Observation has photo but shows up under "Observations w/o Media" on map

Also… I looked at a few of the records in the “Observations w/o Media” layer. Some don’t have media, but others definitely have photos. I’m thinking there’s some indexing or query issue involved.

There’s even one casual observation that has photos and still shows as “Observations w/o Media”.

that’s interesting. even though that layer is labelled as “Observations w/o Media”, based on what it’s actually bringing back, it seems like it would be more properly labelled something like “Non-Cultivated/Non-Captive Casual Observations”.

this shows the request for one of the UTFgrids (showing verifiable=false&captive=false in the parameters):

this shows the request for one of the observation tiles (showing verifiable=false&captive=false in the parameters):

that said, would it be better to:

  1. keep the “Observations w/o Media” label for this layer, and just change which observations get included in this layer (in which case, what do you do with non-cultivated/non-captive casual observations with media?), OR
  2. change the label for this layer to more accurately reflect what it’s actually bringing back? (is it actually useful to have a layer specifically for observations w/o media?)

Thanks for digging into the JSON query string for this issue @pisum! I agree that the label doesn’t really seem to match. A better label for this query might be “Dubious observations” because they’re non-verifiable for some reason other than being casual/captive. If I understand correctly, that means they may be failing any one of the DQA tests (no photo, inaccurate or missing date/location, etc.).

It’s probably helpful to be able to see a layer of these observations, especially if they reflect everything that’s not in the two other layers. But an accurate label would really help users interpret what they’re seeing. I don’t think there’s a big need to have a layer of “Observations without media” distinct from other non-verifiable/non-captive observations.


seems like a label change would be a relatively minor fix then (not taking into account possible translation needs). maybe a change of title to reflect that more specific direction might encourage work on this, if helps others understand this is probably a very minor fix?

Since this isn’t a bug, might be best to make a feature request if you want to suggest a change.

the label and data don’t match. is that not a bug?


To me a bug has a clear fix, this is a bit more in between, but happy to keep things here.

i think it makes sense to keep it as a bug report. but if you’re saying you think it’s somewhere in between, and feature requests normally are supposed to get additional community input before moving on, are you looking for additional community input before you move this along? if so, it’ll probably get more community input faster if it’s classified as a feature request than a bug report…


just a quick follow-up. it looks like some code was changed to handle this (see https://github.com/inaturalist/inaturalist/commit/3a3e25e82a529b3f66666041c2cc02fda1107e86). it looks like the implementation was to make the map match the label, rather than the other way around.

where we had left the discussion was:

there are no notes in the code changes that indicate why they chose to go the other way with the fix.

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Yeah, that was my decision after we discussed it. Looking good to you @rupertclayton?

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Just saw this. So now the “Observations w/o Media” layer appears to be exactly that.

I’m trying to figure out if there’s anything NOT covered by combination of these three layers. If an observation has a photo and isn’t captive/cultivated, but is non-verifiable for some other reason (e.g. no date), would that appear in any layer of the map @tiwane?

I’d recommend making a test observation and trying it out.

there’s no need for test observations. there are lots of actual observations that get left off those 3 layers.

here’s an example of an observation that is casual because it’s marked as “as good as it can be” at the family level (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/13311979):

note the location of the observation above, and note that it’s not on the taxon map for Calliphoridae (https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/61860-Calliphoridae), even when all 3 layers are selected:

i think the question that ruperclayton was asking was somewhat rhetorical. i think what he’s really getting at is: Is it acceptable for the taxon map to provide no way to display certain casual observations?

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Finally get back around to this. First, I want to apologize if my reply was flippant here, I’m really sorry, @rupertclayton.

I honestly don’t use taxon maps much, I’m too involved with other aspects of the site and don’t really study taxon ranges, so I wouldn’t be a good person to ask. However, I think there’re a finite number of options we would want to add to the map, especially if they’re more niche and focused on casual observations.

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Thanks for providing that example @pisum, and there’s no need to apologize @tiwane. Yes, I was trying to consider whether the “union” of all three criteria covers all observations, or if there are some that won’t show on taxon maps no matter what boxes a user checks. I think @pisum’s observation definitely proves the latter scenario.

I agree that it’s better not to add too many checkbox options. My preference would be that iNat chooses complementary criteria so that checking all three boxes ensures that every observation for that taxon is shown. How about these three buckets?

  1. Verifiable Observations
  2. Observations w/o Media
  3. Other Casual Observations

The last one would be all non-verifiable observations that don’t meet the criteria for #2.

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