Finding inaccurate coordinates


Lately, I have been curating quite a lot of observations that had an obviously wrong location, such as plants or insects in the middle of the ocean. For example, observations supposed to be in Central America end up in the Indian Ocean, some in South Africa are off the coast of Lybia, some from New Zealand in the Northern Pacific, some from Germany near the coast of Ireland and so on… Also, you will find a lot of them around the coordinates 0,0.

A few examples:

These errors were easy to spot because they fall in the ocean, but how many went unnoticed because they are on land?

Could it be possible to add a way to automatically check that coordinates agree with the other locality data provided by users? Or to automatically send some kind of warning to the users when the coordinates seem strange, letting them confirm that they are indeed correct or change them?


That is indeed strange. I’ve had some observations land in the bay because I obscured the location (they were on somebody’s private property), but always reasonably close to land. These observations don’t seem to use obscured locations.

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The 0,0 ones are a result of a design issue on the Android mobile app where it is too easy to activate the manual adjustment of the pin without realizing it and it starts off at 0,0.


I’m assuming there are “-” lacking in the coordinates, which is why the observations land so far from the intended locality.

I’m finding a related inaccuracy in which the observation point has a very large circle (10s or 100s of kms) and the point is not where the observation was although it may be somewhere within the circle. These are not obscured locations but open ones. Interpreting the point as being where the observation was could be misleading. For example, an observation of a plant that occurs in the mountains and the observation has a photo of the plant in the mountains but the location point is ca 100 km away from the mountains in a plains grassland. The circle includes mountains that contain suitable habitat but to understand the observation requires knowledge of the plant’s habitat and local geography to not be mislead. I’m not sure how to deal with this situation and whether such observations should be called “Research Grade”. The identification may be up to Research Grade standard but should there be a locational standard as well?

I agree, a lot of the observations I came across were Research Grade and so linked to a scientific database like GBIF, but with a completely wrong locality.

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