Place of observation - differences between app and web upload

I noticed that when I upload observations through the website, observations are coming up with “Melbourne” as the general place of observation. When I upload through the ios inaturalist app, the place of observation is more specific, eg showing the suburb of Melbourne in which the observation was made or the name of the National Park etc. I prefer it to show the more specific place, however also prefer to upload through the website. Is there any way to make the website recognise the more specific location (other than me changing the geo information for each observation manually)?


Same problem. I’m in California. I have an area where I observe that is in two counties. The site won’t take my specific targeted location. The observations may be yards apart but end up in two big bins that do not relate. Elevational change is very important where I observe since I live in a mountainous area. It’s frustrating. The solution seems to be to add location info into the notes.

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do you think you could walk us through the exact process you use on the website? it would help me figure out what may be going wrong.

I don’t know if it’s related but I find if I add photos after the fact instead of with the app the location resolution is a lot worse.

I use the website. My observations always come up in a general location (i.e. Canada). I type in the location in the line, using my city regions (i.e Lord Roberts, Winnipeg). I then manually move the location (or the map) down to where I made the observation, increase magnification and put the place approximately where I made the observation. I don’t know how the app works, but I’m used to this system and it works fine.

This name doesn’t affect anything, it also more often shows ranom names and areas than correct address, so just don’t care about it, be sure your pin is in a correct place, it’s all that matters.

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The place name you see under the map is the “locality note” of the observation, which we get from map providers (Apple for our iOS app, Google for Android app and website). Is that what you’re referring to? eg

You can read more about locality notes in in this FAQ. Like @fffffffff says, it’s not really factored into the observation at all and can sometimes be incorrect or weirdly different for locations that are near to each other. For example, all of these observations of mine were taking in the MLK Jr. Shoreline Regional Park in Oakland (some only meters apart), but not all have that as their locality note:

As @astra_the_dragon said, though, what we’d need are specifics, like a walkthough of your process that includes screenshots and URLs if possible, so that we all know what you’re referring to.


I have the location for a Forest Service road pinned on my map. If I select that road and hit update at the bottom the observation ignores it and drops in Shasta County. Even if I’m in Siskiyou. The road is about four miles long. It straddles two counties. An exact location does not populate. Elevation and location are extremely important here in Siskiyou, Modoc, Trinity and Shasta. I’m having to screen shot the location from my phone then add the photo to the observation. Observers who return to the same discrete area over a season and years should be able to enter exact locations.

So, is it just a name problem or actually location problem? If you use pinned place, but then change the circle, name changes.

Thanks everyone for your responses!
To demonstrate what I am talking about, I have uploaded the same observation twice, once using the app on my phone and once through the website upload function (hope the picture will show correctly):

The phone upload shows the specific locality name, in this case “Dandenong Ranges National Park”, while the website upload transforms this into “Melbourne” - I assume because the park is within the greater Melbourne area.
Yes both observations are shown correctly with pins on the map, I just would like to see the more specific location in the list view rather than the unspecific one. I am wondering why the website can’t or won’t pick that info up?

It looks like you’re using an iPhone. When an observation is made with the iOS app, iNat gets locality notes from Apple Maps, as opposed to Google Maps when an observation is made via the website or Android app, so I suspect that’s why the locality notes are different.

But all that is done on the map service’s end, it’s a bit of a black box to us. For example, I made this observation and this observation no more than 40-50 feet apart and Google Maps gave us the park name for one, the city name for the other.

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