Large batch of gray squirrel observations with bad locations

Not sure the cause but there appears to be a large number of observations of gray squirrels with incorrect locations centered on the Rochester NY area. Perhaps applies to other species as well but I detected it for gray squirrels. Not sure of the solution.

is it the obscured locations? if so, that might be someones house or something and they dont want their exact coordinates posted. i do that, so theres a square of hundreds and hundreds of observations in a big box in my county

look at my map lol

Those appear to be a whole series of records from a game camera survey from the user senecaparkzoo.
There are over 6000 observations from the game camera that have been uploaded. Over 2200 Gray Squirrel observations, 600 Red fox, etc.

Looks like the location is obscured. They display with a round icon on the map instead of a pin when you zoom in. There have been several feature requests dealing with displaying these differently. Some filters let you exclude them.

I’m ashamed to admit I had a mini heart attack on glimpsing this topic, and thought someone was calling out my observations!


Not all are obscured, but the senecaparkzoo observations from the automatic camera do appear to be obscured. senecaparkzoo is apparently a Tom Snyder, Director of Programming and Conservation Action at the Seneca Park Zoo. The observation dates or date-times appear to differ and the squirrels do not appear to be captive. Given that an observation is a specific wild organism at a specific time, these observations seem to conform to iNaturalist policy.

@blacksquirrelsyracuse when you zoom in, you can see that the pinpoints are circles instead of stemmed markers, which indicates that the geoprivacy is set to “obscured” and that it’s only an approximation of the location, not the exact location that you’re seeing.


When you open one of the observations, under the map it also indicates the geoprivacy is set to obscured:

If you only want to show observations where users share the location publicly, you can add &geoprivacy=open to the URL.


More about geoprivacy on iNaturalist here:


Cool to see this project since I spent a lot of time at Seneca Park Zoo as a kid, many years ago. More diversity of non-caged species than I remember.



Thank you for clarifying - so this is a product of obscuring observation locations. That makes sense. It does call into question the utility of providing locations when obscured given that in this case 1/3 of gray squirrel locations are in Lake Ontario - it undermines the value of the observations because they imply some sort of legitimacy to the locations when they are designed to be incorrect. Better I think to not list any point locations at all but have the records searchable by town or county. But that is a issue not for this forum. Thank you all for clarifying!

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The obscuring may be for the security of the cameras. Maybe they’ll get set to Open when the project wraps up. Or they’ll stay Obscured because the cameras are loaned to private individuals and were in people’s yards.

Either way, if someone has a legitimate reason to know the locations, they could ask. And then there’s always the value of the observations to the observer and they have the exact locations.


discussing how auto obscure displays on the map is a past and valid discussion topic on the forum, for instance, I had a thread about it a while ago here:
I do think over time improvements in how the obscured locations are displayed would reduce this type of confusion, but you can read all about it if interested in that other thread…

Debate about what might be better aside…this searching tutorial may help you in your personal use of iNat:

I think 90% of my observations are obscured but I participate in several projects who have admins who can see my coordinates. That way, as has been mentioned earlier, if the data is needed for research, there is access for trusted users but for the rest of the site, I maintain privacy. For more on the new trusted user system:

On a humorous note, seeing a raft of mightily swimming gray squirrels in Lake Ontario would be very amusing!

Again, welcome to the forum, @blacksquirrelsyracuse! Always glad to see my state kin representing on the forum :)

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