Observation locations on map wildly variable despite same location name

Hello, I am new here so I’m sorry if this has been answered before. I have been uploading the thousands of picture that I already have uploaded to eBird. This means I’m uploading many pictures of many different species to the same location. For example, Kinabalu Park Headquarters in Sabah, Malaysia. Each time I upload an observation I type that into the location field, it autofills, and I select that location. However, when I look at the map of my observations, the observation points on the map that should all be at the same location are wildly variable, some many kilometers away (at very different elevations) than where they should be. Why is this happening? I’ve attached a screenshot showing the wide spread of my points around Mt. Kinabalu, which should all be at the same location. Thank you.

Teardrop-shaped points indicate an exact location, but all the points that are circles are obscured, so the true location is nearby, but hidden. This is to protect the location of threatened species. If you view them from your observations page, you should see their true coordinates.

More information here: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/help#geoprivacy


The small dots mean that the locations are being obscured. This means that they have been snapped to a grid and some random error has been introduced.

Normal observations (unobscured) have a teardrop-shaped location marker.


This is an intentional feature that is enabled for endangered species that are subject to poaching/hunting/collecting. It’s to stop people using iNat to find rare species for exploitation. You generally shouldn’t experience this issue with non-endangered species as the precise location is public in that case.

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