Observations disappearing

(I haven’t posted this under bug reports because the list of questions there doesn’t exactly suit this.)

On two separate occasions so far, I have noticed that a handful of my observations go missing. This seems to have nothing to do with the device, browser or platform I’m accessing iNat from. It’s not a quantity that I instantly notice from the dashboard as something strange, but certain old observations don’t show up when I search for them, and on one occasion, all my observations from a certain location. I can be certain that it is not due to any regional legal restrictions (protected species, restricted areas or such.)

I’m not sure what’s causing this data loss to happen well after the observations were uploaded successfully and even identified to Research Grade.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

can you provide some details about the missing observations? the more information you provide, the easier it will be to try to figure out what could be wrong. when did you upload the observation? what was the observation date? taxon? location? when did you first notice it was missing?

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might it be a taxonomy change?

I wondered this too as I was going through to see what I had uploaded from a certain area before uploading anything else. I’ve had some where I swore I had already uploaded that observation, but it wasn’t there. I just uploaded ones that I thought I had, but couldn’t find again. Maybe they actually did disappear?

it will be unreasonably difficult to even try to figure this out unless you can provide more information. see my post above.

Could they be marked cultivated nd you’re searching within verifiable? Without specifics it’s unreal to answer.

The reason I don’t give more information is because I don’t have it. That is why I said I thought I had uploaded and just re uploaded. Seeing that someone else had a similar issue is the only reason I said anything. Because maybe I started to upload and then didn’t finish.

Mine wouldn’t be cultivated due to being bio blitz treks and the animals being wild. I personally don’t post animals from captive situations.

which is the (re)uploaded observation? knowing taxon, location, observed date, etc., it may be possible to look at old copies of the database to see if there might be another previous version of the observation.


Today I noticed that an observation of Herviella yatsui from Mumbai, India has gone missing. I must have uploaded it about a year ago. I don’t know if there’s a way to verify that it was uploaded, other than my word for it (it was the first iNat record for that species in the region, and I’m quite sure that there’s no way it wasn’t uploaded, or that I took it down later.)

This has also happened with a few other users who share a few iNat projects with me. Unfortunately I don’t recall the previous examples of this happening, should have made a not of those too.

could your missing observation be this one: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/102703460?

the location and date fit your description. it was once identified as Herviella yatsui but is no longer identified as such. you can search for observations with particular identifications using the ident_taxon_id parameter: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?ident_taxon_id=54337&place_id=any&subview=map&user_id=ajamalabad


Thamnophis cyrtopsis from Yecora, MX
Piaya cayana from Costa Rica
Crax rubra from Costa Rica

a few from that Costa Rica trip actually.

Merops viridis from Kinabatangan, Malaysia

The fact it was a chunk of them is why I thought I started uploading and then maybe didn’t finish and that was why I had a foggy memory of already uploading them.

When I did a search I did all observations by me from that area

Ah, indeed it is. My bad! Thank you.


PS - I also now see the observations that had gone missing for an entire location, on the map interface. I could have sworn I saw none of them in the ‘Your Observations’ section a little earlier. In any case, since I don’t have anything substantial to show as an odd case, I’m going to assume it was an unnoticed error on my part, and shall keep an eye out for something similar happening again.

Thank you!

EDIT: These observations.. They have ‘Angria Bank’ as the location name, but they still do not show up if I filter by that location name. Why is that?

Where do you search that location? Please post the link.

i checked the first 2 observations to see if a previously created copy existed in the AWS dataset as of 20210415, and i did not find either. since these are old observations, and i see that you edited the associated photos prior to 2021, i assume you would have first tried to upload them prior to 2021. if that’s the case, i assume you just never actually loaded these observations.

the location description stored on the observation is just text. the system won’t actually look for observations based on location description. when searching on geography, the system filters observations based on whether the observation’s coordinates fall within a place or other geographic boundary.

so if you want to find a particular observation by geography, you need to filter by a place boundary or custom bounding box or circle that actually contains your target observation.

these notes in these posts may be relevant:


Yeah that is what I figured. I’m reorganizing my photos on my external hard drive which is what made me notice because I was cross checking what was/needed to be uploaded. And half the time I was thinking “I swore I uploaded this one” but since I couldn’t find it, I uploaded it. That was a goal for this year anyway to make sure things were uploaded I wanted uploaded.

Thanks for verifying my memory is just fogged with starting to upload and then not completing it.

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