Privacy Statement CoastsnapNL

CoastSnap is a “citizen science” project, where we want to involve everyone with a smartphone in our coastal research. "We" in this case is the coastal research group of the Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University. The CoastSnap project has two aims: 1) To involve a wide audience in the collection of photos of the coast, from which we can extract valuable scientific information, and 2) to reach a wide audience with our research into the natural dynamics of the Dutch coast.

We collect and manage a lot of photos. This is how we deal with them:

  • After scanning the QR code on a CoastSnap pole, you are redirected to a web application from which the camera app on your smartphone is opened, after agreeing to the terms and conditions and pressing the “SNAP” button. After taking and approving the captured photo, it will be sent off. The photo is not saved on the smartphone.
  • The only data we store is the received photo file, the time the photo was received and the location of the relevant CoastSnap pole where the photo was taken. The location is associated with the scanned QR code that opens the web app. The time registration is necessary to be able to link the moment the photo was taken to the tidal water level.
  • We do not store any metadata (.EXIF files) associated with the submitted photo files. For example, we know nothing about the person who took the photo, the make and model of the smartphone. The file name of the photo is changed before the photo file is saved. For example, a photo received on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at 09:28 AM via the QR code of the CoastSnap Egmond pole looks like this: 1654680496000.Wednesday.June.08_09.28.16_2022.egmond.snap.jpg
  • Photos with recognizable people are permanently deleted from our database.
  • The received photos and the information obtained from them can be used for scientific publications, public lectures, social media posts and other publications.
  • After sending a photo file, it will be saved and processed on servers that are managed by Utrecht University. Only researchers with a verified login account have access to the photo files. The files are stored for as long as they are considered relevant for scientific purposes.
  • In the event that participants wish to have an uploaded photo removed, they can contact us via If we find a photo in our database that matches the given description (for example, description of the photo, CoastSnap location, time of submission), we can permanently remove the photo from our database. If no matching photo is found, we will not be able to accommodate the request for removal – in line with Article 11 of the EU GDPR.

Do you have further questions about privacy? Please contact us at, or the Data Protection Officer of Utrecht University at