Accuracy by place

This feature request has appeared in the forum already under other forms.
In both cases the request was dismissed as difficult to implement.
As I think this would be a quite useful feature to have I am here trying to propose a maybe simpler (not sure) implementation without the need to store custom made polygons for each input observation.
My issue with the accuracy circle is that I am not able to tell that my observations fall within the boundaries of an existing place (e.g. a National Park). I know I made my observation while walking in the park but do not recall where exactly.
As I see recording biodiversity lists for defined areas like National Parks or other administrative boundaries a quite cool application of iNaturalist I was wondering if it would be possible one day to have the choice to associate the accuracy of an observation to an existing iNat place.
Best regards!

iNat locations are not place dependent, they’re really about coordinates and an accuracy/precision circle. Are you uploading older photos that lack GPS data?

Yes of course otherwise the problem wouldn’t be there! Old and new photos without GPS data (potentially several 1000s of observations).

@frahome If I understand your request correctly, instead of specifying the observation “accuracy” using its point location and a distance radius around that point (creating a circle polygon), you are asking for the option to choose one of the existing places containing the observation point, to serve as its “accuracy polygon.”

If I have that right, I definitely understand the utility of being able to do something like that – at my regular job we do the same thing frequently when we don’t have any other information allowing us to further refine the location of a rare species.

That said, in iNaturalist, all places except the countries, state-equivalents, and county-equivalents are community-maintained. Which means that a site curator, or the creator of a place, can at any time revise a place boundary, or delete a place entirely. Changes like that don’t generate notifications, so you wouldn’t have a way to know that an observation needed to have its accuracy information reassessed, if the place you pointed to was deleted or changed.

Another consideration that staff would have to speak to is how much the current “accuracy” radius is used for spatial calculations in the background, and how much more complex or server-intensive those might become if fixed polygons were added to the mix.

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@jdmore Yes that is correct and yes those are some of the potential issues indeed!

I don’t think we’ll move forward with this, it would be a pretty big change to the way we record location data.

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