Why can't I see the true locations of some of my own observations in my own project or looking at my observations?

I can’t see the true locations for a taxon geoprivacy subspecies when I try to look at my own observations from my own project or “your observations” on the map. I only see the true location on the little inset map if I open up the individual record. Is there any way around this so that I could look at an area and see my own observations there?

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This has been the subject of at least 2 Feature Requests and might be implemented someday:


Thank you. I was hoping that I was doing something wrong and/or that there was a reasonable workaround. With all of the arbitrary taxon geoprivacy taxa, this makes iNaturalist much less useful to me and it seems utterly ridiculous to me that I can’t even make proper use of my own observations.


could you clarify what you mean here? If you think a species currently being auto-obscured should instead have open locations, you can flag the taxon on iNat to start a discussion, and curators can open the locations up if the obscuration is indeed not warranted


It’s not just a particular taxon but the overall arbitrary designations. As in just because something is rare, or even poached, does not mean that giving out exact locations would have any chance of anything bad happening. If it’s a rare orchid that unscrupulous people might collect, I completely agree with obfuscating the location, but many taxa are given taxon geoprivacy only because they are of conservation concern and not because of anything to do with whether giving out precise locations might negatively impact that population.

that is why I suggested flagging taxa which you believe should have open locations; that is the solution to your problem here. Most obscuration is now applied exactly how you say it should, ie taxa that are actually threatened by location disclosure. There are many efforts by (volunteer) curators to ensure obscuration is applied appropriately. See eg this recent work that I completed: https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/thebeachcomber/86826-deobscuring-tasmanian-species


A few examples:

These have taxon geoprivacy because of the NatureServe ranks that I gave them (check author at the bottom of the NS links) and and are not in any danger from poaching/overcollection.

This one for Cicindela scabrosa says it’s obscured cuz of tgp, I think because one ID was for C. abdominalis and neither of those taxa should have any sort of locational obscuring.

This being tgp has zero basis at least in part cuz anyone could just go to the nearest beach and partly because it’d be nearly impossible to extirpate a population.

When a conservation status is added to a taxon, the default setting is obscured. As I said above, if a taxon is not in danger of poaching, etc., please flag it on iNat so that a curator can open the locations.

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My point was that this is a systemic issue. I don’t want to have to fight every species, although I probably will starting with the most important, but I should at least be able to see my own observations on the map for all of the arbitrary tgp species.

What is the vetting process for applying tgp? Can any curator just apply it arbitrarily or…? From a Florida invertebrate conservation perspective, it should be somewhat difficult to apply tgp, as in maybe a concensus of experts, and it should be easier to remove it, as needless restrictions do much more harm than good. Although there are some unverified stories, I do not know of a single terrestrial/freshwater arthropod population that has been extirpated in Florida because of overcollecting and I can’t think of more than a few t/f arthropods that obscuring the locations of might be prudent. (No, the Highlands Tiger Beetle was not extirpated from its type locality.)

Out of an abundance of caution, iNaturalist initially obscured the locations of all species with an IUCN equivalent status of “Near Threatened” or “worse”. Over time, many of these taxon geoprivacy statuses have been updated from “obscured” to “open” when advisable. In situations where a species is thought to be in little danger from the public’s knowledge of its location, curators are encouraged to open a flag for discussion regarding the taxon geoprivacy, and setting (or changing) the geoprivacy status to “open” may be recommended.

Examples might be coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) which is listed as Vulnerable by IUCN because it is endangered by climate change but in very little danger of being collected or otherwise exploited by the public knowing the exact location of redwood observations. Likewise, green ash trees (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) are critically endangered in North America from the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, but not from harvest or disturbance, so obscuring the locations offers no protection from its greatest threat and may limit the ability to find and protect any resistant individuals.

Obviously, this is a gray area so if you feel compelled to un-obscure a threatened species be prepared to support why you are doing this and leave a record of the reasoning and conversation in a taxon flag. Why is the species not likely to be exploited by the public?, why is it of value to have the exact location accessible to the public?, etc.



The question of geoprivacy is complicated and may change with species (no mind the taxonomy level) location and/or time.
Many different reasons may conduct to propose geoprivacy . The case by case basis of choosing the visibility by the observer may therefore be crucial. Working for many years on biodiversity, so well animals and flora, I fraquently encounter the dilemna of hiding or not the visibility on a case by case basis. As example orchids may be threatened by poachers or orchid “lovers”, just wanting to watch them, without being protected or classified on IUCN regional or global redlist. It is sad, but it is not hypothetial in some of my work areas (South of France, Lesser Antilles, …). For one very rare and protected at national level (but Lc globally for IUCN) , a curator was helpful to hide it in a very short time. . The dilemma is that for others and in other places the same species may be more common and the visibility may be important to help protect them. I recognize that I hide the visibility on many orchids records but always based on a cas by case analysis.
I am therefore also frustated not to be able to see a real map of distribution on my records on iNat and that I need to use the export tools (also frustating if I use many fields) and to work with a GIS tool. Co-owning a traditional project, it would be also useful that we could easily see the locations in iNaturalist.
I wood be very helpful if an evolution occured. Such a possibility already exists for another platform (Biolovision network in Europa).
After discussion, I think I am not an unique.

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I have this issue also. In my case, it’s because I didn’t draw my boundary accurately enough, in order to export the Kml file for the project. In this case it’s a custom Place, so I should be able to redo the Kml file and thus catch these observations. Is yours a custom drawn Place?

It is a custom drawn boundary but the observations I can’t see are well within the boundary. The problem is that identifications include a subspecies that iNat has as a taxon geoprivacy species and so obscures the locations even from me even though they’re my observations.

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