GPS accuracy not captured when uploading photos taken with a camera with a built in GPS

On the website observation uploader, when I upload photos taken with my camera with a built in GPS the accuracy is not added. This has resulted in almost all my observations having “Accuracy: Not recorded” whilst they are seldom more then a few meters away from the point where I recorded the observation.

1 Like

And what should be the correct value for Accuracy in your opinion?

I don’t know but I imagine that for the most part it is more accurate than if I were to manually enter my location on the observation uploader. 3m meters perhaps but 5m to be on the safe side.

Following this blog post I am concerned that my observations will not be as useful with the accuracy not recorded. Should iNat not record that the location was recorded off a GPS so likely to be a more trustworthy location.

1 Like

I noted the same.
During uploading I select all and set all to 20 meter accuracy.
I have many times forgotten to do this then have to go to batch edit to add en mass.

1 Like

How do you batch edit them?

Does your camera record accuracy? If it does, you may need to send an example image or two to the staff at (the forum will modify the original image) You’re right that it would be a bug - this feature was added in 2018.


Page: Edit Observations

  1. Tab: Batch edit (just make sure your page is set to maximum obs shown of 200 – scroll to the bottom for this option)
  2. Tab: All
  3. Tab: Edit Selected (wait for page to finish loading before carrying on)
  4. Heading: Batch operations, click the arrow to open it up.
  5. To the right just under the little pic of the globe is a Tab: Edit
  6. Set your Acc(m)
  7. Press Apply.
  8. –Wait a while for it to edit all
  9. Go to bottom of page and press save.

This does 200 at a time. So, when fin go back to Edit Observations, go to page 2 and rinse/wash and repeat.

1 Like

I see my camera does not log accuracy

I use an Olympus TG-5 I am not sure that it records accuracy? I will send a photo to the help email but I below is an screen shot of the GPS details

I use one too; it does not record accuracy

1 Like

From the manual of my camera. So 10 meter seems about right.

1 Like

If your device doesn’t record a specific value, I would not assume it is the “best case” scenario in the manual. GPS devices can have error of 100s of meters in some cases when conditions are poor (cloud cover, canopy cover, fewer satellites available, close to geographic features like cliffs or valleys, etc.)

1 Like

I am still of the opinion that the camera GPS should be considered more reliable than the picking a site off of Google imagery. As discussed in another forum post (I can’t find it now) the cameras take a while to pick up satellites and sometimes don’t pick them up at all - in this time the camera will not record a locality even if you are taking photo’s - so there must be some level of accuracy built in.

Could iNat record that these observations was recorded with a GPS so that this data does not get overlooked or even tossed out by some data users?

Perhaps this should be a feature request if this is not considered a bug?

1 Like

I’m not sure iNat would be able to infer whether your camera / GPS device added the coordinates or if they were manually added or edited afterwards, such as in Lightroom.

iNat does have fields called positioning_method and positioning_device. Looks like both say “gps” for an observation I made with the Android app: Nothing was recorded there for an observation where I recorded a GPX track and synced it to my photos in Lightroom:

1 Like

If it is not stored in your photo it is a FR for the manufacturer of your camera.

I should say the correct value “Accuracy: Not recorded” cause it is not stored or measured at this moment.

1 Like

I’m pretty sure the TG-4 doesn’t record horizontal accuracy, so this wouldn’t be a bug with iNat. I have that camera, but unfortunately lost the annoying proprietary (grrr) charging cable so I can’t test with it.

I’ve also seen it record some wildly incorrect locations so I ended up just turning off GPS in the camera (saving on battery as well) and using my handheld device for geotagging.

See this topic for discussion of GPS accuracy issues and ways to guestimate accuracy:

Thank you all for your comments. It is unfortunate that I cant get an accuracy off my camera. As this is not a bug this could now be closed.

i suspect that some of you are expecting too much from cameras when it comes to recording location information. i think the priority for most when buying cameras is great image quality, fast response, and good battery life (more pictures). i suspect most people think accurate location information is only a nice-to-have, especially if that accuracy comes at the price of reduced battery life and reduced response time. to really get good coordinates or to determine accuracy, i believe you would need the camera to either constantly sample locations or do a bunch of sampling with each photo taken, which would drain your battery and/or make you wait for a moment until you could take the next shot. i believe that most cameras that track GPS are sampling locations only every once in a while – not enough to give super accurate locations or to determine accuracy.

as far as i’m aware, the only time coordinates with an associated accuracy value are automatically recorded in iNaturalist is when you’re using the iNat app to record a photo / sound, or if you’re recording an observation without media in the app. if you have the app, try recording a new observation with a photo and pay close attention to what’s happening. i have my Android iNat app up, and i’m recording a new observation by taking a photo. i take a photo, and approve it, and it takes me back to the observation edit screen, where the iNat app then starts to look for a location. it takes a second or two on my phone for the determination of the location (to a reasonable accuracy <10m, 68% confidence) to happen. not a big deal when i’m taking one photo at a time, but imagine having that kind of a lag time on your camera each time you take a photo.

if anyone is interested, it does look like as of the 2016 EXIF 2.31 spec, there is a GPSHPositioningError field available to record something like the accuracy in iNaturalist. so i guess the camera manufacturers are thinking about the potential of making cameras that can determine this information, or at least to get it from a linked smartphone. i couldn’t find any information about any cameras that actually are recording this information though. (i’m not sure if iNaturalist would translate GPSHPositioningError to accuracy, even if it was available, either.)

another interesting thing is that the Google Android folks were saying that the technology already existed back in 2018 to get location accuracy to ~1m on your phone (, the caveat is that it might take a minute or so to take enough samples at a particular location using the right hardware to get ~1m accuracy. i think what that means is that if you first took a really accurate location measurement on your phone and then took a photo, the photo could record those really accurate coordinates in EXIF, even if it didn’t record also Positioning Error in EXIF. so if you loaded such a photo into iNaturalist, the coordinates would be super accurate, even if there was no accuracy recorded in the system. on the other hand, since iNaturalist stops trying to get a more accurate location as soon as it reaches <10m accuracy, you might not be able to get super accurate coordinates using the app as it is currently designed.

This feature was added in 2018 for the web uploader.

1 Like