsewhere human beings have privacy rights, that is, a right to control the use of their own image, even if they didn't create the image. Image creators need to get authorization from human subjects of photos to publish the images. See for a description of why and when a model release is required. A general rule of thumb is that if an image contains a subject that is identifiable, a model release is needed.

However, in public spaces people give up a certain degree of privacy, which means that they can be photographed (and cannot stop the process). At Wikitravel, this is generally interpreted conservatively to mean that identifiable people in a picture should be peripheral to the picture content. For example, you can upload a picture of a crowded market or plaza, as long as you could take out or substitute any given person in it without materially affecting the picture.

Photo of yourself for user page[edit]

Another exception to this rule is a photo of the uploader that is used only on the uploader's user page. If you are uploading a photo of yourself and there are no other recognizable people in the image please put a comment on the image page indicating that the picture is of you, you are releasing it under the terms of the CC-SA license (or using the special Template:Copyrighted tag specifically for this purpose), and that it is for use on your user page.

Buildings and artworks in photos[edit]

Buildings and artworks like paintings and statues are copyrighted by the creator. However, in most countries, you are allowed to take pictures of them as long as they are on permanent public display, and license those photos for editorial and commercial use (including Wikitravel) without committing copyright infringement. Notable exception: while the United States allows photos of buildings, artworks installed after 1978 (or, if copyright was actively asserted, 1923) generally require permission.

Examples of acceptable photos that do not require permission:

  • Any building, public or private, photographed from a public space.
  • A statue on a public street.
  • A painting, fresco or map sign in a public park.

Examples of photo subjects that require explicit permission:

  • The interior of a private building, such as a shopping mall.
  • A sculpture by a living artist in a private museum.
  • A paper foldout map distributed by the tourist office.
  • A photograph that exactly reproduces another copyrighted photograph.

There are borderline areas: for example, the owners of the Eiffel Tower contend that while the tower itself can be photographed freely, pictures of its lighting at night require permission. Also, while you might legally be able to use pictures of artworks taken at a museum, museums may prohibit you from bringing cameras in.

See Wikimedia Commons: Freedom of panorama for an extensive discussion, including details of the law in many countries.

Other media[edit]

One of Wikitravel's goals is to have Wikitravel articles useful as printed pages. Use of other media files—like digital sound clips or video images—is therefore not allowed.