Android observation errors on slow internet

Platform: Android

App version number: multiple over the last 5+ years

Description of problem:
I’ve found that when using the app on slow internet lots of weird things happen. Most recently the app uploaded a single observation with a photo as 2 observations: 1 without a photo and 1 that contained only a photo (it’s still like that because I can’t figure out how to merge observations). In the past I’ve experienced many similar issues where I just don’t know what’s going to appear online. I gave up using the app for many years because of this. I’m not sure if this is related or not, but I’ve also used the iNat app’s AI bot to identify cultivated plants. I then think that I cancel the observation, but I often (not always) end up with blank observations on my account. I know this isn’t a clear explanation of a single, easily identifiable bug, but I suspect that it’s a common problem. If I weren’t a biologist with a strong interest in identifying species and in the importance of citizen science, I would’ve given up on iNat long ago because of how difficult it is to upload observations.

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I think this is a more widespread problem than is recognised. Many developing countries do not have up to date internet connections, so uploading may not be possible, or too expensive. This may limit the range of places where iNat is able to be used.

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Hi @filups. Are these the “split observation” you’re referring to?
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36786919
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36786938

I see that was uploaded back in December, so we may not be able to do much to track it down now. It may help to see a screenshot from the Android app of how it appears for you there (i.e. does it appear as one observation or two when you look at it in the app).

We’ve struggled with variations of this bug for a while now, but it’s really difficult to recreate. It always helps to know:
-What version of Android you’re running
-What version of the Android iNat app you’re running now
-If you can describe anything about your internet connection and/or behavior with the app (e.g. did you leave it open or use a different app while it was trying to upload in the background)
-As soon as you notice a bug like this, please send a log file by going to Settings then tapping 3 times on the version number (bottom of screen) and sending the file to help@inaturalist.org

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Housekeeping note: I edited the subject to clarify the issue at hand. Thanks for checking out the Forum @filups :-)

You can’t merge it, just save photos from one and delete it, then add to one with data.

It happens each 3-4 time when I upload stuff from smartphone, I thought it happened when you try to upload more than 1 observation at a time or when you close the app or just because it decided to do so. And yes, blank observations, if I choose the photo then close the app to find more info that I may need or any other reason there’s a big chance when I reopen it the image will be gone and I will start another observation just to find out the first one was uploaded with no data. Of course I delete it all right after it happens. I can’t say how good connection is, as it’s a mobile Internet, not the most stable thing and it can change at any moment.

@melodi_96 can you please send log files immediately when this happens, and don’t take the steps to delete the observations so that we have time to investigate? It sounds like you almost have replication conditions, which would be extremely helpful.

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This is quite common for me, so I thought it was a well-known widespread problem. As above, it happens to me when uploading more than one observation. Now I usually wait for each observation to load before adding a new one from my android phone. I’ll keep an eye out and let you know next time it happens!

I’m not sure how to do that and of course I can leave them.

Thanks @melodi_96. Here’s how

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Ok, and it happened right when I tried to upload 2 observationes at once, the second one didn’t duplicate, it uploaded one of 2, with photo but no data. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/38843973
I used wifi of my home Internet, so I don’t think it’s part of the problem.
p.s. the second one, with data was appeared now, 10 mins later.

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Thank you! I’ve passed the log files and observation URLs to our Android developer.

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This happens to me as well from time to time. I find that creating observations in quick succession seems to be related. Not sure whether data speed is related, but it could be.

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Do you have auto upload on? Are these photos that you’re importing from your gallery, or are you taking photos in the app?

I do not have auto-upload on. Almost certainly upload from gallery, I rarely use the in-app camera.

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This happens often to me too when using the Android app, usually when on mobile data or bad wifi.

If this does happen to you, please send log files from the app to help@inaturalist.org as soon as you can, as well as the URLs of the affected observations so we can investigate. And please don’t edit the observations.

To send a log file, go to the Settings tab in the app and tap three times on the version number. You will then have the option to email the log file to us.

How do I send a log file?
Just had a chance to report this but I already deleted the observation. Whoops!

I put instructions in my previous post. :-) When did you upload the observation?

Last when I uploaded a new observation I saw it split into two observations in my android app being uploaded but in the end I had only one observation on my android and on the web…

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Can I delete this additional observation now or I should wait?