Is there a way to indicate start/end of trail on map instead of circle?

Is there a better way on iNaturalist to indicate that a photo was taken somewhere within a certain area of the park, where the exact point of the observation is unknown but the beginning and end points of the observer’s walk are known?


I hike along a trail. Using a circle for location means most of the designated area is wrong. I wasn’t running up and down the mountain slope, I was walking along the path.
A way to mark the location as a particular length of the trail would be closer to accurate / precise / right.
Using satellite view, I can see the trail on the map - but I cannot mark the location except vaguely as ‘somewhere in this circle’
PS I don’t have GPS so must mark the location manually.


I strongly agree with Paloma and Diana! Using circles to show imprecision when you were following a path is especially a problem if the circle extends outside the park or preserve where the observation was made. You have to narrow the circle to keep the observation associated with the preserve and then explain in a note that you were somewhere on the XYZ Trail.

Surely it wouldn’t add that many data points to add the option to use a rectangle to show precision?


There was a feature request to allow an Accuracy polygon (which was rejected), plus an open feature request for Accuracy by place.

P.S. The answer to the original question is no (at least no at the moment).


i think it would be nice, but very difficult to implement well as iNat isn’t really set up to do much with polygons and such. As such i suspect it won’t happen.

It’s pretty hard to map where a trail is if you don’t have a GPS track anyhow. In most places they are hard to see on air photos and meander a lot.

It would be nice, but probably not realistic, to be able to define transects and plot areas too!

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Since we have gained the option to toggle a default map view to satellite, in our (dryish mediterranean) climate the trails are quite obvious.

Would be nice to be able to click and drag along the trail to mark This Bit - similar to being able to highight words in text. Would that be a technical possibility?

From the (rejected) feature request for this:


Correct me if I’m wrong, but all locations on iNat are based on a set of lat-long coordinates that designate a particular point, even those that are obscured or have a buffer circle indicating the level of precision around them. A segment of trail or a line with start and end points would require multiple lat-long points to define it, which is beyond the current georeferencing system .


To record a rectangle, you would need two data points and a width or half-width, instead of one data point and a diameter or radius. That’s one additional pair of coords.

But I am not expecting it to be a priority for iNat. So I will keep jiggling my location data as needed to fit the sighting within the preserve where it belongs and adding notes saying that I was on XYZ Trail no more than n km from the junction with ABC.


It would be nice to designate a narrow line rather than a circle as the area the observation could be fron, but I can understand that iNaturalist probably can’t implement that, at least in the near future. What one can do is put in the comments a note that the observations were near trail X, or along the trail between points Y and Z. This narrows down the area people need to search for the organism, if they wish to find it.


I opened a related feature request as pointed out by @zabdiel with suggestions on how a better accuracy specification could be implemented without having to store additional polygons/lines or spatially processing them when retrieving observations. It wouldn’t address the trail feature but at least the administrative boundary one.
I do not quite agree with the forum moderator stating in one of the feature requests that there is tepid interest on this feature, as I see that it keeps popping up regularly in the forum, though I ma not sure how many users are not relying on GPS coordinates, we might only be a small fraction of all the iNat users.