Why was Explore changed to automatically zoom out?

Go here: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?nelat=29.730381970541085&nelng=-96.17462222847944&place_id=any&subview=map&swlat=29.648362541668305&swlng=-96.35692661080365&view=&iconic_taxa=Plantae&taxon_id=1261807&page=

Previously the selected rectangle filled the entire map view. Now it is zoomed out 50%. I cannot see any purpose to this change. Why was it made? Seems definitely inferior to me. I want the requested area to fill the view as much as possible, so I can clearly see things.


I think it has to do with this: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/new-rectangle-and-circle-drawing-tools-for-web-explore-page/36684

So while the “repeatedly redo search in map” work flow got more tedious, I at least am doing that much less now with the new selection tools.


Ok, looks like there’s been some useful functionality added, which is appreciated. I think something needs to be changed with the issue I speak of though.

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I’m seeing this also. While the new tools are great, the automatic zooming out is not.


While I don’t know the exact reason behind this, I can imagine it is linked to usability concerns. If I remember correctly, in the previous version you would get very little user feedback when you clicked REDO SEARCH IN MAP. The primary cue about what this button would do, was that you would see a thicker orange border around the visible map. That doesn’t necessarily make it very clear to a (new) user what is happening. With this recent change, it is very clear to a user what is happening. From that perspective, I like this. Also, if you click the “zoom in” button once after you do a new map search, you will see that the box fills the entire screen again and it provides the same zoom level as it did before.


I didn’t find it hard to see, the button itself is kinda hidden among tons of others (and sometimes even fails to appear at all), but once you found it, you have no problems with using it and choosing when to redo that. Zooming out is weird and just forces you to zoom straight back in.

Yeah, I think overall it’s a net benefit as there are new rectangle/circular polygon tools. I assume that the zoom out is because it’s treated as the rectangle tool would be. I noticed it seems to be quite a bit faster to load than the old redo search in map tool, so I think it uses this feature rather than whatever coding/scripts there were before. As @phoekman mentioned a quick fix is to click the zoom on the left which will fill the screen as it once did.

Where is the zoom out button? I’m looking and can’t find it.

Do you mean zoom out to the whole world level or just zoom out? If the latter, there’re +/- buttons, but mouse is easier to use.

The “Zoom in” button that phoekman and presumably you were referring to in the previous comments.

@phoekman zoom in is just the “+” button.

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Oh, why didn’t I see that?

I like it a lot. It allows you to see the (new) tools which allow movement and resizing of the rectangle/circle. If it were zoomed in all the way, one couldn’t see those tools–which are around the perimeter of the rectangle/circle.

I don’t use the “Redo search in map” functionality much but I find the auto zooming out to be an improvement as it gives me some context to my chosen area and it also makes it obvious that the search has been added, as @phoekman noted.


I thought this was just something going wrong in my trackball or something.

The new rectangle and circle tools are wonderful. This auto-zooming-out thing is not. Knowing what’s going on helps, though, rather than it just being “the functionality I’m used to is broken and I don’t know why”.


Since the net change is definitely positive, I don’t really mind having a small component of that change be negative.

If this is a separate decision that was made in the process of developing the custom rectangle and circle tools—meaning, it could be turned on or off without affecting the rest of the added functionality—though, I think turning it off would be better.


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