Android App Not Saving Observation Properly

Reposting from the Google Group (this is the main thread I think: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/inaturalist/9CmPKI-noko), because it still happens regularly to me (on updated app version 1.11.11).

When creating observations with the Android App, sometimes one of the following will happen:

  • One observation on the app will convert to several on the website, where one has the photos, and another has all the other information (location, ID etc.)
  • Less commonly, some of the information will just be missing (e.g. the ID won’t save. I think this has also happened where e.g. location hasn’t saved for me, but I’m not 100% sure of that)

Sometimes the observation will still appear properly on the app (and any duplicates won’t show at all), or sometimes the app will show that it didn’t work properly. There is no way I’ve found to “repair” the observation, and the only way to fix is to delete all the offending observations and try again.

Unfortunately I still haven’t found a way to reproduce reliably. It does happen frequently, probably about 1 in 10 observations I make on the app.
What I’ve seen:

  • I think this ONLY happens if photos are chosen separately from the camera app, but not if the app itself is used to take a photo.
  • It may happen more on bad internet connections, but I’ve still had it happen when I’ve had good wifi
  • It may be more likely if you select a photo, and then go back to the gallery again to add another photo. But this is neither necessary or sufficient conditions, and maybe a red herring.
  • I think it happens more often on observations with more than one photo

I know admins were aware, posting to indicate that this is still happening and hoping that somebody has actually figured out what triggers it.

Here’s an example of one I never fixed, where three observations were created:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/17014390
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/17014345
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/17014344

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Unfortunately that’s where the iNat team is as well. I feel like the main issue seems to be having an unreliable internet connection but that’s not always the case. Thanks for making this issue @reuvenm. If anyone has more insights that would be really helpful.

I’ve noticed this happened with some of the Penang bioblitz student observations as well.

For anyone who experiences this, please send a log file from within the app ASAP to facilitate troubleshooting and replication.

Here’s how to send a log file from the Android app. It’s usually best to do this as soon as you experience an error:

Go to the Settings tab in the app and tap three times on the version number. You’ll then have the option to email the log file to us.

I have this problem all the time!

Pretty much any time I try to upload a handful of sightings via the Android app at least one of them will split into two entries with one containing the photos and the other holding the geographic data and notes. I just have to resign myself to the fact there’s going to be something to fix every batch. Its that frequent. And I’m uploading at home on strong wifi. Knowing I’ll always have to fix at least one observation is a real barrier to engagement, and its an even bigger barrier to uploading more photos per observation.

The problem (and frustration!) is compounded by the lack of a merge function in the batch edit. If I could just merge the two offending records the problem would be patched in seconds, but as it is I have to either edit one entry and delete the other or delete both and start over again- again a compounded problem because the data can appear to be correct in the app so I delete the photos off my phone, so making reupload difficult.

I have seen this happen in a project I admin too. Having brought the duplicate records to the users attention they were confused as it would seem things probs appear correct in app on their end (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20875905 and the orphan photo- https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20875896)

If devs can’t pinpoint and fix the app bug yet can we at least get a merge tool to repair our sightings with?

This has happened to me across two different Andriod phones (an S5 and an S8), and I keep the app up to date. Fingers crossed you will be able to solve soon! :)

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We’re working on a merge tool, please see this thread for our agenda. In the meantime, please send log files to help@inaturalist.org as soon as possible after you notice this.

I noticed that it is happening for this new user too - https://www.inaturalist.org/people/mitrajit

Still happening with mine as well. It will often save the first photo but not others, delete a location or time, or not save the ID. So frustrating.

Happens to me with every Observation. Sending app data as requested.
Process is to upload and add info. After upload I have Observation with photos (often extra copies of one image) but no info. And another (or two more) with info but no photos. Delete the one with photos. Upload the photos to the Obs with the info. Very tedious but easier in some ways than getting photos onto my laptop. I like almost everything better about the website.
Use Samsung phone on strong WiFi. Fetching images from Google Photos account.

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What are folks’ internet connections like when you upload these observations? Are you in the field and is the connection spotty?

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