There is a good discussion of this problem going on in the bug reports sections, but it was suggested that someone should move it to feature requests, and since I am currently having this problem, I’m doing so. If someone else has asked for this feature, I’m sorry that I haven’t found it.
Specifically, I’m hoping that there be some simple way to make obscured observations taken within the polygon that defines a place show up on lists for that place, even if we don’t want them on the public map.
My present example: I and a group of other local naturalists are using iNaturalist to document the biodiversity of a large piece of State owned land (currently at risk of sale and development) in Sonoma County, CA. Our project page is here:
We’ve been finding iNaturalist an extremely useful tool for this, but have been running into two problems. Both relate to the geoprivacy of threatened taxa.
First, and most importantly, we are documenting the diversity of this place in the hopes that this information will be part of the conversation about future uses of this land, but observations of threatened and endangered species don’t show up on the project page, or on this property, because they are automatically obscured. For example, this observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20893829
Documenting the protected species on a property only to have them not show up on the relevant list for that property strikes at what I see as a core function of iNaturalist.
Second, we can’t know what vulnerable species were previously documented on this land by others. Foothill Yellow-legged frogs, for example, have been documented in that general area, but we don’t know if these observations are from this property or not. There may be other threatened species previously documented from this property on iNaturalist, but we can’t find out. Again, what seems like a core function (at least for place-based conservation applications) is compromised.
I therefore request the feature that obscured observations show up on project lists even if they don’t show up on the map of that property.
The obvious problem with this request is that poachers could find out if a protected organism is in a particular place by creating continuously smaller places with associated projects, and eventually narrow down to exactly where the organisms are. My proposed solution to this problem (and maybe there is a better one) is to set a reasonable lower limit to the area where this feature would function. Knowing that there is a California Giant Salamander larva or California Freshwater Shrimp hiding somewhere within the area of this project is not going to be much use to any poachers.
Another possible solution, which would solve the first problem but not the second, would be to allow the contribution of obscured observations to place-based projects, which as far as I can tell is not currently possible.
Please let me know if what I’m asking or why isn’t clear. Thank you.