Mapping data are modified for endangered species but the relevant explanations are not readily accessible.
Endangered = obscured locations = designed mislocalizations.
After some zooming in, mapping locations appear as obscured circles in iNaturalist maps, and in addition, they are mislocated relative to the true locations.
The observer looking at her/his own observation will see two locations - the wrong location as an obscured circle and the true location as an eyedrop.
And at low magnification, the observations appear as squares just like for non-endangered species, which may add to the confusion when one tries to figure out what is happening by modifying the zoom and other parameters.
In these situations, the observer will likely think of a bug and will waste quite some time for himself and for the moderators (this happened twice for me and the several poor moderators involved).
The viewer of other people’s observations will simply be misled. Now the purpose is to provide little usable data, but not to mislead people on their standard expectations. The former may be a reasonable choice, but it needs to be made clear for quality purposes, notably because mislocalization is not a normal feature of any kind of map (in a context like ours).
The required information is not readily available : to know that the “obscured” icons are not a bug, one needs to click the “Details” button and look at the bottom of the window. This is not easy to realize because the “Details” window does not contain any information of this sort (for non-endangered species). Furthermore, in order to know that “obscured” means “purposedly mislocated”, and that double locations are not a bug, one needs to go to the iNaturalist help page, as nothing is mentioned in the Details tab.
Hence the proposed feature request, which may take the form of a banner :
- which would be displayed near a map whenever a page with a map is opened for an endangered species,
- at any magnification, just upon opening the web page, and
- which would be closed by clicking on an “x” symbol as usual.
The text could sound like this : “Endangered : locations are modified ; see Details”
The “Details” tab should mention somewhere that the Help page will contain further explanations.
Here is a possible mock-up :