Observation not in the right location

I wish to report a problem. Two observations, one by me and one by my wife, have the location properly marked on the map when viewing the observation itself, but locate the observation incorrectly when searching for the taxon using the explore feature. In the case of my wife’s red widow spider observation, the correct location is near Highway 40 in the middle of the Ocala National Forest, but the erroneous location created by the program is 14 miles to the SE near Pitman. The other example is a Merlin observation by me that has an erroneous when searching with the explore feature that is about 2 miles to the north of the correct location in Sweetwater Wetlands Park.

Do you have a link to the observation? (copy and paste the url)

I suspect it might be obscuration due to a threatened status or something like that. If you post a link, someone will be able to take a look and let you know why they are not where you expect them to be.

This might not be your particular issue, but whenever I see a location that gets “misplaced” to the southeast of where it should be, my first suspicion is that the Latitude and Longitude were incorrectly converted (or simply not converted) from degrees-minutes-seconds to decimal degrees.

@simonsr35 - Robert, Merlin is an endangered species in Florida. By default, any endangered species on the site has its true location obscured. This is known as geoprivacy. You can read about it here :

Users see a randomized location within roughly a 23*23 kilometer box of the actual location. If you are the actual observer, the actual GPS should show for you, but otherwise the visual map reflects that obscuring.

To add, you can recognise these observations on the map because they have a translucent circle instead of a solid pin:


Additionally, assuming you and your wife trust each other :wink: you can each follow the other, then go to https://www.inaturalist.org/relationships and click the Trust with hidden coordinates box, then you will be allowed to see the actual location of each other’s records.


Looks like Red Widow spider is also endangered so like Merlin the location is also obscured.

1 Like

Thank you all for the explanation(s). Obscuring the location of endangered species is a good idea. I am hoping a scientific researcher would be able to see the actual location if need be.


There are multiple ways that a researcher can see the actual location, but all involve you granting them permission. No one can simply see it if they wish.

  • you can do the same thing and follow the researcher (assuming they have an iNat account) and then trust them
  • the researcher can set up a specific type of project (often called an old style project here on the forum) and add the record. Based on a couple of settings in your account settings they could then see it if you have configured those settings appropriately.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.