Observation filters on wrong side of Thailand/Laos border

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Platform (Android, iOS, Website):

Browser, if a website issue (Firefox, Chrome, etc) :
Firefox 44

URLs (aka web addresses) of any relevant observations or pages:
Screenshots of what you are seeing (instructions for taking a screenshot on computers and mobile devices: https://www.take-a-screenshot.org/):

Description of problem (please provide a set of steps we can use to replicate the issue, and make as many as you need.):

Step 1:
I open the page with my observations.
Step 2:
I fill in the fields for the taxon (“Syntomoides”) and the place (“Thailand”).
No observation shows up.

I expected one observation:

The observation page shows that it is correctly located in Thailand. But, true, it is just on the other side of Mekong river, which is the border to Laos.
This observation does also not show up when searching for a more coarse taxon like Arctiinae.

When I search for my observations in Laos instead,
this observation is shown.

I.e. the filtering seems to use a different area definition than the observation page.

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Hi @bernhard_hiller, I edited your title to be more descriptive of the bug you are reporting. Feel free to edit further if I got something wrong.

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I don’t think there’s a bug here, this has to do with the borders iNaturalist uses. Complex borders, especially along rivers, are simplified on iNaturalist. If we used full complex borders, the site would be unusable, unfortunately - it would just be too slow. This isn’t the exact border we use, but it’s very close to it:

I think your observation is just within the Laos boundary.

The “locality notes” (red arrow) are derived from Google Maps or Apple Maps (or can be manually entered). It’s the “Encompassing Places” show you which iNat place boundaries the observation lies within, and it’s in the Laos boundary on iNat (blue arrow):

What you can do is move the pin a bit south and futz with the accuracy circle so that it encompasses the actual location. The location of the pin determines which country/state/county level the observation is indexed in.


Thanks for the explanation. That’s what I suspected.
What about using “place identifiers” (from Google/Apple) and store them with the observation, so that we can filter for them later on?

And by the way, due to this feature I found out that I have many more observations from past holidays on my hard disc awaiting to be submitted here…


You should be able to search those via this filter:


It’s not restricted to only the locality notes text, however, it also searches the description and tags.



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