Look for location in more than 1 picture

I usually take multiple pictures of each observation to highlight various features/various angles using my camera app and upload later. (my phone reacts too slowly to take pictures directly through the app) From time to time my phone fails to log the location on an image, and when I upload multiple pictures the app (I think) looks for location data in the first image and seeing none, marks no location. I have to go back and reselect different images as “first” image until I find one with location information.

Looking at multiple pictures for location might also flag observations where inexperienced users upload unrelated pictures. It could trigger a notice along the lines of “Your observation appears to contain pictures from multiple locations. Pictures of seperate organisms should be uploaded in individual observations”

For example, in this observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/25972355

Both of the in focus pictures lacked location tagging, and it wasn’t until I tried the out of focus image that I was able to get the coordinates.

No location found:

Found coordinates in the 3rd picture

It could be a nuisance though. In the desktop app its pretty easy to drag some files into the upload page - from HD or from an obs showing no location - then drag them back into one obs in the order you want

No votes? If this is true I would spent a vote on it. Should it not be tagged with android and app?

i think i’d prefer this to work by allowing you to choose which photo you want your location to come from. so for example, if you have 6 photos, the system would default to that first photo, but if you didn’t like those coordinates, you could choose to pick the coordinates from, say, photo 6 instead. or if you didn’t like the location in any of your photos, then you could always manually pick a location, too.

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I like it the way it is now. If my device is not recording the gps, I like to be aware of it, and it is not difficult to place a manual pin, which I often do anyway so that I can edit the place name to a better description.

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My request was specifically toward the android app, as that’s the only way I have upload observations. (the original title started with "App request: " because I didn’t know about the additional tags but I think it was edited by a moderator. I only rarely update observations from the website (mostly batch editing to obscure).

If I only have 3 or 4 observations and I know roughly where I was, its not hard to try again to find a picture with location information or manually pinpoint the location, but I spent most of Monday hiking through a national park and took pictures of over 100 different observations, averaging 3 pictures per organism. Repeating the scroll scroll scroooooooll to find which of the pictures might have GPS information (nope, not this one, try another one of the same organism until one of them works.

I’d also be happy with @pisum’s suggestion of having a mechanisms to change which picture is used for location information. Currently on the app, I don’t think there is a way for me to check whether any of them have location information other than trial and error within the app. (I can also go back to my album and click “details” for each image, but that’s also not a very quick process)

Maybe I’m the only one who has problems with my phone losing a subset of coordinates for observations or I need to figure out how to transfer photos in a way that I can upload easily from my PC.


relatedly, i do find that the android app is slower to get a GPS reading and sometimes is a bit off if you are observing things fast. Have you noticed that the app displays the accuracy as you take the observation? If you keep an eye on that you can wait a few more seconds to get a good reading. Also you may be able to find another app that also records location and run it in the background, though that also uses more battery.

@erininmd, how do you add observations in the app? Do you

  1. Tap the green plus icon, tap “Choose Image,” choose one photo, then tap the camera icon to add more photos
  2. Tap the green plus icon, tap “Choose Image” and long-press to choose multiple photos at once
  3. Tap the green plus icon, tap “No Photo” and tap the camera icon to add photos, manually changing all the other settings
  4. Find a photo in your photos or gallery app and share the photo with iNaturalist, then tap the camera icon to add more photos
  5. Long-press to select multiple photos in your photos or gallery app to share multiple photos as a single observation in iNaturalist
  6. Something else?

What I’m seeing is that long-pressing in the photos app to share multiple photos with iNat as a single observation currently does what you’re asking for, i.e. it consistently imports coordinates from one of the photos even if another doesn’t have coordinates. Strangely, choosing multiple photos from within the iNat app does not have that effect. If we made both of these behave the same (i.e. we always get coordinates when we can), would that solve your issue, @erininmd?

Not importing coordinates (or any other metadata) when tapping the photos icon on the observation edit screen to add additional photos is intentional. I think we may have done that at some point and it was extremely jarring. Actually I think what we did was prompt you whether or not you wanted to use the metadata from a new photo you were importing and most people found that insanely confusing (I kind of liked it).

I’m not entirely convinced @pisum’s solution of choosing which photo to import coordinates from solves a problem a lot of people are having. I could imagine it being useful in situations where the coordinates are way off on the first photo you took but much better on the last, but that seems like a distant edge case. Just my opinion, though. Could be interesting to show the coordinates from all photos on the location chooser just so you can change the coordinates if the app got coordinates from one bad egg.


I use the Android app and usually do option 2. As far as I can tell, it only loads the location for the observation if the photo the app chooses to go first has location data. I didn’t realize option 5 was possible, but I just tried it and it seems to work the same way.