View true locations on maps for observations with trusted hidden coordinates


Sounds like maybe this is an uncommon issue because I use iNaturalist a little bit differently than most. I may just have to deal with it for now.

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In short, i draw a strong boundary between people choosing to obscure and auto obscure, because my take is when people are choosing to obscure, they wouldn’t have posted the data anyway. Auto obscure is forced on us from above, and makes sense in some cases, but is a very powerful and impactful thing and can be harmful if overused. I think most people obscure for privacy. If you are obscuring because you think other people shouldn’t have access to an area, it’s kind of a grey area in my mind but i am not opposed to you doing it, and have done it in limited cases before. However most of my obscuring is just because i am on private land and don’t know if the landowner wants that data shared (or else i am the landowner). Truth be told deep in my heart i don’t really think it should be legal to exclude other people from open space that isn’t near your house or business, but that’s a whole other worm hole and i don’t impose that on my obscuring. If you want to discuss further, send me a message or else make a post here: . I’m always happy to share my thoughts on this though it does make me kind of emotional and i will try to limit that :)


I too really take issue with not being able to see my own records in certain views. This is especially true on the App when trying to relocate previously posted records. Perhaps there could be a switch implemented on the App (or other web map view) to just see your own records, with true coordinates.


Unfortunately I think the map tile caching issue is probably still the main bottleneck here so I’m not sure it’s possible. Happy to inquire, though.

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OK, this might be something we can do. I’ll file an issue for it.


Update: this likely won’t be implemented until we revamp the entire Explore page.

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Opening until implemented or staff decide not to move forward with the request.

I have give or take almost 10,000 obscured observations. I’ve never used GIS.

I didn’t realise this was going to be a problem. I specifically sought out an endangered species in an area to map its locations and densities. I put up 53 observations expecting to better understand where the dense patches were and where the lone plants were and to be able to see where the older and younger ones were. And also to see the areas where none were found. It was rather disappointing to find that I couldn’t see my own observations on a map all at the same time. It makes discerning information from these observations that much more difficult.

I found a workaround.
By going to my Dashboard and selecting the Observations tab (in blue writing) and then using the search to narrow the results the map on the right of the screen shows the pins for their true locations. The map can be expanded to full screen.


I was going to suggest that as well

You can narrow by taxon you want to look at at that time. If you have obscured obs in more than one area you can narrow by something like county. You can also add “obscured” as a search parameter. If that is still more than 200 (that was the limit right?) You can go to like the last page of obs of the results and it will show the locations.

When you look at this observation: it is shown in the right place on the map. But when you ask for all observations in that area it does not appear, and when you look at all observations of curlews in the UK it is given a different location, miles away to the north. Spooky.

I use Edge or Firefox on Windows 10.

I cannot find an explanation anywhere of how iNaturalist handles locations. It is a bit weird that the drop down list for Explore is different from that for Identify. And is it possible to see on a map what actual area the places chosen from either of these actually refer to?

Welcome to the forum!
I moved your post to this existing topic, because this is a known issue. Your observation is obscured for everyone else who views it on both the observation page and the Explore map, but for you, the true location is visible on the observation page only. Here’s what I see on the observation page:

The location is obscured for this species because it is listed as near threatened by the IUCN.

You can learn more about geoprivacy here.

I’m not sure I understand what you mean by

I too would love to see this feature. I think it should be something you can click on in the “filter” section if not by default already.
The benefit is being able to easier locate your own observations for help in identifying other people’s observations as well as letting those you share your obscure and private observations with see the true locations on a map.
The work around I found is to export my observations as a csv file and then import that csv into google earth using the true lat long columns, not the regular lat long columns.

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I also would like this feature, I am for open observations as here in Slovakia where I live most people hide observations but in some cases - rare orchids or bugs I also tend to hide. I hate it because I can not see it so when I want to check all pleaces where I saw particular species I only see shaded circles. Another reason to hide is if you are on private property or in a reservation where you should not be (but everyone goes there), or yet another is when I observe on business trips, hard to explain it was only in spare time. BTW the workaround with observations and filter doesn’t work for me.

I’d love to have this feature also because most of my obscured observations are ones that are made at home and I’d really like to be able to see how many/what species I’ve observed in my own yard.

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you can do this right now by placing these observations in a “home” traditional project, tagging such observations with a “home” tag, or something like that.

@tiwane mentioned earlier:

i read the original request here as displaying true coordinates, not necessarily also filtering based on true coordinates. it’s unclear (to me) whether the future change that iNat staff were contemplating was simply display or also included filtering.