Spain - iNaturalist World Tour

España - iNaturalist Tour Mundial

We're in Spain for the 18th stop on the iNaturalist World Tour. Three of the top observers, @gmucientes, @cesarpollo5, and @fdejuana, are based across the northern edge of the country. @artdivcanon is based in the the Canary Islands where @ahospers & @fero have made lots of contributions during their visits here from the Netherlands and Slovakia. There is a cluster of top observers around Andalucia in the south (e.g. @jimarcor, @susanne-kasimir, @whodden, @liesvanrompaey, @humbertoferron) and around the cities of Madrid (e.g. @melesmeles, @juliandiaz, @pdfuenteb), Valencia (e.g. @supergan), and Barcelona (e.g. @mattiamenchetti, @orlandof, @mammal, @xbejard, @xavimm75, @carmelo_lopez). Kew botanist @danielcahen has contributed many observations during visits to the Islas Baleares.

Estamos en España para la parada 18 en el iNaturalist Tour Mundial. Tres de los principales observadores, @gmucientes, @ cesarpollo5 y @fdejuana, se encuentran en el extremo norte del país. @artdivcanon tiene su sede en las Islas Canarias, donde @ahospers & @fero han hecho muchas contribuciones durante sus visitas aquí desde los Países Bajos y Eslovaquia. Hay un grupo de observadores destacados en el sur de Andalucía (por ejemplo, @jimarcor, @ susanne-kasimir, @whodden, @liesvanrompaey, @humbertoferron) y alrededor de las ciudades de Madrid (por ejemplo, @melesmeles, @juliandiaz, @pdfuenteb), Valencia (por ejemplo, @supergan), y Barcelona (por ejemplo, @mattiamenchetti, @orlandof, @mammal, @xbejard, @ xavimm75, @carmelo_lopez). El botánico @danielcahen ha contribuido muchas observaciones durante las visitas a las Islas Baleares.

CREAF under the leadership of @bernat did some fantastic early outreach for iNaturalist in Spain, but unfortunately stopped using the platform in 2016. Nonetheless, observations per month have increased significantly in Span since then and is continuing to increase rapidly as more an more Spaniards and visitors to Spain have become involved.

CREAF, con el liderazgo de @bernat, hizo un gran número de actividades para iNaturalist en España, pero desafortunadamente dejó de usar la plataforma en 2016. No obstante, las observaciones por mes han aumentado significativamente en España desde entonces. Continúan aumentando rápidamente a medida que más españoles y visitantes a España se han involucrado.

@pdfuenteb, @martinho_cabana , and @jgd have contributed significant local identification expertise from within Spain. Meanwhile, @ ldacosta and @khaledayyach have shared lots of expertise from nearby Portugal and Algeria. The contributions of @borisb, who specializes in identifying beetles from around the globe, can also be seen here.

@pdfuenteb, @martinho_cabana y @jgd han contribuido mucho experiencia en identificación adentro de España. Mientras tanto, @ldacosta y @khaledayyach han compartido muchos conocimientos de las cercanías de Portugal y Argelia. Las contribuciones de @borisb, que se especializa en la identificación de escarabajos de todo el mundo, también se pueden ver aquí.

What can we do to make iNaturalist more vibrant in Spain? Please share your thoughts below or on this forum post.

¿Qué podemos hacer para que iNaturalist sea más vibrante en España? Por favor, comparte tus pensamientos aqui o en esta publicación del foro.

@fdejuana @ahospers @artdivcan @cesarpollo5 @gmucientes @ldacosta @jgd @martinho_cabana @khaledayyach @pdfuenteb

We’ll be back tomorrow with Portugal!

Volveremos mañana con Portugal!

Posted by loarie loarie, July 11, 2019 20:55



Thanks @loarie for the post! iNat is the perfect tool to recording biodiversity for biologist! Congrats

Posted by gmucientes about 1 year ago (Flag)

What I find fascinating is the internet traffic:
Note that while South Africa is in the top 5 for observations, she is only 11 in terms of page hits, whereas Spain is #8 in terms of traffic but only 18th in terms of observations.

USA 160K
Mexico 58K
Canada 25K

Colombia 13K
UK 9.7K

New Zealand 7.1K
Russia 6.3K

Spain 5.6K *****
Australia 5.5K

France 5.1K

Malaysia 4.7K

Germany 4.4K

South Africa 3.8K *****
Peru 3.6K

Italy 3.6K

Taiwan 3.1K

I presume that this has partly to do with speed and availability of the internet, but what are you guys doing to get more people to visit and expore the site? - those that are looking and exploring (rather than posting observations)!

