Trying to search for Place "Savannah, Georgia", comes up with Place, "Savannah National Wildlife Refuge"

Hello, I’m not sure if this is an actual bug/glitch, or just a side-effect of the way the site works (possibly because the wildlife refuge is automatically listed as “savannah georgia” as the location), but when I try to type in the Location box to find the Place of Savannah Georgia, it pops up with matching suggestion, but when I click on it, it then takes me to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, which doesn’t actually encompass the city of Savannah.

You can see both Places when you click on the “Places of Interest” and go to the “Community Curated” list, and click on them there, but as far as I can tell, there’s no way to get to the “Savannah, Georgia” place on the map just by typing the name into the location, which is the easiest way to do it.

Is there a way to change how these two Places are named so that typing “Savannah, Georgia” selects the Savannah Georiga location, and typing something like “Savannah National Wildlife Refuge” shows the wildlife refuge, since typing that in right now doesn’t offer anything?

screenshots to show the Places. I also had a gif to demonstrate but it’s not loading…

inaturalist place problem1

A search for the city where I live, Santa Rosa, California, results in “Santa Rosa Creek Trail (Delta Ponds), CA, US.” The database being searched doesn’t have most city boundaries as places, and where it has multiple names that seem to match, as in your case, there is no obvious mechanism that prioritizes them.

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Use a comma between ‘Savannah’ and ‘Georgia’. The town is the first result in my search, and the 6th if I just type ‘Savannah’ with nothing else.

When I click on it it takes me directly to the town page, not Savanna NWF.

Browser interface.

generally, if you want to filter for a place on the Explore screen, you should use the Location box (X in the screenshot below) only as a fallback if Filters > More Filters > Places (Y in the screenshot) does not return the place you’re looking for.

Y will search only among places defined within iNaturalist. X will search for places in Google and then try to match the result to a place in iNaturalist, and sometimes that process doesn’t work as you would expect. (X is useful in cases where the place is not defined in iNaturalist, and in such a case, the Google place can be used as the basis for a bounding box within which your observation search will occur.)

one day the Explore screen will be redesigned to make the distinction between the Location search and the Places search more obvious, but it will probably be a while before that happens.


In my experirence, the Location box is less likely to have the place I’m looking for.

Which leads to some really odd results. For “Greater Antilles,” Y leads exactly where you’d expect – to the Caribbean archipelago. The same search in X gives only a street in DuBois, Pennsylvania named “Greater Antilles Court,” where, unsurprisingly, there are no observations.

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I hate to say it, but X doesn’t work worth a flip in a lot of cases either. LIttle Rock, AR returns a boundary for Little Rock, Central High School. I really like iNat but the wonky Location Features (and the screwy results when you try to filter unknowns) are major drawbacks to the user experience.

there is no place established in iNat for Little Rock. so i think the best thing to do in this particular case is to create a place for the city, since it’s big enough to deserve a place of its own.

here’s some information about how i would go about doing that, if you’re interested in trying to create the place: (if you’re having problems creating the place, i can create one for the city when i get some time later.)


Right, that’s why @pisum suggested using Y first, and only using X if Y fails.

Keep in mind that in many cases, iNat is only as good as the users make it. If you don’t like how a location search works, you can improve it as @pisum has suggested. iNat admin could never keep up with all of this, but users who notice these issues can. So cool!

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it didn’t look like anyone has created a place in iNat for Little Rock yet. i was going to go ahead and make one, but it looks like Little Rock is one of those places with a core city and a lot of smaller cities surrounding it. so what would the locals consider most useful? a place representing just the actual city of Little Rock, or some other thing representing a metro area, perhaps?

here’s what just the city would look like (in yellow):

here’s what the Little Rock urban area would look like (in yellow):

here’s a collection of the cities that seem to roughly correspond with the urban area:

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