How can I revert to the actual location in photo metadata?

In lieu of obscuring the location, I manually edited a group of observations by giving all of them the same location with a large accuracy value, such that all of the observations fall within the accuracy circle. Now I want to revert back to the actual location in photo metadata for each observation. How do I do that?

For one of the observations, I uploaded the original photos from my hard drive and deleted the existing photos, essentially replacing the photos in the observation, but that did not work. The observation still has the same location and accuracy that I manually applied awhile back.

Thanks for your help in advance.


I’m pretty sure you would need to upload the original image as a new observation, if it had GPS attached to it, in order to “replace” the location data you modified.


If you can see coordinates in metadata of your original photos you can enter them when editing observation.


Did you choose to “sync obs w/photo metadata” when you uploaded the new photo(s)?


I tried that a bunch of times but it doesn’t seem to work. Should it?

Yeah, I was hoping to avoid this since I have quite a few observations to edit.

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Yes, but it looks like there’s a bug, it’s not working for me either. I filed an issue here:

assuming the photo has coordinates associated with it, clicking on the “Sync?” above the photo in the Edit screen on the website should set the coordinates of the observation to the photo’s coordinates. i tried it with one of my observations ( which i corrected the coordinates of because the photo’s coordinates are really off, and clicking “Sync?” puts the coordinates of the observation back to the bad coordinates (but i did not save the bad coordinates). the accuracy circle still reflects my manually updated accuracy value, since the photo does not have a horizontal positioning error recorded in its metadata.

do you mind sharing a link to the observation you’re trying to change?

That works, excepts for the accuracy, which is not updated from metadata. This will save me a lot of time (despite the bug). Thanks pisum!

@tiwane can you create another bug report or should I post one in the usual place?

I’d rather not since the observed plant needs protection.

One caveat: Clicking “Sync?” reverts to the GPS coordinates in the photo (except for the accuracy, which is a bug) but be careful using this feature since all the metadata in the photo is reloaded. This overwrites anything that was previously edited. In particular, if you added notes to the observation, these are overwritten by the description embedded in the photo. So “Sync?” can be disruptive depending on previous edits.

Thanks everyone, I’m finished with my project now, and I appreciate your help.

the reason i wanted to see an example observation was to make sure your photo actually had something like horizontal positioning error in the EXIF, which i think is the closest thing to the concept of positional accuracy in iNaturalist. i’ve not heard of any cameras that actually capture this information, though it’s possible they exist. if your camera isn’t capturing this info, then it would have to be added separately with some sort of EXIF tool, or you can add accuracy directly in the observation. if you add accuracy in the observation only though, then syncing your observation with a photo won’t change the accuracy because the photo doesn’t contain accuracy information.

in other words, before you declare that it’s a bug that accuracy is not changed upon sync, make sure that your photo metadata actually has something that can be translated to accuracy.

I have an ancient iPhone 6 and, yes, it gives accuracy in metadata. Here’s a typical example:

So I stick by my claim that “Sync?” fails to update accuracy from metadata. Can someone verify this? Thanks!

Bug report:

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