A few questions

Is it safe to Identify the locations of Rhinoceroses? Surely showing the location may attract poachers. And what about other similarly at-risk animals?

Is it advised to use the (estimated) location of the identified organism or the location of the observing tool (e.g. the camera or microphone)?

Is it not worth adding the option of how many observations were recorded? E.g. Whether only one organism or a group or a swarm.

I started a topic asking this very question a while ago: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/when-photographing-very-distant-organisms-what-should-i-mark-the-location-as/2120

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All 4 rhino genera are automatically obscured when an observation is entered, so their true locations are not revealed. You should if concerned try to take other steps in your entries (if you wish send me a private message for hints, I’m not going to post them here) to further conceal the locations. Many, but not all other at risk species are automatically obscured.

In most cases, the difference is not worth worrying about, if your photos are getting geolocated automatically with the camera location, that is fine.

Technically, every record in iNat is for one individual only, and you will get plenty of feedback the site is not designed for tracking counts. If you wish to do so, it is fine however, there are many observation fields that can track it, the most commonly used one is likely the one simply called ‘count’


I would say try not to identify the locations of at-risk creatures. You can obscure the location, which is what I’d recommend doing, or set the observation radius to a large area, like a country, or if it’s a large country, like the US, a state would work just as well.


Here is an example

iNat marks it as near threatened and obscures the location.

I don’t think there’s any reason to do this ever, given that the obscuring functionality exists?


Well, if you set the location radius too small and obscure, it’s relatively obvious to anyone who looks where the creature was seen.


When there is obscuration, the small radius (visible only to the observer) doesn’t matter though.


Oh, okay. That makes more sense.


How important is the location and its accuracy in when the data becomes research grade.
How can we protect our photos from being taken/copied by other.
If several people observe one individual organism at the same time and location and identify this, will this not mess up the data once uploaded to the Global Biodiversity Index.

You cant do anything more here to protect your photos than on other internet sites. You can release them under a license that permits use or fully retain all rights legally. But if someone knowingly or otherwise chooses to ignore that, they can take the content just like on any other site. Realistically in the web if you want to 100 percent want to ensure it can not be taken, then dont post it.

Yes multiple people posting the same item can skew data, but the site owners will tell you the site is not meant for tracking abundance. Inaturalist is for individuals to record their personal interactions with nature and if more than 1 person encounters the same thing, that is not a bad thing. There have been requests to set up shared observations so the same encounter can be ‘credited’ to multiple observers, there is an open feature request for it (I believe it actually has the top number of votes among all feature requests), but the site has been clear they did not want to implement this.

The same problem exists between sites too, plenty of people for instance have both an inat and ebird account both of which will end up in gbif.

Can you clarify what you mean by your first question.


You can also protect your photos by using a watermark.
Similar to locking the house / car. A deterrent, but not absolutely effective.

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If the accuracy of the location is very large, is this useful in terms of research?

I would say that is more a question for the individual researcher to answer on their own. Depending on the researcher, the species, the location etc, there can be varied answers.


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