Option to display obscuration rectangles grid on Explore map

When an observation is obscured, its visible location is randomly placed within a 0.2*0.2 degree square. Assuming my understanding of obscuring is correct, then the borders of these squares, if visible, would form a grid over the earth. I would like for there to be an option to see this grid on the explore map page. This would be useful for providing an idea of what range the obscured observations might be in, without giving away their true location.

The obscuration area is shown on the map for each obscured observation:
Wouldn’t this view give you the same information without needing to see the entire grid?

Not if I want to see several species, or apply any other filters to the map view. Wouldn’t even work if I want to see more than two obscured squares at once.

if you want to see several species in a single 0.2 deg x 0.2 deg box, you can define a 0.2 deg x 0.2 deg search box in the Explore page.

i’m struggling to imagine an actual use case for displaying a 0.2 deg x 0.2 deg graticule though. seems like something like that would mostly be counterproductive because it would make it easier for people to visualize en masse where obscured observations might be. i think the obscuration box shown when you view a single observation is already good enough for the way i imagine most people interact with the system.

Well, yes, that’s the main reason I’m interested in it. For example, lots of snakes in my province are obscured. Seeing where the boxes are allows me to better understand the approximate range that those snakes fall into. It still doesn’t say exactly where they are. It doesn’t provide any new information on the location of the snakes, but allows me to read the obscured data more easily.

Do you want the equivalent for this type of view (from ebird) where each obscuration rectangle indicates in some way how many observations there are?


That’s pretty much it! Ideally it would also show the current observation display system (the points) alongside that type of map, but that map type alone would be so great

it may not provide any new information, but it’s a new way to view the information. there’s a fine balance between sharing information and protecting the locations of observations, and i just don’t see a compelling enough case here to make it a lot easier to visualize the locations of obscured observations en masse. right now, you at least have to work a little to get a better idea of where a specific obscured observation might actually be, and i think that’s the way it should be for obscured observations. the pins that you see are already in the 0.2 deg x 0.2 deg vicinity, and i think that’s already good enough.

i like the eBird way of displaying information, but i don’t think you should be able to see pins at the same time, too. besides what i said above, the pins would just clutter up this kind of map too much, i think.

Do you think it would at least be ok to display non-obscured pins at the same time?

i think if an eBird type density map is developed, it should not be easy for people to overlay the pins – obscured or non-obscured – on top of it. suppose they do what you’re suggesting and overlay just non-obscured pins by default. i can think of at least one example of a user who makes almost exclusively obscured observations, almost exclusively at their own property. that user has a handful of non-obscured observations that actually reveal the true location of their property. right now, those non-obscured markers are hidden in plain sight among all the obscured markers. your proposed setup would immediately highlight exactly where that property is. certainly, it’s possible to use the existing system to figure out where the property is, but it’s not obvious to most people how to do it, and i don’t think it’s wise to simplify that process.

1 Like

Does that not fall on that user for not obscuring those coordinates? I don’t want to sound harsh, but obscuring doesn’t exist so that non-obscured coordinates can blend in with the obscured ones.

1 Like

it does, but like i mentioned before, it may not be obvious for most people how to find those unobscured observations, and that extends to an observer’s ability to find their own problematic observations.

there are other examples of situations where what you’re suggesting could significantly reduce the effectiveness of obscuration. i won’t really get into details because i don’t want to provide ideas or a how-to for how to defeat the obscuration. but just think about why you’re asking for this in the first place. it’ll improve your ability to get an idea of where obscured observations occur, right?

so it’s like i said before:

1 Like

So what you’re saying is that a large part of the effectiveness of obscuring comes not from the obscuring itself, but from how hard it makes it to read the map?

define, please.

By “how hard it makes it to read the map”, I mean making the map messy with obscured points without the ability to properly interpret the points on the map and understand what you’re really looking at

It is 0.2 degrees based on the actual location of the sighting. They are not fixed boxes. So the borders for something at 43.45 north are different than for something at 43.43 north.

There are an infinite number of boxes.

i think they actually are finite, fixed boxes. if two different observations have lat 43.45 and 43.43, then they will both both be found in obscuration boxes where the N and S borders are 43.6 and 43.4.

whenever i see an obscured dot, i just say in my head that it’s probably somewhere within 20km of that dot. easy. i think that’s a proper enough interpretation for most use cases, and it’s something you can already do. if you wanted a distance scale added to the maps, i would be in favor of that.

While that isn’t exactly what I’m going for with this post, it would be a nice addition to the explore map.