Difference between map location and locality notes

The actual question of what’s going on was answered here:
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/difference-between-map-and-written-location/5726

but I’d like to see more discussion on this. From that thread it’s clear that the “where were you” text field functions as both a search input and a freeform label of sorts; this seems like either the UI could be more clearly labeled, or a specific “label” field added, such that you could search for a location and then denote something like a colloquial name, something more readable, what have you.

As it stands, you could do something like this:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/30647854
where the ‘where were you’ field is a valid place name but not the actual place on the map, as a result of pasting in a placename and not hitting enter to make it a search instead of a freeform label.

edit- happy to move this to feature requests if that’s more appropriate

It is labeled “locality notes” in some areas, is that what you mean?

The actual location for the observation is the pin location. That is set to the GPS of the photo to start with, assuming it has GPS tags and settings are approipriate. If you were entering a different place into the place name field, then presumably you are looking to change the location of the observation. It fits that you would be checking the map to make sure the pin is then in the correct place. The entering of the place name without altering the pin location is exactly that, so you would therefore notice the pin location to still be in the wrong place (if the intention was to relocate it).

It’s more of a problem when you are entering a label and accidentally hit enter causing the location search, because you aren’t likely to notice the pin location changing. For most people, it wouldn’t even occur to them that they could enter a label there, so the “unexpected outcome” is less of a problem.

It is a very useful feature, and one I think could be explained a bit better in the new on-boarding that is being worked on.

Actually yeah I quite like that phrase, “locality notes” reads to me as distinctly separate from the data of the location.

Perhaps part of the reason this jumps out to me is that I don’t supply photos with embedded GPS? My workflow is one of these two paths:

  • Via website
    • Bulk upload
    • Match up photos that go together
    • Apply location(s) in bulk
    • Apply location(s) of any individual observations
    • Apply individual observation items (e.g., IDs, comments, projects)
    • Submit
  • Via API
    • Bulk upload
    • Batch edit
    • Pick locations per obs, copy/paste when possible <- where I tend to run into this phenomenon
    • Apply individual observation items (e.g., IDs, comments, projects)
    • Save observations

I have a big handful I need to upload tomorrow evening, I’ll use the website for those and edit in a couple of thoughts here after, I just need to verify something in the UI and I don’t have time to right now.

ah… if you are doing other things in the observation beside moving the pin, then you are much more likely to encounter the pin not moving (ie entering/pasting, then clicking on another input field before saving. One thing I used to find frustrating, and it’s related to this but may or may not have been fixed since, is that when I press enter in the location input field it often also treats it as a save of the observation as well.