Observations in the future

I was just looking at observations made today so far, and came across a whole bunch that will apparently be made some time much later today - up to 18 hours later:

Is there any point in telling the observer there is something wrong with their observation time? Or does it not matter too much?

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Time zones are so messed up on iNat that I wouldn’t bother people with just hours of weird time.


It shouldn’t be possible for someone to make an observation with a date that’s in the future in relation to when the observation was created. It might be related to how relative dates are displayed.


You cannot make an observation with a date that’s in the future, but you can make an observation with a time that is in the future. I’ve seen this when I forget to correct for daylight savings on my camera.

I made a test observation to verify. I can submit an observation for 11:10 PM EST at 7:11 PM EST.


Thanks! Yeah, our devs clarified this for me as well.


@vireya in this case I’d make a comment and ask them to take a look at the observations’ date/time.

@swampster we can take a look at including time in the restriction, but that might create more problems than it solves.


OK, I have left a comment on one of the observations. Will leave it at that.

The observer responded to my comment, explained how it happened, and fixed the date on all the observations.

The explanation was that they set the date manually, and chose “today”, but didn’t notice that it was after midnight, so the wrong day.


I can confirm that it is possible to add observations with times in the future as I have accidentally done it few times- although a more extreme case. When I’ve travelled to the US from the UK and submitted observations taken in the US on my camera (and I have forgot to change the time on the camera) the observation is submitted using the timestamp on the photo. On my case this has meant the observations are marked as being seen 6 hours ahead of when they actually were. When an observations was recorded after 6PM, this pushed it into the early hours of the next morning- as this was the time the picture was taken in Greenwich Mean Time, although it was evening in Central Time.

I ended up catching this when looking at recent observations on my iNaturalist app, which would list them as “occurring in 6 hours”. I have since gone back through and manually corrected them.

Also, on a slightly related note, I have noticed when I submit observations in the US with the right time, the observation has its time recorded in CST, while the submission was in GMT. I can only assume this is because my iNaturalist network is iNaturalist UK, but the submission occurred in Wisconsin, within central timezone territory. An example of this can be seen here:


This was also an observation where I had to go back and correct both the time AND the date, as it originally was recorded as having been observed in the early hours of 28th December, when it was actually evening 27th, due to the quirk described above.

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