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Writer offers a captioning system that not only keep track of numbering but also allows you to use cross references that update automatically. On a given picture, Right click → Insert caption. You can overwrite the "category" to any value you want and then pick that value from the drop down menu for the next figure.

On Insert → Field → More fields → Cross reference you'll be able to select any figure caption just by picking it from the corresponding list and insert a reference by number, page, etc.