How to make a project for a specific place

A common desire on iNaturalist is to create a project for observations from a particular place – your backyard, a local nature preserve, a school campus, etc. If you are trying to do this, the first thing to check is whether iNaturalist already knows about your place. If your place is an administrative area equivalent to a country, state, or county, iNat almost certainly knows about it. For example, if I wanted to use Onondaga County, New York, I can already choose that boundary. Many other boundaries are also already in the database, so to see if iNat knows about your place, you can look for it by name in the search:

You can also use Explore and zoom to your area, then check the list of Places of Interest:

Edit: And if there are already observations in your area, you can check an observation page for encompassing places, see @twainwright’s post below. (Note that obscured observations won’t necessarily show all their encompassing places.)

It’s also possible to combine multiple places for a single project, for example Onondaga County and Cayuga County.

If you have determined that you will need to add a place to iNaturalist then you will need at least 50 verifiable observations.*

Even if you have permission to add new places, you cannot make places that cover too much area, that cover too many observations, or that are too complex (too many points defining the boundary). Currently that means the area should be smaller than the state of Texas (approximately), the number of observations should be less than 200000, and the file size should be less than 1 MB.

If your place meets the above requirements and you already have a kml file for the boundary of your place, you can upload it at

If you don’t have a kml file for your place, you will need to either find or make one.

Here is a tutorial for uploading US city boundaries from census data.
Here is a tutorial for uploading a place that OpenStreetMap already has.
Here is a tutorial for uploading a place that you draw yourself.

Once iNaturalist knows about your place, go to to create your project. In the Observation Requirements section, use the search box under Include Places to select your place.

For more information about iNaturalist projects, see

* A verifiable observation is an observation that has a date, a location, media evidence (image or sound), and has not been voted captive/cultivated. After you have 50, it may take a few hours for the system to process your account status.


Nice tutorial! I have one suggestion to add:

The Explore page only gives a selected list of nearby Community-Curated places. To get a complete list of places for a map location use the Observation page:

  1. Click on a nearby observation,
  2. On the observation page, click on location “Details” (under the small map),
  3. This will provide a seemingly comprehensive list of “Encompassing Places” for that location.

For example, here’s what I see on the Explore page for a location (Note: only 3 Community-Curated places)

and here’s what I see for an observation at the same location (many C-C places, plus a “More” button at the bottom)


Thanks, added!

1 Like

That suggestion is awesome! I am making neat discoveries with it.

This is great - really helpful.
I’ve set up an area for my street, to encourage neighbors to get involved, and I can already see some observations.
However, there are some of my observations that aren’t showing. If I look at the area without the ‘location’ filter, I can see about 12 observations, but when I add ‘location’ to the filter I only see 4 observations. If I look at the “Community Curated” list in the observation details, my street isn’t shown.
I can’t find any settings or anything that would account for this. They’re all the same privacy settings etc. It’s not based on when I uploaded them, as there’s one I uploaded an hour ago that’s showing, but some older ones are not. It’s not based on the Data Quality Assessment or number of IDs.
Do you know why some observations are showing and some aren’t, please?

Without location filter:

With location filter:


also, make sure you really think about whether you want to reveal where you and your neighbors live. even if you’re not concerned about folks following you, some observations have been known to draw folks to their locations, and not everyone may be happy about attracting outsiders to your neighborhood.


Please remember - you have scribbled out the street names here in the forum.
But if I go to your own obs, I can see Exactly Where You Live.

iNat has a project for home gardens

and mine uses a pinned location for my suburb. Definitely not putting my obs, on my street, at my house. Even more so for families with small children.