Re geo-privacy obscure - clarify

Does any species noted with a brown VU designation has its location obscured by default? I assume by being identified as such, the confirming ID also is by default? My understanding is that postings marked geo-privacy obscure will not get confirmation to make it available to researchers and data sets.

What is the best way to obscure locations of rookeries (or nesting birds of relatively uncommon species in the area) of non-threatened species and still get a confirming ID so it can be made available to researchers.

As I read, even though an observation is obscured, it would be simple enough to locate the area in which the observation was seen by noting the locations of other open location postings made around the same time. Is the only limited remedy, not to post till after the seasonal nesting season has ended?

Yes, by default, vulnerable species are obscured.

I’m not sure I’m fully understanding, but this should be incorrect. Everyone can still see your observations, they would just have to ask you for the specific coordinates if it is obscured on the obs.

You can still get confirming IDs when the location is obscured, the observation is still “Needs ID.”

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They can’t guess the time as date is obscured too. You will get ids on anything but private with no problems, as obscuration shifts spot not so far away and it stays in the same region and is seen in geo-searches, while privated observations don’t appear there and take longer to id if all experts are using such filters.


Species with conservation status are generally obscured by default, though for some species for which threats are not related to human activity (eg, aren’t in danger of poaching), that auto-obscuring has been removed.

Researchers (or anyone) won’t get locations of observations that are obscured. The only exceptions to this (I think) are if you join a project and allow the curators of that project to see locations of your obscured observations, or you “manually” send the info for locations to someone (like in a message). Canada also has some special rules around govt types who can see location info, but I don’t know exactly how that works.

You can’t obscure the observations of other users, so those will always be present which seems to be your main concern. I would say that if the other observations are already present and unobscured, the status of yours may not matter one way or the other? You can also “manually” obscure by setting the location of your observation away from its true location and then making the uncertainty circle large enough to include the true location. You could hold off on posting observations until after hatchlings have left, and based on my understanding of your concerns, this might be your best option.

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“Obscure” spreads out the possible location over an area of about six square miles, I think. Identifiers still get an idea of where the organism was, which can be very important for identification.

It’s true that people can still find the organism if the habitat is very limited. @cthawley has some good ideas on how to deal with that.

The geoprivacy status to avoid is “private.” Then we observers have no evidence of where the observation was – not even what continent. Often identification is simply impossible. I don’t ID organisms marked “private” unless they’re easy and I can be confident nothing else in the world looks like that. Well, I’ll ID them if the observer writes a note giving me a good clue about where it was.

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Thanks. This is a relief.

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Great. I won’t have to flag these for posting later.

Tried to find cthawley’s recommendations on his web site and on his profile. Can you send me, if possible, a link? Thanks.

Just curious if you based this one some sort of iNat documentation or a how-to from someone else? If it needs clarification in the iNat documentation that would be good to know. There’s incorrect information that gets passed around.

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Unsure about whether I got it from the inaturalist site or elsewhere.

However, I tried to post a species noted as “EN” just now. I would assume that it would be in the conservation category and the locations and date of the observation and time of post would also be obscured

I wanted to test it that all of these would follow.

Location is obscured to the county level, that’s fine. But date of observation as noted by one respondent in this line of query/response did not obscure and neither did date of posting. I am concerned about the date of observation being open since one could easily trace the location from other observations made on that day and even get, if time of observation is included, to pretty much the location I am trying to obscure.

I deleted the observation.

I also noted on another posting of that same species in Florida, also noted as “EN”. The location is given, time and date of posting and observation also.

Can you explain why an species noted as endangered in this state and on the FNAI list would not have its location/time and place of observation and time and place of posting not obscured by default?

I would really like to post any endangered or threatened species to in order to help agencies which are tasked with tracking these species information. But, not at the expense of the threatened or endangered species.

You as observer see both true location and true date.


However, I checked a post from someone else of that same species (also noted as “EN” on that post) and the location of that observation (a nature preserve) was given and day and time of observation and day and time of posting. I did not post that – I found that by doing a search for that species.

Not every species with that status is obscured, often population is decreasing, but it’s not connected with poaching or disturbance, so there’s no need to obscure locations of all observations.
If you disagree with lack of obscuration you always can add a flag with your reasoning, curators can change it back to obscured. It’s hard to comment without knowing the species.

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So, if I manually assign obscure location to my post, I understand that the location will be generalized over a larger area, but will date and time of observation be also obscured?

Given that I posted other observations before and after those photos were taken, the location of the obscured site could easily be found from the specific area of the observations.

If you manually obscure the observation both location and date will be obscured, you can post it also after all photos of that day or the other day, so order of photos doesn’t give a clue.

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Thanks. Will try waiting to post.


Sorry. This bit at the end of @cthawley comment on this thread was what I was referring to.

The limited experience I have indicates VU locations should appear in a box. This one at the time I searched it out has a specific location and Geoprivacy details read ‘open’. Is that because the identification remains unverified?

If you check the “Status” tab on the taxon page, you can see the conservation statuses and taxon geoprivacy for different locations, like here:

There is no obscuring on this species, I would guess because it isn’t threatened by poaching or similar. Observations will still be auto-obscured even if they only have on initial ID for a protected taxon with obscuring.


Species is not poached (its meat is unedible for humans because it eats fish), it’s just pretty rare on the most of its range, mostly because of transformation of wetlands and also fishing.

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