Location search in Explore returns wrong place

Chrome, Opera on desktop, also happening on Android app

  1. Go to Explore, and under the ‘Place’ filter, search for Greater Sydney Area
  2. The correct place is returned, which looks like this:
  3. Now instead, type the same place name into the main ‘Location’ search bar instead
  4. It returns the entirety of NSW as the place:

This behaviour did not previously occur; when searching for ‘Greater Sydney Area’ using either search bar, it always returned the correct place

I sort of think Google is mostly to blame for this. If you use their geocoding demo, “Greater Sydney Area” returns the right bounds, but with no name attached that would lead you to Sydney.

When iNat is given this info from the Location search box, it takes the name “New South Wales” and tries to find a match near those coordinates (the call is https://api.inaturalist.org/v1/places/nearby?per_page=1&name=New+South+Wales&lat=-33.8817547&lng=150.8609358&swlat=-34.1896128&swlng=150.5883888&nelat=-33.3642035&nelng=151.3439).
That API call gives NSW instead of Sydney.

If you’re sure this is new behavior, maybe you need to complain to Google? :thinking:


hmm very annoying from Google; 100% certain this is new behaviour, so no idea why they would change things

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This has been bugging me for awhile too. The problem is those Google-defined places are the only ones selectable from the Observations view. So if I type “Greater Austin” into that page, the only available result is “Austin Metropolitan Area, TX, USA” - and this gets displayed as “Texas” - all of Texas. Same for the following examples (Note these seem to be the only ways to refer to these places) :

San Francisco Metropolitan Area, CA, USA - displays all of California
Chicago Metropolitan Area, USA - Displays all of the United States

Confusingly, since my home location is set to “Greater Austin, TX, US” my default searches show the results for that region. So I can look at my own region that way. But I can’t input “Greater Austin, TX, US” manually in the same page. I can use that region on the Identify page, but not the Observations page.

I buy that this is Google’s fault, but this seems to break some common and reasonable functionality in iNat - “Show me all the Spiders in the Chicago Metro Area.” I don’t fully understand the finer points of iNat-defined places versus Google-defined places and which are used where, but from a user perspective “something broke.”

edit to add: Even if this broke due to a change in Google’s behavior, maybe it seems more likely that iNat can/will come up with a fix.

use the Place filter under More Filters.


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