Corrected my past Observations

I just finally caught up all my past Observations that were not showing up as located in the Place "Flatbush Gardener's Garden", and therefore were missing from this Project.

It's taken me much of the year so far to figure out how to do this. I thought I'd write it up for others to follow.

First, some context. iNaturalist automatically assigns an Observation to a Place if the location is within the Place boundaries AND - and this was the part that as hard to figure out - the Accuracy is not "too large". So, even though the Location - the pin on the map - of an Observation places it squarely within the boundaries of a Place, if the Accuracy - the circle around the pinpoint - is located largely outside of the place, then it's treated as if it falls outside the Place boundaries.

When you're outside in a large park, this would hardly ever matter. But urban places tend to be small, and tightly bounded. The smaller the Place, the more it matters how small the Accuracy circle is for an Observation.

Another challenge to Location for Observations in urban areas is that position in cell phones and the like often rely as much on wifi networks as they do on GPS satellites. This allows positioning to continue to work well in urban areas, but when my phone is picking up my neighbor's wifi, it's more likely to place an Observation in my neighbor's yard than my own.

I learned this year to verify the Location of a new Observation as I'm uploading it, when it's fresh in my mind and easiest to correct. That prevents me from losing new Observations. But it didn't help me with past ones.

I knew I could look at Observations on the map. But what I needed was a way to look at the map, and see only the Observations that were NOT counting as "Flatbush Gardener's Garden" when the pinpoint appeared to be located there.

I found the clue in some of the old-style conventional Projects I've joined, the ones that don't automatically collect matching Observations; you have to explicitly add your Observations. They provide a way to add your Observations to the Project. For example, here is the link to the home page for conventional iNaturalist Project for the Empire State Native Pollinator Survey (ESNPS), which concludes this year:

Scroll down a little and on the right you'll see link for "Add From Your Observations". Click that and it lists all your eligible Observations that are not yet part of the Project. For me, the URL is:

So, there's a lot in there, but the key for the problem at hand is this part of the query:


That was the secret ingredient I was missing: How to find my Observations that were NOT already part of "Flatbush Gardener's Garden". Zoom in on the map to where the Observations would appear:

Now I can pick out the ones that have pinpoints in the right place, but aren't showing up in the Project. I can edit them to reduce the Accuracy distance. I've learned that I need to get to 11 meters or shorter for them to count. Or I can correct the pinpoint, if I know it's in the wrong place.

This technique should work for any small urban Place where you're having trouble getting your Observations to "count" toward your Project.

Posted by xris xris, August 02, 2020 02:59


No comments yet.

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments

Is this inappropriate, spam, or offensive? Add a Flag