Time Zone is Wrong on So Many of My Observations

Just finally noticed, after how many years and how many thousand observations?, that I’ve been uploading some (many?) of them with the wrong time zone. What I don’t get is that I recently did a batch from Arizona and they all went through, apparently, with the correct zone. Now as I do more of them from the same location, same cameras, they’ve got the wrong zone. Why?

Having “Is this worth it?” thoughts as I wait for a batch edit of obs from another location to finish batch editing. :/

Edited to add: Batch editing is working much faster than earlier so I’m cleaning up whatever I can find. Still timing out so I have to do each batch twice, though. Just assuming I’ll have to upload and then batch edit any future obs from different time zones as I don’t see an easier way to do it on the bulk uploader.


I noticed the time zone was wrong when making my observations, on the website, and I was able to edit it. Haven’t seen them wrong since. Maybe that helps. :-)

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If you’re uploading via the web, iNat will assign your account’s current time zone (what @allycouch posted) setting to all observations you upload. If I go on a trip, I try to remember to change my account’s time zone to my destination’s time zone when I upload photos from there. Doesn’t always happen, however, I often forget. Batch editing is the best way to fix it.

Here’s a discussion about setting time zones automatically: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/automatic-time-zones/7760 Unfortunately, time zones are complicated.


I don’t know what your personal use cases are, but many research projects wouldn’t need a correct time zone to find your observations useful. For example, the Map of Life project is mostly interested in presence only data. This isn’t to suggest you should knowingly leave in place incorrect information, just that even if your incorrect information gets fed into GBIF, it can still prove to be useful to someone.

It may also be worth pointing out here that you can upload observations with only a date, and no time information at all if that turns out to be easier for you.


What about making notifications for new users? Now with preparing to CNC I see thousands of observations with Hawaiian time automatically set for them, I can’t message all users, and not all will see comments, but faster they realize it the better.
Plus some time zones make time on observation disabled, e.g. when I had automatic time zone most obs were under Hawaiian, but part was (and still is) at UTC and last didn’t show any time at all and you couldn’t realize it’s wrong until editing the ob.


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