Accuracy: the least obvious, most important data element

The four most important elements of an observation are a photo, a date, the coordinates (i.e., latitude and longitude), and a community-supported identification. When an observation has these four elements, it is considered “research grade”. However, there is a fifth element that is nearly as important as these other elements in determining the value of an observation to researchers, but it often gets overlooked. This fifth element is accuracy, which is the proximity of the measured latitude and longitude to the actual location where the observation was made. The accuracy can be determined by a GPS device or manually by the user using a mapping app, such as the iNaturalist map function.

The importance of having observations with high accuracy cannot be overstated. Only a small number of uses of iNaturalist observations can accept observations with low accuracy. For example, obtaining a species list for Griffith Park, Balboa Park, or one of the ten counties in ...more ↓

Posted on August 03, 2014 03:54 AM by gregpauly gregpauly | 5 comments | Leave a comment
More journal posts

Recent observations View all

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Southern Pacific Rattlesnake Crotalus oreganus ssp. helleri

Observer

nhm_nature

Date

June 15, 2014

Description

"Saw these guys in Griffith park.
About June 15 this year." - Eric Richard

Observation and photo by Eric Richard, sent to rascals@nhm.org.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Southern Alligator Lizard Elgaria multicarinata

Observer

nhm_nature

Date

June 15, 2014

Description

"Saw these guys in Griffith park.
About June 15 this year." - Eric Richard

Observation and photo by Eric Richard, sent to rascals@nhm.org.

Photos / Sounds

15095350566_90b5b18570_s

Observer

bbunny

Date

June 29, 2014 09:40 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Southern Pacific Rattlesnake Crotalus oreganus ssp. helleri

Date

September 1, 2014

Place

(Somewhere...)

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Western Toad Anaxyrus boreas

Observer

asemerdj

Date

May 21, 2014 10:08 PM PDT

Place

(Somewhere...)

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Western Side-blotched Lizard Uta stansburiana ssp. elegans

Observer

ariz

Date

August 29, 2014 11:50 AM PDT

Description

Two individuals in this picture.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Western Side-blotched Lizard Uta stansburiana ssp. elegans

Observer

ariz

Date

August 29, 2014 11:45 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Common Side-blotched Lizard Uta stansburiana

Observer

steviekgold

Date

August 31, 2014 02:40 PM PDT

Description

About three inches long and moving very quickly when we attempted to hand capture.

gregpauly Project curator ID

Uta stansburiana

Photos / Sounds

What

Western Whiptail Aspidoscelis tigris

Observer

steviekgold

Date

August 31, 2014 10:35 AM PDT

Description

It was about 8-9 inches long including tail. Three smaller ones, only about 4 inches long with bright blue tail tips were also seen on the hike but I was not able to photograph them.

gregpauly Project curator ID

Aspidoscelis tigris

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Western Fence Lizard Sceloporus occidentalis

Observer

steviekgold

Date

August 31, 2014 09:29 AM PDT

Description

This picture is not the best but the lizard can be seen in the middle of the image, peeking up from behind the rock. I was able to get a clear view of the lizard and it was peeling slightly under the chin. There were two other western fence lizards nearby as well and one of them was peeling immensely. One was in full sun and the other (as well as the one pictured here) were in mostly shade but very active. All three were at least 6 inches long.

gregpauly Project curator ID

Sceloporus occidentalis

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Sagebrush Lizard Sceloporus graciosus

Observer

steviekgold

Date

August 31, 2014 08:58 AM PDT

Description

Small, maybe three inches long and very skittish so hard to determine true species

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Phrynosomatid lizards Family Phrynosomatidae

Observer

steviekgold

Date

August 31, 2014 08:38 AM PDT

Description

Small, maybe 2 inches and hiding in this spiky plant

gregpauly Project curator ID

Uta stansburiana ssp. elegans

Photos / Sounds

What

Phrynosomatid lizards Family Phrynosomatidae

Observer

steviekgold

Date

August 31, 2014 08:59 AM PDT

Description

Part of tail is previously lost and is regrowing. It was still about 4-5 inches long and moved quickly and before I was able to get within 6 feet I it

gregpauly Project curator ID

Uta stansburiana ssp. elegans

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Western Fence Lizard Sceloporus occidentalis

