Range Covered by the 'Seen Nearby' Feature

While uploading an observation from Sri Lanka, I had to edit the location manually, since I was already out of the place from where I recorded it.
While trying to set the correct location, I noticed that the site gave me the name of the same species under the ‘Seen Nearby’ list for two different locations (ie. It showed the name of Starfruit as ‘Seen Nearby’ for both the Central Province of Sri Lanka and Medadumbara, which I think has a distance of about 31km between them).
What is the approximate range that is covered by the ‘Seen Nearby’ feature and how can I use it more accurately to get the correct species?
You can view the observation stated above here:


I have also often wondered within what range an species counts as "Seen Nearby.
I’m not sure what it is, but I’m curious to see what others have to say…

1 Like

I frequently see this and have always wondered how far away that can be. I hope to hear some parameters or clarity in the matter.

I could be wrong, but I think it means within 100 km?

I hope that as iNat accumulates more and more records, the “Seen Nearby” circle can maybe be made smaller?

1 Like

From the old group :

So it is 100 km, and within 45 calendar days (anyyear +/- 45 days) so if you see something in March and the only prior iNat record was from the exact same gps but in September, it will not be considered as seen nearby

Please note

  • there are clear bugs where it does not get it right, where something should qualify but is not reported as seen nearby, II have documented this several times and communicated it, I’ve never heard back on those bugs
  • you should not consider something not reported as seen nearby as not a viable choice, both due to the 45 days criteria, but it may just be there are no iNat records from it yet, especially outside busy usage areas

What is the value of restricting Nearby to 45 days?

That seems to make plant suggestions less useful?


i agree, for plants at least that should be removed or at least applied to the same 45 day period on past years too


As I understand it, it is 45 days from the day of the year, but any year, not just the current one.


I would be in favour of removing this criterion completely, and basing “Seen Nearby” only on location. Otherwise, this is only useful for species which have a lot of records already, which are already likely to come high up on the list of AI suggestions.


With Kniphofia, for example, time of flowering is characteristic, and of course would be depoendant on which hemisphere…


Right, but the species could still be recorded without flowers, and for many species, both temperate and tropical, they can be found in some form throughout most or all of the year. I just find it weird to have this very restrictive temporal window to mark things as “Seen Nearby” (which means that species that have actually be seen nearby won’t show as such), accompanied by offering AI suggestions that are completely unrestricted either geographically or temporally. It makes it harder to pick out what has actually been seen nearby.

If we had “seen nearby and in this season” (i.e. within 45 days of the date) and also simply “seen nearby” (whenever) - perhaps with a larger radius - and made it more obvious that other suggestions would be new records on iNat for the area, the AI suggestions would start to become more useful.


Cape Town is slowly recovering from 3 years of drought. Some of our plants are blooming out of season, grateful that this winter is bringing us some rain.
Nearby is useful since we have many endemics - more about that particular microclimate and soil, than ‘blooms in June’.


This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.