Observation page is unavailable in China

Platform (Android, iOS, Website): Website and maybe the chrome on Android

Browser, if a website issue (Firefox, Chrome, etc) : Chrome and all my other browsers

URLs (aka web addresses) of any relevant observations or pages: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&user_id=zinogre&verifiable=any

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’m in China. I can view observations on PC until last week but now I can’t. The observation and Explore pages become blank after loading. BTW, before this the upload page was unavailable on PC.


Step 2: other pages (home page, projects, lists, edit observations, a single observation, even the observation page in the project) work well.

Step 3: My other Chinese friends have the same problem.

BTW, the website works well on my iPhone.

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I don’t think we’ve made any major changes on our end, but the website utilizes Google Maps, and some code is also stored on Google. Perhaps Some new external blockers have been added for Google stuff? In the past most of the feedback we’ve gotten from users in China is that the site not really functional without a VPN, likely because of our use of Google products, but I can’t personally confirm that.

Can you open your browser’s console on some of these pages that don’t work and send screenshots that include the console?

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My Observation page

Other pages

i think this has to do with the way the website tries to remember whether your last view of the Explore or My Observations page was a map view, grid view, or list view. since the grid view is working for you on your phone, it should also work for you in your desktop browser.

however, you might have to explicitly view the page in the grid view one time in order for the page to understand that you want to default to the grid view rather than the map view. try going directly to the grid view in your desktop web browser: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?subview=grid.

from there, you should be able to view the Explore page in either grid view or list view. but if you click on the button for map view, you might have to go explicitly back to the grid view using the link above.

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Thank you! I tried that link but unfortunately the page was still blank.

I agree with tiwane that this problem is related to the google map. In China iPhone uses AMAP to replace google map so both iOS app (everything works well) and IOS browser (can’t see the map information, though) work well for iNat.
Android doesn’t have this map replacement so the browser on my Android behaves just like my PC browser.

Yeah, we’re pretty sure this has to do with Google being blocked in China and perhaps something changed there recently when it came to blocking Google Maps. Another user from China emailed us with what looks to be the same issue and it started recently as well, in the past week or so. Unfortunately I don’t think there’s much we can do about it, I’m sorry.

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