Thank you for your willingness to contribute to Picture Pile. This document aims to provide you with adequate information on the data we receive from you, how we process it, and what we make available to the public in order to comply with the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Our platform

The app you are using has been developed by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Schlossplatz 1, 2361 Laxenburg, Austria. The platform is part of IIASA, and consists of different websites and apps that share a common infrastructure, primarily operated and maintained by the Center for Earth Observation and Citizen Science of IIASA in Laxenburg, Austria. is also part of the LandSense federation and engagement platform, which is mainly used for promoting citizen science project and campaigns via the contributing platforms and sharing outcomes of past campaigns.

What is personal data?

“Personal data” means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person, such as their name, contact information, their location at a certain time or IP address.

Data processed by us

We are a scientific institute and process personal data for a scientific study on the changes in our landscape and their effects on the environment. We process personal data:

  • for which you have given us consent for a specific purpose (Art. 6 para 1 lit a GDPR), namely for the conduction of this scientific study
  • that is necessary for the performance of a contract (Art. 6 para 1 lit b GDPR), e.g. PayPal data to transfer rewards
  • that is necessary for the performance of a task carried out (Art. 6 para 1 lit e GDPR), namely for the conduction of this scientific study; that is necessary for the purpose of the legitimate interests pursued by us or by a third party (Art. 6 para 1 litf GDPR), e.g. avoiding legal disputes about rights in the contributions. If possible, we seek the explicit consent to the processing of data, in particular the disclosure to third parties (Art. 6 para. 1 lit. a GDPR). Below is a list of types of data the app collects. Please note that a copy of the data might be briefly stored in the server's memory for a short period. This data is temporarily stored apart from the database, managed and deleted automatically by the server's operating system and will not be accessed by us for processing, archiving, or any other reason. It is also possible through logging errors or general requests that submitted data be stored in one of the server's log files. These files are not publicly accessible and are not used for any processing, storage or data publication other than for resolving a possible software problem. These are technical necessities over which we have no control.

Registration/Login/Profile Update

We process the following data for registration, login and profile updates for a given user, all of which is stored on the platform:

  • Email address
  • User password (encrypted)
  • User name
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Hometown
  • Additional attributes provided by user (biological gender, profession)

None of this information will be part of any publication (e.g. data product, scientific publication etc). For publications, a technical procedure (hash) will be used on the user's id to preserve data regarding which contributions were made by the same person. This hash does not allow for the calculation or retrieval of the original user id.

Log Data

Whenever you use our service, we collect Log Data, or data and information (also through third party products) on your phone to identify errors in the app. Log Data may include information such as your device Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, device name, operating system version, the configuration of the app when utilizing our Service, the time and date of your use of the service, and other statistics. This data is used for identifying problems with our software and will not be published as part of the resulting data product.


We use first party cookies to provide essential site functionality. Cookies are small text files that are saved by your browser and temporarily stored on your device. Provided that you have consented to the use of cookies, our website uses Google Analytics, a web analysis service of Google LLC. (“Google”). Google Analytics uses cookies to help understand how the website is being used. In order to do so, information about your visit, including parts of your IP Address, may be transmitted, stored and processed on a Google server in the USA or another non-EU state. You can also prevent the placement of cookies through the settings of your browser or by downloading and installing the browser plug-in.

Image Classifications

When doing an image classification, the app accesses and processes the data you collected, and some additional information we use for assessing the quality of your contribution and for reproducing technical problems in case of an error. The following data is sent to the server and stored:

  • Email
  • Encrypted password
  • Image ID
  • Device and app information:
    • Identification of Picture Pile app
    • Version of Picture Pile app
    • Smartphone operating system and version
    • Device name (brand and model)
    • Device serial number
  • ID for the classification answer
  • Duration needed for doing the classification
  • Time and date when the classification was made

Data storage

The Picture Pile website and its service are run on state-of-the-art web service environments hosted on rented servers at Hetzner Online GmbH, Industriestrasse 25, 91710 Gunzenhausen, Germany. We do not provide any means to access data for the hosting company other than the ways intended for every user. The environment is set up such that we restrict access to the database strictly to our trusted network and through APIs that let us choose exactly which data is accessible to which users.

Regarding the use of cookies, please see above. Information about your visit, including parts of your IP Address, may be transmitted, stored and processed on a Google server in the USA or another non-EU state.

Data contributions

Please be aware that we rely on you to contribute data, which does not infringe on the rights of others. Make sure you follow the instructions for the campaign/project to which you contribute, and do not submit data that could violate especially personal rights, copyright or other legislation. By contributing data, you provide us with the information requested in the app/website, but we usually also collect additional data that allows us to trace technical problems and verify the quality of the contribution. Please see the details above. By contributing data, you grant IIASA a license to use this data. Please see also our Terms of Use .

Third parties

Please note that we may employ the following third-party companies to facilitate our service:

  • Google LLC;
  • Hetzner Online GmbH.
These companies will have access to your data in order to perform the tasks we assign to them, as described above. However, they are obligated to not disclose or use the information for any other purpose.

Rights of the user

At any time, you have the right

  • to request information as to which of your data we process (Art. 15 GDPR),
  • to request the rectification or erasure of your data (Art. 16 and Art. 17 GDPR),.
  • to restrict the processing of your data (Art. 18 GDPR),
  • to request the transmission of your data (Art. 20 GDPR);
  • to file a complaint with a supervisory authority, in particular the Austrian data protection authority ( or the data protection authority at your place of residence.
These companies will have access to your data in order to perform the tasks we assign to them, as described above. However, they are obligated to not disclose or use the information for any other purpose.

You can instruct us to stop processing your data at any time using the contact data below. Even if you have agreed to the processing of data in the past, you can revoke such consent at any time (Art. 21 GDPR).

Should you have questions concerning your personal data, please contact us using the contact information below.

Third party apps and websites

Our app and/or website may contain links to other websites. If you click on a third-party link, you will be directed to that site. Please note that these external sites are not operated by us and we do not have any control, nor assume any responsibility for their content, privacy policies or practices.

We therefore strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of those websites.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or suggestions about our Privacy Policy, do not hesitate to contact us:

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria.

Tel: + 43 2236 807 0


Subscribe to our newsletter

The latest news, articles, and resources, sent to your inbox.


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 966721)

© 2023 IIASA. All rights reserved.