Record positioning method for coordinates and make it available in observations

Platform(s), such as mobile, website, API, other: all platforms

URLs (aka web addresses) of any pages, if relevant: Discussion started here: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/make-it-easier-to-distinguish-how-coordinates-were-created

Description of need:
The coordinates of observations are created in different ways:

  1. searching in the map in the uploader and accepting the searched location
  2. manually navigating the map in the uploader to select a point
  3. camera has built-in GPS
  4. mobile app automatically records coordinates
  5. geotagging via external app
  6. geotagging via external GPS device

Some of these methods are likely to result in less accurate and less precise locations than others - notably the first method (#1) in the list above. To give an example, if I search for “Denali”, the first result is a point with reasonable precision (< 1 km) but it’s highly unlikely that my observation is from the mountain peak itself - more likely from the vast national park of the same name.

My request is to ensure that the positioning method is being recorded in observations (as described by @jwidness here) and that it is available to users, who could, for example, filter out observations that were created through a simple google maps search that was not then modified by the observer moving the pin to a more accurate location. This would also be useful in diagnosing location errors.

Feature request details:
Verify that the fields positioning_method and positioning_device are being populated reliably, and make them available so that observations can be selected depending on the value of these fields. In the list of methods I’ve given above, I don’t think it’s important to distinguish items 3, 4, 5 and 6, but it would be useful to distinguish item 1, and items 1 and 2 should not be lumped together.

It would also be nice to record what text was used in the google maps search, but that might be more difficult and is not central to this request.

I like the idea in theory but I do agree with @kueda that there are so many unknowns regarding how a photo gets its coordinates that I don’t know how helpful this would be.

So this would be for someone who’s just entering a place name on the website or Android app and then not refining that result any more? What about pinned locations?

Yes, exactly. Even if it were only possible to identify these, and not separate other methods, it would be a useful feature.

If possible, I think it would be best to record how those pinned locations were originally created (through simple search, or whether refined manually), as well as that they were pinned. I don’t know how viable that is, and it’s more a nice-to-have feature than the one above, which would be directly useful.

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