Misplaced Observations - User Does Not React

On 2 May 2023, a south african user uploaded a few observations he did on 28 April. The place is written as “2 Cussonia Street, Brummeria, Pretoria, 0184, South Africa”, but on the map, a bay in Borneo (tropical asia) is shown. Overall, the correct place seems to be south africa, as observations of this user shortly before and after are placed in Pretoria; and som scenery visible in the photos does not fit well into wet tropical Borneo.
The user was tagged in many of these observations, and told that he seems to have got the place wrong. Already 6 months ago.

But never has this user reacted.

I do not think that the user really intended to put the observations in a wrong place, but likely some error happened.

What can we do here?

I’ve edited the original post to remove a link to an example observation - just a reminder to not post links to observations of other users calling them out for use of iNat.

In this situation, the observation has a very large accuracy circle, so the observation may be anywhere within it. If you are confident that the location is not within the accuracy circle, as seems to be the case with this observation, and the user has not responded, it is probably best to downvote “Location is accurate” in the DQA section.

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If, the user is still active, sometimes the best way to reach them is to leave a polite comment (and a link to the offending obs) on their ‘today’s obs’. Some app users cannot see notifications. Some are swamped and ignore them all.

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Some people don’t know how to edit. Link to instructions (which must be somewhere), with a request to change.

If the observation isn’t updated to the correct location after quite a while, vote down for “Location is accurate.” This is will send the observation to Casual.


I prefer to work towards the most positive outcome possible.

In this case that means to get the observations placed at their correct location, and keep them available for further ids to research grade.

The “official” solution does only try to limit the damage caused by the error. It sends the observations to the heap of “casual” observations and thus prevents them from becoming false RG, and also removes them from the “needs id” queue.
That is not good for the observer who took some effort to perform these observations and submit them here, and not positive for the iNat community who enjoy good observations.

Also in case of an error, it is advisable to try to find out how the error happened, if it is likely to occur again, and how it might be prevented in the future. This won’t happen here now.
And I think that is not positive either.

I cannot apply the DQA imprecise location flag now because I did not save a link to the observation. Perhaps I will stumble upon one of them again during further identification sessions.

But if I stumble upon one again, I’d still try to do better than that.
@dianastuder What is “today’s obs”? Anyway, a “private message” might also work - or are there issues with app users, too?
And do we have a better instruction for editing a wrong location than
That is more concerned with “geoprivacy” than with editing proper.

I can agree with this. However, only the observer can fix the location. If the observer won’t/can’t do it, the best solution left for us is to move the observation to Casual, to get it out of the way.


Try, if possible, to reach a compromise between the importance of keeping data reliable and the possibility that this user will react to your advise. As regards, if a) it is possible that that species occurs inside the circle of the position, b) it is surely wild, you can evaluate if it still acceptable not to mark the observation.
For example, I have just marked as wrongly placed an observation of a potato with a very broad radius (about 5 km) centered on a mountain top. Solanum tuberosum can be exceptionally found as wild but only close to where it was cultivated, that is in abandoned fileds, not on mouintains. I have asked the observer to refine the position. If this person will not react, I will keep the observation marked.

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if they have another obs today, they may respond to a comment there. As a last resort.

OK, thanks.
Just sent a “private message”. Let’s wait and see…

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Was it a website or an app obs? (I only use the website, but one of the apps doesn’t show notifications, or messages ??)

I have seen quite a few similar cases of this. Once saw an obs for a smallmouth bass in the UK which i thought was accurate ( since there are some old sunfish records here) but was eventually tweaked to the actual location ( in the States) and a few obviously British moths in West Africa when all the users other observations were from somewhere in the UK. Unfortunately a lot of these obs are from users which have been inactive for a while so they have to be marked as location inaccurate unfortunately.

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