Questions regarding reverse geocoding (Kiawah Island Club geographic area)

The description you see under the map on the observation detail pages can get set by a variety of means, i.e. it is not meant to be consistent or under the system’s control. In fact, the observer can edit it to be whatever they want. We generally refer to this text as the “Locality Notes” or the place_guess (that’s it’s name in the database). Here are the ways it gets set automatically based on the software we have written:

  1. On the website, using the Uploader, searching for a place by name or clicking the map will populate the Locality Notes using Google Places Autocomplete API (search) or the Google Geocoding API (click) (the user can also change them manually at this point)
  2. If you submit an observation and the Locality Notes are blank, we will attempt to fill them out using the coordinates, precision, and iNat places that contain those coordinates.
  3. The Android app works similarly to the website and uses basically the same Google-based methods of turning coordinates and searches into place names
  4. The iPhone app does something similar except it uses the Apple equivalent of Google’s geocoding APIs.
  5. Seek works similarly to the other mobile apps, depending on what operating system it’s running on

That’s a very long way of saying that if you don’t like the Locality Notes you’re seeing, it’s probably because Google or Apple didn’t do a great job of turning coordinates into a place name. We have tried to work around those errors by ignoring address-level information from Google and Apple. There’s also a chance that people are manually editing the Locality Notes, or that we have some places in the iNat database with inaccurate boundaries, but given that there are a bunch of different observations with “Kiawah Island Club” in the Locality Notes and there is not iNat place with that name, I’m pretty sure you can blame Google or Apple for this one, so I suggest you let them know about this inaccuracy in their geocoding services.