Help setting up a project for private land

Hi. I own a block of private conservation land in Australia and want to start cataloging species. I believe this app will be a great way for the family to collect data that others can assist in verifying, and that might end up being useful to the wider community via the Atlas of Living Australia.

My wife would prefer the location of records be vaguely obscured to the public. There would be 5 or 6 users who would be recording observations. We are enthusiastic with moderate knowledge of species.

Can someone help me know where to start? Would we set up a project together? What kind of settings do we need to activate for privacy?

Thanks in advance.

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You are running up against 2 conflicting priorities, projects whose objective is to share data, and your desire to obscure the locations.

By design, unless the geography involved is quite large (on the scale of hundreds of square kilometers), projects will not show or incorporate records which are obscured. This is an intentional design feature to prevent people reverse engineering the locations of obscured records by continually refining the geography associated with it.

You can set up a ‘traditional’ project and ask the contributing users to grant you permission to see actual locations of the sightings. The downside is that it means each observation must be manually added to the project.

If those 5 or 6 users are all family members or people who you trust, you can each set up the others to be allowed to see their obscured sighting true locations, which is done by following the person and then trusting them. Alternatively you could set up each user as an admin on the project.

But the conflicting goals preclude you using a collection project.


Thanks so much for your response, Chris. It’s very helpful.

Forgive my ignorance, but what is the difference between a collection project and a ‘traditional’ project?

Am I right in understanding that, in a collection project, attempts to include obscured recordings won’t work. If, on the other hand, users record sightings independent of a project, and a trusted friend and admin then adds those sightings to a project at a later time, that this could bypass the restricting feature? The downside being that some nefarious person (I am being slightly facetious) might be able to view each of the records and potentially work out the location anyway?

A collection project automatically includes all observations which meet the criteria of the projects. Observers do not have to act to get their records into it. However, obscured records, as noted unless it covers a very large geography will not be collected. Even your own records as the project admin will not be there. You don’t actually add records to a collection project, it is fully automated. Basically they are a saved search for records which meet the project rules with the obscuring protection as a filter. If any part of the obscuring boundary box which is roughly 22x22 km falls outside the geography of the project, then the record will not add into the project. There is no functionality to override this with trusted setting or other.

A traditional project is one where each record must be manually added to the project. Obscured records can be added, if the observer allows it (It is a setting in your account, which I believe by default is disabled, ie you have to actively set it), the project admin can see the actual locations. If added, the project curators and only them can see the actual unobscured locations, all other users still see the obscured location. Observers can bulk add their records to the project, they can be added one at a time to the project by anyone else (users who wish to can by a different setting in their account preferences block anyone else from adding their records).

The interface is less advanced on traditional projects.

That’s great, thanks for the explanation.

I haven’t used the platform much before and wanted to have an idea of whether it’s going to serve the purpose before getting everyone set up. Looks like it’s going to be a winner for us!

I really appreciate your time.

Our land is small (1.5 acres) but I set up a traditional project for it and manually add observations to it along with a few friends. Since the parcel is so small creating a collection project would defeat the purpose of obscuring.
It’s been lots of fun and I’ve found over 400 species. You can find the project on inat. It’s called firefly hill.

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Fantastic, thanks Charlie.

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