Is there a "best practice" for creating a Place/Location?

I guess I didn’t understand how user places/locations were created, until now. But I still don’t know how things work with regard to the following.
What I’ve been doing is changing the description of the coordinates so that all my observations for one place have the same “name”, e.g. a particular park, so if an observation happens to default to some address from Google, that gets changed.

I have some past observations that are on private property. I don’t think there is a boundary available for either.
One is a nonprofit that has people who live there but also does workshops and is behind a locked gate, and when I asked if it was ok to post observations here, and how to show them (I said they could be obscured and they agreed with that so that random people wouldn’t try to access the property). In that case, I’m not sure if I need to create a location, though in the future other people who legitimately visit may have observations to add. Or I could just do what I was doing before. I think in either case, I’d preface the actual name with “Private” ?
The other is private property also behind a gate, and there is other private properties and BLM land in there also. This one is a known place that allows visitors with a permitted leader, and there are articles written about the place since it has unusual geology and plants. They said they’d like the observations shown, and if it’s something that they have a name for to use that. I think that probably only applies to the geological features (unless there’s something biological in/on them).

I created an unrelated place with a polygon in order to collect certain observations, and when I did that, there’s a field for Parent but the only one that seemed to apply is North America. Does it automatically include the state and county and/or city? It didn’t let me type anything in. And with that boundary, are those observations automatically included in county (though this particular place has two within my boundary), state, country if I were to search for a particular county, for example?

So if I were to not create a place since I don’t know the boundary, what happens with the observations if I search for observations in that county?

All observations are automatically “added” to each place that they fall within. That is, if I use the observation page to search for a place, the observations that were made within that boundary will show up in the search.

For example, for this observation:
I do not have to manually add it to (and in fact there is no way to) Cook County, or Illinois, or the US. It will show up in the search for those places, e.g. my observations in Cook County on that day:

A bit more about these “Standard Places” vs. “Community-curated Places” here:

There is one major caveat, explained in more detail in the FAQ, which will apply to some of your geoprivacy = obscured observations:

And so, there is really no need to change the place descriptionif your main concern is falling within the correct place.

Regarding the private property, since it sounds like they want to maintain some privacy, I would probably not create a place on iNaturalist unless they requested one.

If you are able to share some map locations publicly but do not want to encourage people to visit the location, you can use the description section to note that it was private property, but it’s common sense that people should check accessibility first. I don’t think people tend to look at the locality notes (the section by the GPS which you were changing manually. See this similar conversation for a few alternative takes on sensitive locations:

You should be able to type directly into that parent field and pull up any place in the system.


1 Like

Thanks, that helps. And I DO look at the locality notes sometimes, but then I’m like that. I use maps a lot for various things, plus keep tracks for every hike I do and geotag all my camera photos, so I’m probably into it more than the average phone app user.