Create and access pinned locations in apps

Hello,

I’ve done a quick search throughout the forums but I have not seen a topic quite like this one (I’ve seen topics in regards to IDing and Notification updates). But, I have noticed lately in the iNaturalist and Seek apps, that sometimes that you have to manually put in a location for observation. I would like to suggest having a “favorite location” save feature. For example, you know that you frequently take pictures near your home and work area (assuming you’re off work unless that is your work to take pictures for it, lol). So you could have it set to “Home” or “Work” if you know the general area of the photo.

I don’t know how hard that is to code though.

Hopefully, this hasn’t been brought up before, I did look but didn’t find anything too similar. I would like to see this (or some similar feature), added to the apps soon because that would make uploading the observations a little faster.

Bookworm86

@bookworm86 I edited your title slightly to specify the phone apps, since this functionality does already exist in the uploader on the web site.

For more discussion about the functionality on the web site, see this topic.

And for discussion about making pinned locations available for later edits (currently deferred), see this topic.

I too would very much like to see my favourite locations as I’ve set up on the website also made available in the app too. Seems a no-brainer to also port that part of your account from the website to the app? Its rather tedious trying to navigate the app map to a distant location (pinch, pinch, pinch, swipe, swipe, oops overshot, pinch, swipe back…) when I’m home on the wifi.

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Ok, ty.

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What is your app use sequence? Most of the time when I use it I don’t remap locations since creating the observation will add the location on its own (assuming you let the app access your location). I do sometimes have to remap samples I key out in a different place than collected and that is kinda a pain.

If you can’t or don’t want to use gps with the app, I don’t think there’s a lot of point in using the app if you have access to a desktop computer. Much easier to add and map from from there.

Remember too you can turn off the auto upload and you can obscure the location for privacy.

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Unfortunately phone almost always shows quite a different place from the one you really made an observation and you need to correct it hand it takes quite a bit of time), so it would be easier if the system worked for apps too.

Hmm, that’s odd. I’ve made so many observations with both android and iPhone app and it’s usually correct within 5-10 m. Do you have location services turned off?

@bookworm86 @amy_d @melodi_96 are you taking photos with your phone’s camera app and then importing those photos to iNaturalist? Are you allowing your camera app to access your phone’s location? Usually the only times I’ve seen photos not show any location or a wildly incorrect location are:

  • the camera app is not allowed to access your location, so no location info is recorded.
  • you open the camera app and take a photo before the camera app can get any location (this can take ten seconds or more, depending on cell coverage topography, etc), or can only get an imprecise location.
  • the location data is recorded in a format iNaturalist cannot read.
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  • I’m out in the field and take all the photos. GPS is on.
  • Go home and open the app on the wifi, start a new observation and add in the relevant photos.
  • Location field is blank so hit Location > edit location. Map pops up with the pin centred off the coast of west Africa (Greenwich meridian?).
  • I am in Western Australia, so hit the crosshairs icon to recentre the map on my current location at home then navigate (pinch, pinch, swipe lol) to the desired location in my state.

I will have a play with my location settings and see if that changes anything. However this also raises a new concern in my mind- with the way privacy, tracking and metdata retention civil rights are going these days many people have their phones locked down as much as possible just to try and ensure their basic privacy. iNat should make the saved locations feature available in the app so that users who wish to retain greater control over their location privacy don’t have to rely on their phones knowing everything about their movements.

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Yes, most of the time I’m taking the pictures with my regular camera on the iPhone.

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You might just try taking photos in the app. If that works for you, you’d get all the locations. Otherwise you can run another app like google earth that keeps the gps on, while you take the photos.

And yeah obviously there might be good reasons you might not want gps on but if you don’t use gps the app is a lot less useful than just using the website if you have a computer.

Oh yeah and turn off auto sync. Then you just upload stuff when you get home and it Doesn’t broadcast your location in real time.

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I try to have my gps and Internet on, but sometimes it’s impossible and no data is saved or it is saves, but weirdly (just today I changed one observation location that was like half of the country away from the spot it was showing automatically).

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I use the regular iPhone camera mainly out of habit. So, I’ll try to use the iNat camera instead.

I figured out the auto sync early on :smile_cat:.

Ty!

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I mean, I’m not opposed to the idea of saved locations on the app (though I doubt I’d use it) but I thought maybe another idea might help for now. Everyone uses the site differently. :)

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I made some examples of where the observations actually were made and what my smartphone sees as a proper place for geotagging.

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Thank you for your responses. A lot of this sounds to me like the photo was taken before the camera app could get a lock on your location. How quickly do you snap a photo once you open the camera app? Can you please email some of these photos to help@inaturalist.org?

I think in your case, although GPS is turned on, you might have to go to the phone/camera settings to specifically allow the camera app to access location data.
I had this case in my phone earlier, where my camera app didn’t have that permission. So in the field, after taking a photo, I either opened the iNat app and tapped ‘get current location’ or I uploaded them at home without locality and adjusted it on the website platform. Pinching and zooming in the app I find too cumbersome.
However, changing the settings, I have now location data when taking pictures and it works accurately.

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FWIW, we are going to start working on supporting Pinned Locations in the Android app in the next few weeks (along with Google searches for places within the location chooser). Unfortunately we don’t have any plans to do the same for the iPhone app (though we probably should), and we’ll probably never do it for Seek (if you’re using Seek to record iNat observations that much, you should probably just use the iNat app instead).

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Pinned locations would be great, but I would be happy with just the ability to search for a location in text.

My phone’s GPS likes to turn itself off randomly and it’s frustrating to have to like, Google to find general area the town I was in, then go back to the app to pinch/zoom until the town names show up, sometimes switching back and forth a few times.

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Looks like the beta version of the Android app now has the ability to create and access existing pinned locations if you want to try it out.