Archivos de diario de octubre 2019

25 de octubre de 2019

Making your observations more valuable for conservation - location uncertainty

We've been busy reviewing records in the project and have to say we're blown away by the number of people submitting so many observations that can be used to update the provincial record - thanks to all of you for your hard work!

For now, we wanted to share some tips for improving on two common issues we have encountered when reviewing records: location uncertainty.

Location uncertainty is really important because it tells us how accurate the reported location is. Most handheld GPS units (including phones) can record locations up to about 10 m accuracy. The more accurate the location, the better our ability to ensure the correct location is identified as being important to a species.

Issue 1: no location uncertainty reported

You can create a record in iNaturalist and record the location perfectly, but in some cases there will be no location uncertainty attached to it - just a location and coordinates. In these cases we don't know how accurate/inaccurate the reported location is which makes it hard to assess the record, and especially whether the location is important for conservation (e.g. is the species in suitable habitat or likely just passing through an area). Some times, phones can't get a GPS signal and use triangulation from cell towers to estimate a crude location (or just report the location of the nearest cell tower). The most common cause is taking a photo and then importing it into iNaturalist.

When you take a photo with a camera or phone that geotags the photo, it records the location, but not the location uncertainty. So whenever possible use the iNaturalist app to take the photo, or, bring the photo into iNaturalist right away, and then manually use the app to calculate the location (and location uncertainty). If you're someone who takes photos with a camera that geotags the images and then later imports them to iNaturalist, consider using the app in the field to create the record (without the photo) and then import the photos later when you're on a computer. Alternatively, review your records and manually add in the location uncertainty.

If you'd like to see your records in the NHIC Rare Species of Ontario project that are missing location uncertainty, use this url and replace "username" with your username. You can manually edit these records to add a location uncertainty value if you can estimate it on the computer map.

Issue 2: very low location uncertainty reported

Very low location uncertainty (depends on the species/location but generally anything over 1 km) records are difficult for us to use because they are hard to evaluate their importance for conservation and also because they may "swamp" records of higher precision.

In some records we've come across, the uncertainty distance is very large (kilometres or even tens/hundreds of kilometres). This could be the result of bad GPS signal or you genuinely don't know exactly where the record is from (common with older records). Sometimes this is done on purpose by a user who thinks they are protecting the location by reporting a made up location with a big uncertainty distance.

In the first case, if you can refine the location by looking at a map - great, please do so. Usually when we've asked people they are able to estimate the location when looking at maps (imagery and trail maps are very helpful for this!). Please don't guess at this though - the location uncertainty should reflect the area you are sure about.

In the latter case, there is actually a really great feature of iNaturalist that lets you obscure the location of a record, while still maintaining the exact location. This is called geoprivacy. When you set the geoprivacy of a record to anything other than the default (open), only you, people you trust, and curators of projects you have given permission to (like this project) can see the exact location; everyone else sees a randomized point somewhere within the same ~20x20 km square as the actual observations (for obscured records) or nothing at all (for private records). Please note that for most rare species in Ontario, the geoprivacy is already set for the species as a default.

We'd encourage everyone to review your records with low location uncertainty and edit them if you can. Here's a link you can use to search for your records with uncertainty greater than 500 m (be sure to replace "username" with your username).

Thanks everyone, keep those rare species reports coming!

The NHIC team

Publicado el octubre 25, 2019 03:39 TARDE por mikeburrell mikeburrell | 16 comentarios | Deja un comentario