There have been a number of posts regarding the importance of providing the location accuracy, but none on what to if it is missing. This posting explains how I was able to use “Batch Update” to specify an accuracy for a large number of my observations. The discussion is aimed at those who know how to create an “Export” in iNaturalist, and how to do a “Batch Update”. Some elementary spreadsheeting skills are also assumed.
There are four steps:-
- Using “Your Observations” to check if there is a problem.
- Exporting observations.
- Processing the spreadsheet.
- Batch update.
1. Using “Your Observations”
As Tony Rebelo has pointed out above, one can see all observations with no location accuracy by appending “&acc=false” to a query made in “Your Observations”, for example.
If they are few it is easy enough to update them one at a time. If there are many that is far too tedious and you need to generate a report via the export screen.
2. Exporting Observations.
This is only available from the command line. Use the URL below to get to the export page as there is no UI to get there
This is the “Query” I used (you may change the name to your own) when the Export Observations page came up.
Alas “acc=false” does not work here, but fear not there is a work around.
Generate an export anyway, and I choose to export the fields id, observed_on, positional_accuracy and scientific_name, and “Download” the spreadsheet.
3. Processing the spreadsheet.
Open the resultant spreadsheet (CSV) and sort it by “positional_accuracy”. (if you have tens of thousands you may have to do it in batch of a year at a time say). The cells are blank where no positional_accuracy has been specified, and will all be together as a result of the sort. Here is an excerpt of a query I ran on Tony’s list.
|24135728||2019-04-27||Ardea cinerea cinerea||24135728,|
The fifth column was added to the speadsheet by concatenating a comma to the “id”, for example A2&",". Great, now we a ready do do a batch update.
4. Batch Update
Go to “Edit observations” (drop down list at top right in iNaturalist screen next to your picture).
- Select “Batch Edit”.
- Select one observation (on the check box is on the left).
- Select “Edit selected”, and look at resultant URL as in this example https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/edit/batch?o=41911705.
- Now you can replace that single observation with a list copied from the “with comma” column. Experience shows that a maximum of 50 is practically achievable at a time. So you should see something like www.inaturalist.org/observations/edit/batch?o=24135677, 24135683, 24135689, 24135697,24135699, 24135703, 24135714, 24135715, 24135724, 24135728, 24228490, 24228493, 24228495,2 4228496, 24228498, 24228501, 24228508,
- You should see those observations and verify they do not have a location accuracy, i.e. Acc (m) is just blank.
- Select “Batch Operations” and specify your desired location accuracy. (I did 10m).
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Save All”.
One of three things can happen.
- Observation(s) was successfully updated. . Hooray we are there.
- You get a “504 Gateway Time-out”. Go back to the previous page and resubmit the URL. You should be able to see if the location accuracy has been up dated. If so “Hooray we are there.”
- Otherwise set the accuracy again and re apply. It might work this time. Otherwise choose a smaller batch and /or come back tomorrow.
Big schlep. You bet, but it can be done. Hopefully better, less finicky, less nerdy and more robust methods will be provided in future from the Batch Update Screen.
Thanks to Tony Rebelo who drew my attention to this problem.