Project? Place? - How to Survey a Personal Property

Five years ago my family redesigned our entire property - a tiny 6,700 sq foot suburban front & backyard - and incorporated hundreds of U.S. and/or PA native plants.

I have generally refrained from adding cultivated plants to my iNat observations, but the few times I’ve done so I’ve always been careful to check the Cutivated box.

I’m especially interested in surveying the growth and behavior of the native plant species we’ve purchased from local Conservancies. I will be confident on all of my IDs because I quite literally purchased & planted each one.

I’d be interested in hearing some suggestions for how to do it - should I create a Place, so my observations are collected under that Place? Should I create a Project to pull location-specific or tag-specific observations together?

Also - is it possible to create a private Place? As this will be my personal property and I grow vulnerable species, I do not wish to create a Place as if it is a city park or other such public space.

And, one more question…while many of the plants will be PA native species, if I’ve purchased and planted them…I should mark them as Cultivated, correct?

Thanks in advance for any of your thoughtful suggestions.


What I’ve done is created a temporary place (make a place and then delete it afterwards) that includes our property and then use that place to batch edit observations and obscure all the locations and add them to a traditional project. Using this method none of the locations should be publicly visible as long as you’re careful to obscure every observation. I was initially planning to just use a tag instead of a project (less visible, just as easy to search), but the batch editing got an error trying to add a tag to so many observations and didn’t work. So basically, yes a place/project or a tag could work just as well depending on which you prefer or which works for you.

If you’re less concerned about privacy then just making a place and a collection project for that place would work.

Not yet, feature request here:

Yep, they’re not wild. Although if new plants grow from seeds dropped by the cultivated plants then technically you can count them as wild.

I’m not sure if I’m interpreting your post correctly, but if you’re just interested in tracking the cultivated plants on your property as opposed to everything you observed on your property, then you could just do something as simple as bookmarking a search filter for all observations by you that are not wild (&captive=true).


Thank you for your suggestions. Yea, it’s the plants I’d like to track. I consider any animal life within the property as ‘wild.’

Essentially, I want to be able to filter my observations to look at a single species in various states (seedling, growing, flowering, going-to-seed, etc.). For example, this spring I misidentified barrenwort as ginseng b/c they grow near one another and I’m not yet used to seeing them in early spring. I have dozens of photographs of various stages of all my plant life but now more and more plants are self-seeding and appearing where I did not plant them…so, a visual survey will help me a lot.

After reading your suggestions I am wondering if creating a tag may be the simplest option. How are tags supposed to be used on iNat? My tags tend to be irrelevant because they carry into iNat from my keywording on files - I’ve often wondered if tags are simply for personal organization or do they serve a research purpose?


They are just for personal use (although anyone can search them), since you can’t add tags to other users’ observations. Observation fields are the equivalent for research purposes I guess. A lot of people use tags to track their iNat or country/state firsts, I like to collect my underwater observations, observations where I used a microscope, etc.


My situation is unusual - my garden has been on tours, and I’ve held workshops in my garden - so I’m not concerned with my Place being private. But here’s what I did:

  1. I created a Place for my property:
    At 5,000 square feet, my property is even smaller than yours. There are some issues with geolocation and accuracy for small places. I’m happy to get into my workarounds if you want to go that route.

  2. I created a Project for the Place:

Earlier this year, @carrieseltzer created an Umbrella Project for all these Home projects:

Some of them use obscured locations for their Observations. I encourage you to take a look at those Projects for other approaches that might work for you. And once you have your Project setup the way you like, let them know, so they can add your Home Project to the list!



I created a Place. And, I created a Project.

But, not one of the 490 Observations that meet the criteria is coming into my Project page; they do appear in the Project Preview?!?

Any idea(s) why this may be happening? When I go to one of the observations, and click on “Details” next to its observation location (Two Gates Gardens), my Project is visible…but that observation is not showing up on the Project page.

So, why would the observation be attached to Two Gates Gardens but not be eligible to appear in my Project?

Maybe it’s because the location on the observations is obscured?

I was afraid of that…hmmm, I’m not entirely sure I wish to make it Public b/c we are stewards of some vulnerable species.

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All (or nearly all) of my observations were obscured and they still showed up in search for the tiny temporary place I made. I can see my own obscured observations within the place but they wouldn’t show up in the place for anyone else. I think that’s why this collection project didn’t work - the collection project shows what is visible to everyone.

If you want a project, you have to either have all the observations obscured and use a traditional project (you can use the place to filter your observations and batch add them to the project), or have all the observations unobscured and use a collection project. Obscured locations won’t show up in a collection project if the place is significantly smaller than the obscuration rectangle.


From this topic, you can find this link to more information about how Places/Collection projects interact with obscured locations.

As for the place you created, it currently has no shape to it, only a single point. If you want to use it to automatically collect observations, you should give it a shape. If you want to hide your location and keep your observations obscured, you should probably delete the place.


I spent all day yesterday trying to draw a polygon around it and thought it had been done correctly. I don’t feel entirely comfortable with it being Public, so I just deleted it. I deleted the Project too.

Thanks to everyone for your time & expertise.

How would one get a project included in this umbrella?

edit: It looks like the project journal spells it out.

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I see later in the thread that you decided to delete. I understand.

When the “Accuracy” - the circle around the placement of the GPS location - is too large relative to the place, it won’t count, even if the center of the circle is within the boundaries of the place. It’s not an exact value, but the limit for my place, which is 50x100 feet, seems to be 10-12 meters, roughly 30-36 feet. It may also matter whether it’s closer to the center or edge of the place boundaries.

So smaller places are more affected by GPS accuracy. iNaturalist allows you to change the size of the accuracy circle, down to 1 meter, which would be adequate for any size of Place.

As others pointed out in the thread, obscured locations and small places are fundamentally incompatible for automatic assignment. A traditional project - where Observations are added manually - would still work. But if your stewardship location is small and known or discoverable, and contains sensitive species, it;s probably best to keep them out of any Project or Place.


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