Defined Places, Collection Projects, and Obscured Observations

Here’s the situation: One user has created a “place” defined on the boundaries of a large ranch and created a collection project for observations within that place. But due to the nature of the location (private property considerations of neighbors), most previous observations on the ranch have been obscured. Thus the random location pins are falling outside of the defined place and are being overlooked by the collection project.

Q: What are the options in this kind of situation? Since the boundaries of the defined place (= ranch boundaries) are fixed and will not be altered, is the only current option to unobscure previous and future sightings on the ranch so that they can be collected for a project?
Related Q: Do collection project managers have access to the true locations of obscured observations within their defined place? (I suspect not, but that might be end up being a feature request.)

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Collection projects are basically just saved searches, so managers of these projects do not get the ability to see unobscured locations for observation in the project. Otherwise, someone could just make a place and collection project for it and just see true coordinates for whatever was in that location. As such, I don’t think collection project managers will ever have that ability as it would be a huge loophole in obscuring.

One option is to make a traditional project and then have users join and add any observations that were made on the ranch (or they can be added by others too). Traditional projects are more effort, but one would work in a situation like this I think.


When you join a project (and after that) you can agree to show true coordinates, but project still gets only those observations that fall in borders, you need traditional project for that.

How essential is the exact property line? Consider making the boundaries of the project larger than the boundaries of the ranch, say with a buffer of 100m or even more. If the surrounding area is unlikely to have iNat observations, you won’t be pulling in a lot of extra stuff, and you may capture most of the obscured observations. You can even put somewhere in the notes that the project definition has a buffer. Most animals wander back and forth across property lines anyway.

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I think in this situation a traditional project would be best.

Confining the place and the project to the property boundaries of the ranch is critical. This is in Texas and in an area where endangered species issues have polarized and hardened the opinions of many landowners. In the present case, the landowner wants to document more of the biodiversity of their ranch, but they need to be mindful and sensitive to the desires of the neighboring property owners.

Creating a traditional project seems like the way to go.


Thanks all for the input. gcwarbler is correct about the property boundaries needing to be precise. I’m working with the individual who has the obscured relationships and have shared this post with her. Since I think hers are the only observations that are currently obscured, we’ll figure out what makes sense, however, making a traditional project will address any new observers who make observations. I’m trying to get more people on the ranch to create an iNat account and post observations.

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