Projects and location


I guess the excess around the edges is either spillout of habitat or the forest service leaving a buffer.

I learn something new every day.

@matt227 I think @Marina_Gorbunova has the solution here. The accuracy on some of your observations is 830m. If the accuracy is too wide, the system may not be recognizing your observations as meeting the project criteria. I would try reducing the accuracy radius to something much narrower (like 250m) and see if that makes a difference.

Also: observations cannot be manually added to a collection-type project. The system is collecting the records automatically. That’s why nothing is happening when you type in the name of the project. Only traditional-type projects (i.e. ones you must join) allow - or require - manual addition of records.

EDIT: I’ve just discovered another possible issue. Does the Moquah Barrens State Natural Area overlap a county boundary? If it does, the system may not be adding your observations to the project because the records’ accuracy radius crosses the boundary of a standard place (in this case, Bayfield County). Five or six years ago, I discovered some of my iNat observations in Southwestern Ontario were not displaying their location correctly because the accuracy radius extended outside the county.

I hope this is helpful!

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When you make an iNat observation, you should imagine that iNat is asking you “what are the coordinates of your observation?”, not the more generic “where did you see it?”

While “Moquah Barrens State Natural Area” is a reasonable answer to the second question, it doesn’t work as an answer to the first question – “Moquah Barrens” is not a coordinate point, it is a polygon. Likewise the project “Moquah Barrens” is not a coordinate location, it is a project using the boundaries of Moquah Barrens State Natural Area.

However, iNat understands that people often don’t know the coordinates of their location, they only know a name or address, i.e. a text description of where they were. So to facilitate entering location information, iNat uses Google to try to get coordinates from a text description – this is called geocoding. For example, you can say you were at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, and Google will tell iNat to use 38.8977149, 77.03660769999999 as the location:

If you say you were in Yellowstone National Park, this is what Google gives iNat:

Google’s geocoding isn’t perfect, and especially so for places outside populated areas. So anytime you use Google’s geocoding to map your location, you should double check that it looks appropriate and refine it yourself if possible. For example, after I got the Yellowstone result, I might refine the circle to just the area around Old Faithful by moving and resizing the circle:

When a project tries to determine if your observation is in it, it checks two things: are the coordinates within the project area, and is the accuracy circle within the bounding box of the project. The bounding box is the smallest rectangle that can contain the project, not the exact polygon of the project:

As stated above, your observations will be added to the Moquah Barrens project as long as the coordinates are within the bounds and the accuracy circle is within the bounding box (which for this project is essentially identical to the true bounds).


Good to know. Thanks for this explanation with good visuals.

Thanks for these tips, now if I can just find a way to do mass edit on a series of observations


I have a camera that can get gps coordinates, just not the smart phone to go with it.


From your Edit Observations page, select Batch Edit, then check the ones you want to change. Then choose Edit Selected and open the Batch Operations panel. There is a place to edit the location and then Apply down to all observations.



If your camera is embedding GPS coordinates in the EXIF data of your photos, the uploader should be able to read it.


Thank you all! :rainbow:


I do entirely the opposite, often reducing my ‘circle’ to 2 metres or less and move the circle using my mouse to indicate exactly where I saw the related organism/where the organism actually was… Surely expanding the accuracy circle makes the observation more ‘vague’ and less precise !? The site location will be covered by both the site-name/location-name attached to observation and the geographical positioning which will place the observation within a specific named site.

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