Observer

steviekgold

Date

August 31, 2014 08:57 AM PDT

Description

I think it's a western fence but it was quite small, maybe 3 inches. Moving extremely quickly so wasn't able to get a good look

gregpauly Project curator ID

Sceloporus occidentalis

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Western Banded Gecko Coleonyx variegatus

Observer

treeder86

Date

April 29, 2006

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Coastal Rosy Boa Lichanura orcutti

Observer

treeder86

Date

April 16, 2005

Photos / Sounds

What

Granite Spiny Lizard Sceloporus orcutti

Observer

treeder86

Date

April 16, 2005

Description

Male.

Photos / Sounds

What

Baja California Lyre Snake Trimorphodon lyrophanes

Observer

treeder86

Date

April 16, 2005

Description

This individual also landed a bite on me during capture (dang wreckless youth!), and I thought I'd include a photo of the bite. I recall it feeling like a wasp-sting about 15 minutes after the bite, and lasted the remainder of the evening, but everything was fine the following morning. I don't recall there being any swelling, discoloration, etc.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Southern Pacific Pond Turtle Actinemys marmorata ssp. pallida

Observer

treeder86

Date

April 16, 2005

Place

(Somewhere...)

Description

Juvenile.

Photos / Sounds

What

Southern Pacific Rattlesnake Crotalus oreganus ssp. helleri

Observer

treeder86

Date

April 16, 2005

Description

Juvenile.

Photos / Sounds

What

western pond turtle Actinemys marmorata

Observer

rdm24

Date

the past

Place

(Somewhere...)

Description

One live and one dead turtle in Cienega Canyon

Photos / Sounds

What

western fence lizard Sceloporus occidentalis

Observer

rdm24

Date

June 16, 2007

Description

Hanging out on the rocks along the wetlands

Photos / Sounds

What

Gopher Snake Pituophis catenifer

Observer

rdm24

Date

April 25, 2008

Description

Looks like a garter, but this was a bathing gopher snake.

Photos / Sounds

What

California Newt Taricha torosa

Observer

rdm24

Date

February 14, 2009

Description

Again, in the San Mateo Wilderness

Photos / Sounds

What

California Newt Taricha torosa

Observer

rdm24

Date

March 21, 2010

Description

Big mass of mating newts!
Above Tenaja Falls in the San Mateo Wilderness

Photos / Sounds

470283541_345b55679e_s

What

California Newt Taricha torosa

Observer

rdm24

Date

April 21, 2007

Description

On the hike to Sturtevant Falls

Photos / Sounds

What

Southern Alligator Lizard Elgaria multicarinata

Observer

steviekgold

Date

August 29, 2014 07:29 PM PDT

Description

Lost it's tail and is beginning to grow back. Located on a small patch of dirt next to an apartment complex in about 85 degree weather. Did not move away or try to flee as I grabbed it. Last photo is for relative size comparison.

gregpauly Project curator ID

Elgaria multicarinata

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

California Treefrog Pseudacris cadaverina

Observer

treeder86

Date

April 16, 2005

gregpauly Project curator ID

Pseudacris cadaverina

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

California King Snake Lampropeltis californiae

Observer

nhm_nature

Date

August 27, 2014

Place

(Somewhere...)

Description

"I found a snake today. I have never seen this type of snake before. It was just inside the front entrance." - Kunio "Ken" Yanagida

Observation and photo by Ken Yanagida, sent to rascals@nhm.org.

gregpauly Project curator ID

Lampropeltis californiae

Photos / Sounds

394604133_db1d28a960_s

What

Large-blotched Ensatina Ensatina eschscholtzii ssp. klauberi

Observer

rdm24

Date

February 7, 2007

Place

(Somewhere...)
More observations

About

Reptiles and Amphibians of Southern California (RASCals)—The goal of this project is to improve our knowledge of native and non-native reptiles and amphibians in southern California.

The RASCals project is a partnership between the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and the La Kretz ...more ↓

17630-mini gregpauly created this project on June 07, 2013
Logo-eee-15px
Embed a widget for this project on your website