Creating Places / Locations / Naming

Hi all,

I’m sure this question has been discussed here before, so please feel free to simply point me at the relevant discussion (I did look briefly, but didn’t find one).

I research macrofungi on California’s Channel Islands. I have an existing project summarizing observations of macrofungi on the Channel Islands.

However, what I’d really like is to make an Umbrella project that allows for comparisons of each island in the archipelago (this is kind of an ideal use-case for umbrella projects).

Problem is, some of the islands have a place_id assigned, while others don’t, or they are very oddly mapped.

For example, Santa Cruz Island is very neatly defined by: place_id=52322
Same goes for San Miguel, San Clemente, and San Nicolas.

Catalina is also well-defined, but with a different configuration. Rather than a single place_id, it appears to be defined by a bounding box:

However, Santa Barbara Island, when searched for, turns up the marine protection area off (part) of its shoreline: place_id=131639

There is a imilar problem for Anacapa: place_id=131636

And Santa Rosa Island is undefined, as far as I can tell! (Search turns up a beach strip in the Florida panhandle).

So my proximal problems aree: I want to fix the place_id for Santa Barbara and Anacapa Islands (or find more appropriate ones) and to create a place_id for Santa Rosa Island.

My distal problem is more just that I want to understand how all of this works.

Thanks for any help/advice you can give!


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The Location search box uses Google Maps and doesn’t always return the expected results. Those other islands do already exist in iNat, but you’ll have to use Place to search for them.


Ah, thanks @jwidness! I was using the observations search bar.
Is there a rationale for why they don’t operate the same way?


I’m not totally sure what the original design decision was based on. Maybe someone else knows?
My guess would be that early on, iNat was missing many places and so it made more sense to prioritize results from Google because Google knew more.
I’m pretty sure that when they re-write the Explore page, they’ll be changing how the search works.