Some observation locations seem to be randomly obscured

We’re working on very small islands in East Malaysia and our accuracy circle is set appropriately low, (generally 1km) so as to only encompass this island and this reef.

Google maps is apparently a little confused by islands, and even more so by reefs that don’t break the surface, particularly in naming them. I think this may have something to do with my problem. We are apparently on Pulau (island in the Malay language) Pompong, more generally known as PomPom island. Our nearest neighbour is Timba Timba island. We have pins for both PomPom and Timba Timba.

None of our observation locations are obscured but some of them seem to have become so.

This turtle is in “Sabah” not on PomPom, and his pin is in a random bit of sea. Likewise, this coral, is also way off base. This one from Kapikan has moved itself to the Philippines.

If I search our own observations for Pulau PomPom, I get 1206 and the bounding box is very close to the island. In map view, the further out I drag the bounding box, the more of these “misplaced” observations I catch (1215).

In a general map view, only the fishmarket observations should be randomly distributed because they have a large accuracy circle. All of the others should be clustered on islands. Instead we have observations all over the sea.

When I go to edit these observations, their locations are correct “Pulau PomPom” and geoprivacy is open.

How do I get these observations to go where they’re supposed to go and stay there?

Observations of threatened species are obscured to protect them. You can see the true locations on your edit observations page (, otherwise they will show at the obscured location.

More information here:


Well darn.

I know that makes sense. It’s just fairly arbitrary for coral. They’re all data deficient and vulnerable. It also doesn’t help us go “Do we have a record of Fimbriaphyllia ancora from Mataking?” without opening all of our observations individually to see where they came from.

Thanks for clearing that up @jwidness

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Not everything with a threatened Red List status is necessarily obscured. If the threats are climate change, habitat loss, etc., you can start a flag on the taxon and say that since there is no danger of collection or disturbance with public locations, they don’t need to be obscured.


I know users can trust projects with the true locations of their own obscured locations. Are project admins also able to see true locations if the obscuration is due to taxon geoprivacy (assuming the user has ‘trusted’ the project)? If so you could create a project to add them to…


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