How to see true location of my obscured observations

I’m trying to access the locations of my observations, but since I have them obscured, the map shows them randomly distributed.

Also, when I download my observation to load into GIS it also shows their obscured coordinates. How can I get the true coordinates so I can properly load them into a site for mapping?

If you’re logged in you should see the true locations of your observations on the observation page itself. For thing like Explore, observations’ public locations are the only thing that can be displayed at the moment.

With the CSV download, your observations’ true coordinates should be in the private latitude and private longitude columns.


For the majority of my observations the private coordinate fields are null and the geoprivacy field is also null…

Also, on Inat, if I click on the “my observations” tab, why does it show them obscured? Shouldn’t it show the true location?

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You should be able to see the true coordinates on the “Edit Observations” page:

Individual observations or on the map? The map on the edit observation page still shows obscured location.

I’m trying to get species lists for specific sites, but I can’t since they are obscured online when searching a specific area as well when I download the data…

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I guess if you zoom in close enough to the map and select redo search in map area it will show locations, but why not when zoomed out?

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There’s an open feature request you might be interested in voting for here:


This drives me crazy as well. I really wish there was a way to see the actual locations of ALL your own observations on the map.


When you are signed in as you, the inset map with labeled pins on the edit observations page should show the pins at the true locations. It should also have the true date and the true place description. The red squares/dots are at the obscured locations, so there are two locations marked for each obscured observation.


So, it will only show a true location for the labeled subset that are loaded on the page? Either 10-200 observations.

Anyway, it still doesn’t solve the issue of my observation still showing up obscured when I download my observations .csv file and load into QGIS.

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I’d love to have the ability to see the true locations of my observations in Explore or Your Observations (I don’t think there’s a “my observations” tab). I think it’s something we want to do but it’s not particularly easy to do without some performance issues. Both of those tabs use the standard Explore maps, which use cached public locations. I believe we would have to cache both public and private locations for those maps, meaning a lot more information to cache. (At least that’s my understanding.)

If you’re OK with sending the CSV to I’d be happy to look at it for you. It’s difficult to diagnose an issue without specific details. It would also be really helpful to know the URL of the search you’re using for your export. Otherwise we’re all kind of guessing at possible causes.


I’ve tried Your Observations>filter>download and have also gone to the Edit Observation page and clicked export: CSV in the bottom right. Those were for exporting all my observations.

I also tried to export a subset of observations from a single site. It shows them scattered in GIS still as the export doesn’t fill the private latitude and private longitude columns.

In my experience with exports, private_latitude and private_longitude and geoprivacy are only filled for observations that are obscured/private, so most of your observations will have those fields blank. Did you check if these fields are blank for known obscured observations (i.e. obscured or private in the geoprivacy column, and maybe also in the taxon_geoprivacy column if there are auto-obscured taxa)?

This is somewhat awkward for importing into QGIS, because you have to use different columns for lat & lon depending on the geoprivacy value. You may need to do some spreadsheet preprocessing to put the correct values into one column. It should be fairly easy to make new lat/lon columns using the private lat/lon columns if they have values and otherwise using the regular lat/lon columns.


in my case at least edit observations shows the obscured ‘locations’. i too really wish they showed the true locations of your own observations or at least just the boxes instead of the misplaced points which totally mess up the map making it impossible to tell places i’ve really been versus obscured observations until i am zoomed in quite a bit. I’m sure there are issues from the development side that make it harder, but if there was any way to see all ones observations by true location that would be a huge improvement.

I did download all of mine as a CSV, but you have to then use a spreadsheet program to merge the ‘private’ locations of obscured observations with the ‘public’ locations. Basically i wish private coordinates field was filled out for all observations not just obscured ones. I don’t understand why it works how it does because why would anyone ever want obscured locations of their OWN observations? It’s still possible to use Excel or something similar to tweak the columns, get all the data, and use ArcMAP or similar to project the coordinates. I think QGIS which is free can do this. And then you can export to KML and view in Google Earth. But obviously this is a huge issue and it would be way better if you could do it on iNat even if it were like the year in review stats where you have to click a button to calculate it or it only updates once a month or something.

For me, it definitely shows both the true location with a pin and the obscured location with a red dot/square. Here is what it looks like for this fake observation:

If you are only getting the red square/dot without the pin as well, you should report that as a bug.

so it shows the pin for the first 200 or something, whatever is on the page you loaded. For older ones it only shows the circle, no pin.

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Right, any observation not listed on the current page has no pink pin – that’s true even of observations that are not obscured.
If you use search/sort, you have a fair amount of control over which observations get pink pins. But yes, you can’t ever show the true locations of more than 200 observations at the same time with this interface.

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yeah. well, i just passed 50,000 observations so to me, the 200 points thing isn’t all that relevant to be honest. I agree if you are a casual user or only looking at a very small area it offers some solution. But to me even for a small area i often have more than 2000 observations. Also i am pretty sure the ‘search in this map area’ searches based on the obscured ‘fake’ locations so you can’t even zoom into a small place and get your unobscured locations there, unless the obscured point happens to still land there, right?

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Hm, that’s not how it’s working for me.

If I zoom in on the map so I only see the true location, not the obscured location, then click “redo search in map area”, that observation is in the list on the left, and the pink pin shows on the map. But if I zoom out from there, the obscured red dot doesn’t show.

If I zoom in on the map so I only see the obscured location, not the true location, then click “redo search in map area”, that observation is in the list on the left, and if I zoom back out both the red dot and the pink pin are visible.

So for me, the true location pin is showing up when either the true location or the obscured location is in the map search area.

The problem appears to be with QGIS automatically selecting the coordinate columns even though I set them to the private latitude and private longitude columns when importing. ArcMap doesn’t have this problem. I had to shift everything to the normal latitude and longitude columns for it to import properly.

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