Is the red squares on the observation map an intentional change?

Two photos to show what I’m seeing. I was in the middle of uploading my latest batch of photos when my observation map turned from the gray circles to red squares. Was this an intentional change in iNat. Many thanks.


Yes this was intentional. See . We ran an opt-in test of these new map tiles for several weeks and today activated them for all users, and removed the opt-in test.


Cool! I like the grid pattern since it help shows me which areas I’ve yet to make an observation in.


FWIW, I really have enjoyed the new tile format for data representations above a certain map range scale. I’m a fan of the change.


Did the map displays on the Observations pages just change? I’m not sure exactly what it looked like before but the pixelated blocks seems to cover and obscure more than the the previous view did. You can’t really even see borders or names.

Yes. It was opt in. Now iNat has changed it for all of us.

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I like the idea of a heat map rather than just dot density, and I imagine its a little less computer intensive to generate all of the dots on an image?

It all was discussed in topic about changing map and beta version of it, so, probably it’s better to discuss it there, new topics about maps are being closed last days.

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the “pixelated blocks” replace the old overlapping gray circles. from what i could tell, the gray circles covered things up more, given the same zoom level.

i assume that when you’re talking about “dot density” maps, you’re talking about this new map with the red squares arranged in a grid, and i assume that when you’re talking about heatmaps, you’re talking about the kind of map being discussed here: i think in the way they are usually created, a heatmap starts its life as a single-color opacity-scaled density map, similar to this “dot density” map, except that its “dots” are oversized (so that they overlap) and blur into each other. then a color gradient is applied on top of the result of that. so i think that means that a heatmap with the same underlying resolution is going to take more processing power to generate.

I forgot about that other kind of heat map,though I have seen it on inat before. I was referring to the new grid as being like a heat map (darker colors for regions with more observations), and dot density as the old type of map with a bunch of dots overlapping each other.

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I thought I remembers state borders and place names at least being discernible. Is there any way to at least make the observation layer a little more transparent so those show through?

Sorry, I missed the previous discussion. I searched the forum for map-related topics before starting a thread (that I see has now been incorporated into this post) and didn’t see anything related. Guess I didn’t use the right query.


these aren’t the actual maps from iNaturalist, but they use the observation tiles from the iNaturalist API. you can see that at the same zoom level, the gray circles almost completely cover up borders and names, while the red squares allow some of that detail to show through:

i believe that was what was tried initially, but there seemed to be a common concern that making the squares too transparent made the isolated low-density ones hard to spot on the map. so the product released to the masses uses a higher minimum opacity for the red squares. see the discussion here:


No worries, it’s hard to think of every possible permutation for a search. But definitely, thank you for trying!

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