Generalising of vulnerable species can push records out of project boundaries

While I appreciate that generalising locations of observations of Vulnerable species (IUCN listed) is a good idea for their protection, this can confound project data, when it pushes an occurrence outside the area of a geographically bound project.

Let me give you a more specific example. I recently observed a Western Blue Groper at Port Noarlunga in South Australia. This is a very significant sighting, but it doesn’t appear in the project “Port Noarlunga, South Australia” as the record has not only been generalised outside of the project area, it’s been placed on land, and it’s a marine species.

It strikes me that a rule should be introduced to keep generalised records of marine species withhin the marine environment. Another approach would be for an observation to still appear on the species list for the project in which it occurs, even if the location data is obfuscated.

Thanks for your attention to this.

Project where it -should- appear (in my opinion):


A ‘solution’ to this problem (although not super useful in your case since the project is a well-established one) is to create a traditional project so you can manually add records like this.

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(moved from Bug Reports because this is expected behavior)

Obscured observations are not publicly indexed as being within a place if the place is too small (for a more detailed explanation, please see this FAQ). This is to prevent someone from narrowing down an obscured observation’s true location, and unfortunately it does have this side effect, which has been discussed elsewhere on the forum. Certainly it has its downsides, but we’d rather err on the side of protecting the locations of sensitive species.

I’m not familar with this specific taxon - would showing its public location on iNaturalist be detrimental to it?

I think you mean “traditional” here, instead of “collection”.



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Yeah, this is a problem, and one that’s been discussed quite a bit in the past. I agree with you (I’m running an iNat project to help collect data for our conservation work inside a protected area in northern Vietnam) and this is a problem. Sometimes the observation fuzzing means that the observation is pushed outside the project area entirely and winds up missing from the accumulated species list.

The conclusion of the past discussions I’ve seen about this are essentially that it’s expected/intentional behavior and it’ll remain as it is.

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Could an umbrella project be made to encompass both the existing project and a new traditional project that would have any entries that need to be manually added?


That “multi-project” approach seems to be the best solution at present, but I can’t help thinking a tweak to the collection projects so that fields can be used as a criteria. Especially if it is logically “OR”, then just setting a field such as “Include in xyz bioblitz” could drag it into the project, with no deterministic way to actually pinpoint the true location.

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A post was merged into an existing topic: Geoprivacy, Obscuring, and Auto Obscure Discussion

closing since this common question has been answered