Incorrect locality note for lats and longs

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Platform (Android, iOS, Website): Website

App version number, if a mobile app issue (shown under Settings or About):

Browser, if a website issue (Firefox, Chrome, etc) : Chrome

URLs (aka web addresses) of any relevant observations or pages:

Screenshots of what you are seeing (instructions for taking a screenshot on computers and mobile devices:

Description of problem (please provide a set of steps we can use to replicate the issue, and make as many as you need.):

Step 1: When I fill in a new locality, with lats and longs,…

Step 2: The pin is in the correct position, but…

Step 3: the description (country) is wrong. So, in the screen shot, my location is in eastern Indonesia but the Locality notes show Gabon in W Africa.

I’m not sure this is a bug. If you are manually entering or updating the coordinates, the locality notes may have already been populated. They don’t change if you change the location, but you can edit it to whatever you like. I suspect your latitude is populating automatically, but your longitude is absent or uploading as zero?

Thanks for the comment. I AM manually entering the co-ords. Yes, the locality notes seem to have been already populated but I don’t know how or why - I’ve never been to Gabon and entered no data from there. Yes, I do edit the locality notes but it would be better if they updated from the new co-ords.

Are you choosing one of your pinned locations and then editing the coordinates?

EDIT: nevermind, I can replicate if I just manually enter those coordinates. FWIW entering those coordinates directly on Google Maps comes up with what looks like the right location name:

If the location notes does not update when the coordinates are changed, this problem would be expected as it seems that the location notes are populated once you enter ANYTHING into the second coordinate box. In the case of the original screenshot that would mean coordinate notes for longitude 1 deg. Thus updating the notes is essential.


There does seem to be a bug here where iNat’s location selection dialog attempts to calculate a location note after the second press in the Longitude field.

The decimal coordinates that @nyoni-pete was trying to manually enter are -1.16405, 129.7685. If you enter a latitude of -1.16405, then move to the longitude field and start typing, iNat automatically fills the locality note with Lolo-Bouenguidi, Gabon after you type “12”.

It’s correct that the location at -1.16405, 12.0000 is within the department of Lolo-Bouenguidi, Gabon. But it is unhelpful to trigger this autofill after the second key press in the longitude field. In particular, there are 10 times as many locations between longitudes 120 and 130 east as there are between 12 and 13 east, so the implicit assumption is going to be wrong much more often than right.

At a minimum, the locality note lookup should be triggered only by exiting the longitude field (assuming there are valid values for latitude and longitude). Even with that approach, there’s still the issue that if an observer attempts to fix an incorrect lat or long, the locality note stays the same. The dialog could be changed to make this a dynamic lookup (but that might overwrite the user’s manual entry) or to only add the locality note on closing the dialog (but that makes the process less transparent).


In Firefox it seems to keep updating the notes upon changes in the values. That happens during the writing as well, not just after exiting box. That works, but results in excessive number of lookups and causes likely problems with manually entered notes.


I have found a work-round for this. If I enter the longitude before the latitude, then it gives me the correct locality note.

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That probably only works because your latitude is close to zero. It now autopopulates the locality note from (your longitude,0). Safer is to point at the location on the map, or indeed to add the locality note by hand.


Funny. It never occurred to me to pay any attention to place names. Via the web-site (can’t really love the phone app) I submit geo-referenced photos, or if not, then I use the location map. iNat then comes up with some place name that is vaguely approximate, but pretty irrelevant. So I ignore it. Looking at other people’s obs, I always zoom in on the ‘google’ map. Again, I don’t even notice if there’s a place name attached.

If the observer makes the effort to add a locality - that adds an extra layer of info.
For example obs at Kirstenbosch - mostly planted - but Google’s default name is singularly unhelpful. Yes I zoom - but that puts extra clicks on identifiers. Meanwhile the observer KNOWS where they were (hopefully)

If map and text don’t agree, the identifier is aware that one of them is wrong. But. Which is right. Observer error.