Importing photo from Seek to iNaturalist doesn't have location

When I use the Seek app, it identifies a plant and shows its location. However, when I then import that photo to iNaturalist, the location is missing. I have to add it manually. I don’t quite understand why the geotag isn’t included in the photo.

This is an intentional privacy feature, so I wouldn’t consider this a bug.

1 Like

In this way it can be used by children:
see the header ‘’ Kid-Safe and Fun for Families’’
https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/seek_app

2 Likes

Yeah, if you are trying to use the ID algorithm, it’s on the Inaturalist apps too (though you need internet connectivity) as well as the website. Or you could take pictures with seek but use a gps tracker to keep track of where you are.

There ought to be a way to turn it off. What an aggravating limitation. This is compounded by the fact that manually setting a location in iNaturalist is anything but an exact science. I find that when I zoom the crosshairs to the exact location I was in and then save, the location gets placed somewhere in the vicinity, sometimes as far as a 1/4 mile away. Photos that are taken with my camera and then uploaded, on the other hand, always appear exactly where taken. You would also think there would be a way to have my observations in Seek automatically appear in my observations in iNaturalist.

I don’t really see how writing coordinates to your own photos would be a privacy violation, as long as they don’t leave your device (the copy sent to iNat for vision results has obscured coordinates, but is only stored on our servers long enough to provide vision suggestions). In the iPhone version of Seek, we’re not writing location metadata to the photos written out to your photo library. We are doing that in the Android version, but it’s subject to the same caveats as any camera app, e.g. accuracy might be poor if the camera wasn’t open long enough to get good coordinates.

4 Likes

@kueda, are you saying this is a simple bug in the iPhone version of Seek?

That’s …interesting. Sometimes setting the location on the app is a bit tricky but it works fine on the website for me. How are you trying to map it?

It’s something we chose to omit for Seek v2 but are planning to include eventually, so if you want to call that a bug then sure.

I also wouldn’t call it “simple.” Seek v2 uses some very different technology than Seek v1, and we were working under deadline, so some existing functionality got tabled. In this case, instead of using third-party camera software like we did with Seek v1 or using an external camera app like we do in the iNat Android app, the real-time vision results in the camera meant that we had to basically write our own camera on iOS and Android, and write a wrapper round that to integrate it into Seek. That meant losing or re-implementing a lot of freebies we got with third party software, like writing EXIF data.

3 Likes

@kueda, thanks for the explanation.

I am not entirely certain that I understand the question, but here is the process that I have had problems with. Using an iPhone XR, I take a picture in Seek. I then open iNaturalist and create an observation. I then import the picture that I took with Seek. The picture has no location data, so I click on Location and move the crosshairs to the location where I took the photo. Then click Save. All pictures are taken on my farm, so I know exactly where I am at all times. Any time that I set a location within iNaturalist, it always appears in the wrong location in my finished observation. This happens with both photos taken within Seek as well as older photos that contain no geolocation data.

Truth be told, I find the Seek camera rather primitive compared to the Apple camera app, which provides more options and takes better pictures. My process now is to first use Seek, then open my Apple camera app to take the final photo. The location is always correct when I upload photos taken with the Apple camera app. Hope this answers the question.

editing location within the apps is tricky, can be buggy, and it’s hard to see anything detail related on the screen when it’s sunny out. If you know they were all on your farm it would be better to use the website to fix the locations right after you upload

1 Like

Thanks Charlie, that is good to know.

2 Likes

If you can provide some screenshots and examples and send them to help@inaturalist.org we can investigate. Without specifics it’s tough to diagnose an issue. One thing I notice is that satellite view and map view are slightly different. If the difference is large then I’d say there’s something to be concerned about here.

The two apps are not really mean to be used in tandem. If you want to post your photos publicly and discuss them with others, then use iNat. Seek is designed for casual users and children who want to learn immediately about what is around them, and perhaps participate in a more “gamified” way of interacting with nature… Seek draws on iNat for occurrence data, and it’s model is trained on iNaturalist observations, but it’s a pretty different beast, I’d say.

3 Likes

I also use the apps in tandem, in a different way: I will sometimes use Seek to identify a plant, and then I’ll use iNaturalist to take a photo of the plant and upload it with the initial ID that Seek provided (if it doesn’t seem unreasonable). This is particularly useful in an area without cell coverage, but is also generally useful because with Seek I can move the phone all around to different angles, thus giving the app a better chance at the right ID than a single photo could.

1 Like