Creating places appropriate?

Are there any guidelines for when it is appropriate / allowed to create places? I would like to subscribe to findings from a few natural areas near me, but as far as I can tell the existing ‘interesting places’ created on the map are mostly larger nature reserves and other official areas. Therefore I wonder when it is ok to create a place? Is it only meant for larger projects or is it ok to create a place just to be able to subscribe to findings for a small interesting site?

I did already create relatively small places (like small protected sites ex.: on iNaturalist. This was not “just” for me but for our small community. So I think it is completely ok if you create such places, if they do not already exist.
At least I hope its ok :grinning:

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It’s definitely ok to create new Places where they don’t already exist. We had some problems early on with people creating multiple copies of gigantic places (whole continents) and it creates a lot of extra load on the servers. You currently need a minimum number of RG observations but I can’t find the blog post with the actual number.

If you have any problems while creating the place (page doesn’t load or error message) please check to see if the place was created before trying again. I’m pretty sure this is how we end up with many of the duplicates.

Found it here:

Thanks. I have already gone ahead and created a few places for small protected sites. No problems so far :smiley:

7 posts were split to a new topic: Issues creating a new place in Florida

I’ll ask this here instead of continuing the question I’d asked in Bugs. There are two towns with the same name in CA, both are in the database as points as it was explained to me there. In the past I saw a place that someone created but the boundary didn’t look correct (a park, as I recall). Since someone else created it, I couldn’t fix it. Are there existing “official” places like towns (i.e. not a user-defined place that doesn’t have an official border) that only staff can/should maintain, or is it that there was an original database and everything following that is user-created?

What I want to do right now is add a boundary to the town I’m interested in; I managed to find a city-created file in which the city was a smaller part which I could then get a kml from. Should I just create a new place?

There are what are called Standard Places, which in general are anything down to level 1 geographies, which means national borders and first level political divisions (provinces, states, departments or whatever they are called), as well as continent level definitions. These are only editable by iNat employees.

Anything finer in scope than this (cities, parks etc) fall into ‘Community Curated Places’. And these can be created and edited by all users, who have created a minimum number of observations. There are some restrictions to those editing abilities : kml must be less than 1mb in size (5mb for site curators), and must be less than about 500,000 square kilometers (or roughly the size of Texas). Most existing community curated places can be edited by all users, but some for some reason are locked.

If you have a precise map for a location that defines for example a city, in particular if there is already an attempt to create it that you can not edit, the best approach may be to reach out directly to and send them the kml file and ask them to integrate it. Anything to avoid duplication is a good approach.


A long time ago a bunch of place names were imported from Yahoo Maps (I think) as points so those town names are probably artifacts from that.
Curators can edit other people’s places and we can merge two existing places. If you contacted the creator of the existing place that has the incorrect boundaries and they haven’t replied, you can ask a curator to replace the boundary. You have to be careful that the place isn’t used as the boundary for a project though because that will mess up the project.

To be clear, there are plenty of non standard places that for some reason (that as far as I can tell no one has ever been able to determine why) that even curators can not edit.

Single point place that can not be edited
Single point place that can be edited

And the non editable one has no project or any other issue locking it.

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