Projects and location

When I sometimes look up the location of a project, inaturalist lists the area with a very small circle. I correct this in my pin to encompass the whole area.

Case in point Moquah Barrens State Natural Area. 1 mile square. It shows up well on this map

But when putting it in as an observation it only takes up a circle 200ft wide in the middle of the actual area (mostly along the road and not near the parking area where most users are making their observations.

I typically make a new pin that encompasses the entire square mile, however, it gives it a new location and does not include it in the project. It won’t allow me to add it to the project, Moquah Barrens

The administrator even made me an administrator and it still won’t allow me to add things or even show me as a contributor.


If you know place is wrong on iNat you can create a new one with correct borders, now it’s just a square, not quite representative of any area.
If precision circle is bigger than the place itself or it’s too much out of borders it won’t get to the project, you need it smaller than it.

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You can’t select iNat place boundaries as the location for an observation. When you enter a place to lookup for your observation location, it asks Google for that location, not iNat. In this case, Google has a place called Moquah Barrens State Natural Area that it is returning, and iNat is drawing the circle from the Google place.

The new location name that it gives is also provided by Google and isn’t important to the inclusion in the project. To be in the project, the coordinates and accuracy circle need to be within the bounding box of the project, see details here. Because this project collects observations automatically, there is no way to manually add an observation.

Turns out that really is the boundary for this place :grin:

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So I am not what sure what to do.

Even the bounding box is inaccurate.

I tried doing the correct address to the boundaries but that doesn’t work either.

I guess the take away is that even if inaturalist indicates the wrong area then you should still put it in if you want it put in a project.

I would recommend using the circle to move the coordinates and uncertainty to the correct spot. Here I just used the mouse to move and resize the circle.

You can also use some other means (phone GPS/handheld GPS) to record the coordinates and then type those in below the map with an appropriate accuracy value.

I think the take away is probably that Google can’t be trusted to give good and precise coordinates from a text description/address, especially in somewhat remote/off the grid locations.


Ah, ok, I thought from original post it’s wrong, sorry.

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I have been trying to get my observations into the project Moquah Barrens. I can’t enter it into the observation, or in a bulk series of observations. I have tried using the location and typing in moquah barrens and getting the location and using just that. I have tried hitting a location that’s close. I am even an administrator to the project and I can’t do it. What is wrong?

The project is a collection project, so you cannot manually add observations to it. It is set up so that it automatically add all observations under these conditions:

  • must be observed in Moquah Barrens State Natural Area, US, WI
  • must have quality grades: research, needs ID

So any observations have to be in this place and not casual. They also probably cannot have auto-obscured coordinates because the place is too small. It looks like you have 6 observations in the project. What other observations are you trying to add?

My last 100 observations.

what makes an observation casual?

picking one of those observations at random, I can see that the coordinates are outside the place that has been defined for that project.
Here is the bottom left corner of your place:

and here is where one of your observations is, i.e. outside the area

I assume this is probably the case for a number of your other records too

yes and no. It is outside of where google has placed the border but not to where the actual border of the place. You can see that is still north of the road that marks the cutover stops.

This was one instance in which I knew the exact location of it, most others I kept the location to more generalized to the moquah barrens natural area.

you can effectively see the 1 mile square postage stamp here

Your observations need to be inside the boundaries of this place:

We do not use Google places for projects. Rather, the place is specific to iNat. So the “actual” border has to be defined on the site itself. Place boundaries are often incorrect, so if you have a better KML than this please flag the place so we can update it.

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what is KML

how fo I flag it?

It’s a file type, for geo boundaries. Button for flag is seen on the right, open the link for the place posted above.

(merging topics)

The border that iNat has matches both the image of the border map that I posted above, and also the boundary from the state GIS portal:

Question: If I observe something within an area (like Moquah Barrens) and give it an “accuracy” that includes some are outside the boundary of that area, do projects pick up that observation, or exclude it?

Centre of circle should be inside boundaries, so most of the circle should be inside too, but if it’s bigger than the place itself it doesn’t go to project as I remember.

For a small park where I wandered around, I often put the center of the circle in the center of the park, then make the circle big enough to include the whole park – all the corners. That usually makes the accuracy circle bigger than the park, though not by much. Sound like my observations wouldn’t be included, in this case.

Actually sedgequeen it fits the description of what i did to my pin exactly.


So lesson learned.

It still doesn’t answer why other methods I tried using including just selecting what the search gave me for the location.

Or why doesn’t it allow me to enter a project from the get go. It offers that and I know the name of the project, so why does nothing happen when I type it in?

Also is there a way to batch edit a group of my observations so that I may change the location all at once.