Difficult to use map and search on website

seriously, I’ve been on the first ‘search’ page for an hour and can’t get anywhere.

-the map is practically invisible when you scroll in, just look like white on white with tiny red pegs, no ‘satellite’ image or just a darker map?
-drop down lists that won’t go away
-no response when typing genus, location into search fields at top of page
-incredibly complicated directions when searching for how the thing works

I don’t know how anybody is supposed to look for anything on this site, it seems it’s totally geared for making entries but doesn’t want to give back. Stingy at best.

welcome to the forum

I’m sorry to hear you’re having difficulties with using iNat. Could you possibly explain some of your issues in a bit more detail, and/or provide some screenshots (eg of your map issue) that show exactly what you mean. For example, ‘drop down lists that won’t go away’ → where on the site is this occurring for you?


You can switch between the street map and satellite images


does watching this tutorial
or reading this tutorial


You’re just not used to it yet


It’s interesting to get this perspective, as I didn’t realize people were having problems. I didn’t know the “map” layer was even a possibility (and that is not a good name, as both the “satellite” and “map” layers are maps). To set the satellite view, in map mode look for the little layers icon (like a stack of pages) and switch to satellite. It will stay that way. I wonder if when you are typing in the genus and location you are just hitting “return”? You’ll need instead to choose one of the items that show up in the dropdown list that forms as you type. Please try again – iNaturalist is so rich for searching. Thanks for your input.


Non-satellite is default, so it’s what all new users see, but really the button to change it is very much visible and easy to find.


Your troubles could be related to the device you’re using. I had an old tablet that did not work well with iNat. The auto fitting for the screen size put things in strange places. The keyboard would pop up and obscure most of the site. This would make it hard to pick menu choices and the map was impossible to navigate.

Laptop behaves much better. Even my phone works better, small but usable. Still prefer the desktop experience.


I’m on an iPhone 11 and last week the app crashed instantly upon launch - all week. Now the app launches but won’t accept my password - says “oops http error”. Will try a few more times then I’m gone.

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Read this topic https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/ios-app-tends-to-crash-to-home-screen-since-updating-to-ios-15/26606 About error part please post screenshots of what you’re seeing.


That sounds like you might have a bad installation or another device-side problem. Uninstalling and reinstalling the app might help. Sometimes other device settings interact strangely with complex apps, so that might require additional troubleshooting.

It sounds like you’re having a frustrating time, but try to remember that if many others are having much more positive experiences on other devices, it’s probably not an inherent problem with the site itself, but individual devices- anything from outdated hardware to other apps running in the background interfering with functionality. Technology likes to act up in unpredictable ways.


It’s also presented in the bog-standard web format, so if anyone has ever used any online map of any sort they should be familiar with the icon, function, etc.


There is a satellite option, as @janetwright said. The layers icon is in the upper left of the map, between “List” and “Places of Interest”.

I see two things you may be referring to here. One is the list of recent observations within your search parameters, which is large and obscures a lot of the map. Unfortunately, that can’t be removed, so the only way to get it out of the way is to zoom out and move the map so the place you want to look at is not under it. The other possibility is the “Filters” box. It’s in the upper right corner, a gray button, and if you click on it a large popup appears where you can select the search filters you want. Once you’re done you can make it go away by clicking “Update Search” in the lower left of the popup, or clicking anywhere on the main screen.

When you type in the search fields, you have to select what you want from the drop-down. It should show things that are similar to what you typed in, so just click the correct one and the filter will take effect. For example, this is what I see when searching for “Black-capped Chickadee”:

And when I click the correct option:

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