How accurate should be date and location for research grade?

I haven’t found exact answer, except this related topic regarding the date:

So considering this previous discussion I assume that it is allowed if day is not exact. Though it is not possible to save an observation with year and month only, like “2021-04”, if to enter this manually it will display an error with massage “date observed must be a single day, not a range”. So if day is clearly indicated roughly then should observation be marked negatively next to “Date is accurate”?

Problematic example:

Same question with “Location is accurate”. Is “accurate” means only that data is not false (e.g. Australian endemic in Europe), or low accuracy can also qualify for “not accurate”? For example, there are many observations with indicated accuracy of 100+ km, which clearly has no scientific value, except maybe something super-rare, is “location accurate” in such cases? And other even worse cases is when location is clearly not exact, but without any range of accuracy indicated, for example here (aquatic plant in the middle of the city with ~1 km to the nearest place where it could be found):
Should this location qualify as accurate?

But how do you know date is indicated roughly in this first example? If it’s the date of catch, not the photo, it’s the right one.
Last one needs a contact with observer, it looks like app pin gone wrong, you can mark it, but we don’t know where exactly it was, it could be not 1 km away, but much closer in those parks.
Also posting links to others’ obs isn’t adviced to.

Question is not so much about these examples, but rather how it should be if we know.

It depends, if person thinks it was that day, not randomly chooses one, those are different situations. And yes, any accuracy is ok, observations are made not for science after all.

Accuracy and precision are not the same thing. As long as the observation does actually fall within the buffer provided, the location is considered accurate. It may not however be precise. Unless there is evidence the observation does not actually occur within the circle, it should not be marked inaccurate.


As far as I know (most of my information is casually picked up from other forum users) your two first examples would count as accurate. This observation (one of Greg Lasley’s oldest) clearly states that the date is “within a few days of being accurate” and the observation is Research Grade. As for the second, the general consensus is that as long as the accuracy circle encompasses the actual location, it’s accurate. Silly, I know, but… rules as written. The last I think would be inaccurate due to lack of accuracy circle.

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I’ve the same question about observations that have Chile as location, the point is at the center and accuracy is like 3.000 km (1.900 mi) radius. Okay, technically it was observed inside that absurdly big area, it can be in the middle of the desert at the north or at Patagonia… It reached Research Grade, it goes to GBIF… but the point is still placed in the center of Chile with an accuracy radius that includes Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina entirely :sweat:

I don’t think examples like that can have “Location is accurate” with “Yes” as answer :thinking:

The same happens at region-level, but that’s a little more accurate at least.


The size of the location buffer is transmitted to and displayed by GBIF in their database and website. It is up to any individual user of that data to make their own investigation and decision as to what to use.


Concerning the 1st example (the date): the author of this observation has a long series of insect observations (photos taken from a collection) all marked as to be taken at the same date and the same place. However, all these species simply cannot be observed at the same date at the same place. There is no such date. :) They have different flight periods etc. My conclusion is that the date is probably just an arbitrary one. The author was notified, but is still insisting his date is correct. :/

In my opinion, this is not the way of doing things properly.

If not for science, then for what? Just for fun? :)

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Scientific data is a secondary, albeit important goal of the site.


Then marking all of them is needed, see, context matters a lot, I also know a user uploading dead insects not found in the region at all.

But I don’t think that “Scientific data is a secondary” for the “research grade” observations, as they being exported to GBIF, where scientific data is on the first place.


In similar cases (Thailand with 1000 km radius), I disagree with the accurateness of the location, and ask the observer to specify it more precisely.

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GBIF is an independent organization who make their own decisions about what records they will and will not accept into their database. GBIF have obviously made the decision they consider such records as appropriate for their use.


But you shouldn’t, comment with tag is enough. Those large radiuses are like if placement was hidden, take it this way, nobody but user knows where it is.

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I think it is rather clear that whole idea of “research grade” and “casual” categories for observations is about scientific data. “iN is not scientific project” means that they’re not deleting “casual” observations, but not that they don’t care about scientific data.

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No, Research grade is a misleading term, it just means community reviewed observation, nothing to do with ready for research in fact.


I do this for the science. Officially the main goal is for people to connect with nature, with science secondary.


I don’t like that idea much, I wish they would stop saying it. If there was no scientific value to my observations I wouldn’t be here, that’s all my motivation! And maybe there isn’t any value to my observations, but I still like to pretend there is.