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CREDIT: Colin Balfour

By Degrees...

A new portrait of Great Britain

By Degrees was a project making landscape images at all the locations where lines of latitude and longitude intersect over land in the UK.


About this Project 

The aim of 'By Degrees' was to make landscape images at all the 45 locations where lines of latitude and longitude intersect in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. (There are no such intersections on the Isle of Man or Channel Islands). 

It was the hope that all 45 intersections would be photographed at least once even though some of them are in remote areas and many of them might not feature in the average landscape photographer’s list of top destinations! The point of the project was to photograph these places in as interesting or inspiring ways as possible. It was also hoped that members who live relatively close to the intersections, or who will be visiting anyway for work or leisure, would offer to participate rather than other members travelling significant distances to complete the project. Participants were asked to photograph as close as possible to their chosen intersection(s) whilst remaining within the law and without risking their personal safety.

All members of the landscape group and the wider RPS were invited to join in and participation was entirely free

Why we did it

It was mainly for fun!. The project’s main value was for the enjoyment by those who participated and those who will subsequently read about it and view the images. 

Outputs from the project

There were no limits on the number of members who could participate and all submitted images were featured on the By Degrees project Gallery page on the RPS Landscape Group website.  

The RPS Landscape Group published a special edition of its printed magazine featuring one image made at each location.  In cases where several images are submitted for one location, a single image was selected by the selection panel. 

View the image gallery here.


Our project team comprised: 

Landscape Group Vice Chair

Project manager

By Degrees was conceived when, being a bit of a map nerd, I found myself one day pondering the places where lines of latitude and longitude intersect. I had never knowingly been to such a place and so was intrigued to find out where was the closest to my home. Having located it – some 43 miles to the south – I then wondered where its next closest neighbours were. Perhaps inevitably, this led me to plotting all the intersections on a map of the UK and then considering the feasibility of photographing them all. I quickly realised that it would involve a huge amount of travelling and that it would be a daft idea to attempt it alone. But why not involve others? And so By Degrees was born.

Chair of the Landscape Distinctions Panel

Selection panel

In spite of the name, Joe Cornish is a North Yorkshire-based landscape photographer with a fine art background. He has written and photographed many books, including First Light: A Landscape Photographer’s Art, Scotland’s Coast and Scotland’s Mountains. He is an Honorary Fellow of the RPS.


President of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

Selection panel

Nigel was smitten by geography at school, thanks to inspirational teachers and field trips to the fells and rivers of the Lake District. He earned an MA in Geography from Cambridge University and an MBA from the University of Strathclyde. Alongside geography, Nigel is passionate about the arts, being a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Management Institute. For a number of years Nigel served as CEO of Ordnance Survey, where he led the transformation of Britain’s Geospatial Commission on behalf of the British government.

Arena photographers and brand ambassador for KASE Filters

Selection panel

Vanda is a semi-professional landscape photographer living in London. Her interest in photography was sparked in her teens and is now an inseparable part of her life. “I am passionate about capturing the world we live in, always searching for those fleeting moments of magic that transform it into something extraordinary”.

Vanda has been a Landscape Photographer of the Year judge for three years running. She regularly gives lectures at photographic clubs and events in the UK and abroad, hoping to inspire others to find their own style, to look beyond the obvious, and to find joy while doing so.

RPS President & Chair of Trustees

Selection panel

Simon has been taking photographs since he was three years old and joined the RPS and gained his LRPS while still at school. With over 30 years’ experience as a professional photographer, Simon’s work has been published in National Geographic Magazine, The Observer, The Sunday Times and many UK and European newspapers and journals. He is the first British winner of the Longford International Art Portrait Award, a former Kodak ‘Showcase’ Professional Photographer of the Year and, in 2019, was named BIPP Professional Photographer of the Year.

Commentary by Simon Hill, president of the RPS

This photographic project, By Degrees, was the inspiration of Mark Reeves FRPS and brought together the science of geography and the art of photography.  Geography and photography have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship from the very beginnings of photography and this project provided such a unique manifestation of that relationship. It was exciting to bring together colleagues from the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and from the Royal Photographic Society in support of this project and I hope it's the beginning of a long-lasting and mutually-beneficial relationship between these learned societies. And it was a pleasure to serve on the selection panel for the project along with landscape photographers Vanda Ralevska and Joe Cornish and President of the RGS, Nigel Clifford.

Landscape forms the bedrock, the very foundation, of our social and cultural existence. It connects us to our historical past, provides us with a sense of place, and it has shaped almost every aspect of our individual and collective lives over millennia. The peaks and valleys of diverse landscapes have such influence on our well-being and quality of life as they wash, like a river, a sense of spiritual renewal over each of us. There is perhaps little wonder, then, that the landscape has proved such an enduring inspiration for artists and photographers alike.

As humankind sought to move or migrate over the landscape, drawing ever more varied cultural influence from the landscapes through which it passed or in which it settled and had to defend, it became increasingly necessary to be able to map those journeys, to measure and confirm a precise location, and to define the physical boundaries of any ‘owned’ or conquered lands. 

In the third century BC, the polymath and founder of the science of geography, Eratosthenes of Cyrene (c276BC-194BCE), was the first to calculate the circumference of the Earth (which he achieved with incredible accuracy) and develop a precise method for calculating the obliquity (axial tilt) of the Earth. Using information from the campaigns of Alexander the Great (356-323BCE), Eratosthenes combined his geodesic measurements with his cartographic skills to draw an improved world map which, for the first time, incorporated parallels and meridians that derive from a knowledge of the Earth as a spherical, rather than a planar, form. 

The Eratosthenian Graticule of parallels and meridians forms the basis of the modern Geographic Coordinate System (GCS) which allows us to precisely measure and communicate (albeit independent of height or depth) the coordinates for any position on the surface of the Earth. The coordinates are quoted in terms of latitude  north (φ) or south of the Equator, and longitude (λ) east or west of the Prime Meridian that passes through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, London. Both coordinates are measured ‘by degrees’.

Simon Hill FRGS HonFRPS, RPS President & Chair of Trustees

If you have any queries about the project please contact project manager, Mark Reeves at