Posted by tonyrebelo about 1 year ago (Flag)

@tonyrebelo I just looked a bit at our analytics and it appears that the difference in traffic between Spain and South Africa is due largely to organic search. So it seems for some reason, that more users in Spain are landing at iNaturalist from internet searches compared to in South Africa (about twice as many, in the last 7 days). I'm not sure why that is, and we mostly don't have visibility into the keywords to understand more.

Posted by carrieseltzer about 1 year ago (Flag)

Language is a factor to consider, for external searches from Mexico, Spain and Peru those keywords may be mainly in Spanish (or scientific names), so it's interesting that they point to the iNat site. Look at Peru! is #34 in observations but very high in traffic

Posted by langlands about 1 year ago (Flag)


So it might also be the competition?
So in southern Africa we also have BODATSA, PlanzAfrica, Zimbabweflora and Capebio for scientific (and common) names of plants, and Animal Demographic Unit and iSpot pulling observations for animals.
e.g. for Baobab (or Adansonia digitata) and for King Protea (Protea cynaroides**) iNat is not even in the top 5 google search pages (P.c. is on page 5).
But that cannot be it surely? From the discussion France and Russia must have just as many alternative sites (I dont know about Spain, Mexico and Peru)?
Might iNat feature higher when we eventually add our common names for the southern African plants and animals?
But the large and hairies have their common names, but iNat does not feature for them neither.

Are there any useful tricks for getting iNat to feature higher in the popular search engines?

Posted by tonyrebelo about 1 year ago (Flag)

I get iSpot from 2107 for Protea cynaroides on page 4.
And then iNat on page 5. SEO needs tweaking.

Posted by dianastuder about 1 year ago (Flag)

Regarding how to make iNaturalist more vibrant in Spain (or anywhere), a possibility is to distribute brochures in strategic places.

During the last three days, the 18th Iberian Entomology Meeting was held in Madrid, at the Universidad Complutense School of Biology.

I attended the meeting just to take a look (it was my first time), and used the opportunity to leave 50 iNaturalist brochures at the reception desk (after contacting iNaturalist Support, Tony told me where to download a PDF formatted pamphlet), and placed five more, printed at a larger size, in some billboards. I took a photograph of a volunteer holding one of the big printouts, but I think it is not possible to upload pictures here.

I spoke with a couple of persons that claimed that photograph-based IDs, produced by a community such as iNat, may not be trusted as much as those produced by old-school methodologies and taxonomists, at least for some purposes. I agree with that, of course. However, for some other purposes, iNaturalist could be a nice resource at research level. One of the participants presented a project in which they had complemented their own data on the distribition of a certain group of butterflies (if I remember well) with data from Biodiversidad Virtual, the platform of a community of naturalists that exists in Spain since 2009. Researchers with similar interests could use iNaturalist as well.

A different field in which iNaturalist can be very useful is education, of course. In this sense, there were a couple of panels, or posters, that described the efforts of students from a public school in a village north from Madrid, to document biodiversity in their environment. I could not speak with the authors of the poster, but I will send them a message just to inform them of iNaturalist existence, just in case they do not know it. I would not mind at all providing help to schools that are interested in launching projects of that type. In this sense, Questagame is, apparently, a platform built on top of iNaturalist that presents the issue of making observations and identifying them as a game. I have not investigated anything at all about it, but it seems a plausible approach to attract the interest of kids and to promote the idea of preserving Nature.

In summary, distributing brochures at meetings focused on biology (zoology, botany) related fields can attract the interest of researchers and educators.

Posted by mjgommo about 1 year ago (Flag)

Regarding the competition issue, as indicated by tonyrebelo above, in Spain we have Biodiversidad Virtual and Natusfera.

Biodiversidad Virtual has been running for 10 years now and its content is of high quality. Access to records, however, goes by means of very old fashioned web pages.

I think that Natusfera, on the other hand, is a weird case, because being clearly a competitor platform, it is based on iNaturalist (it is even explained in Natusfera's web page). I have tried to use it just once, so I do not know too much about it, but it has identical look. I guess that a number of components of the iNaturalist system can be re-used for free, so an almost identical product can be produced anywhere. If I do not remember bad, the missing component is the automatic identification system, which I guess is jealously kept.

Natusfera is supported by the Spanish Research Council (CSIC), CREAF and other big scientific institutions in the country. I bet that the explanation of why CREAF stopped using iNaturalist in 2016, after the "fantastic early outreach for iNaturalist in Spain" (as literally loarie says above) is that Natusfera was launched perhaps at that time (I would have to check). So I guess, again, that it seemed important that we have our own version of the application, even if it is at the expense of not having an automatic classifier.

Natusfera has succeded in occupying an advantageous position in the "market", what may prevent iNaturalist for growing too much in Spain. Natusfera was presented, this year, at the First Meeting of the Iberic Society of Ecology ( and it is also behind the organization of spanish City Nature Challenge events , for example in Madrid and Barcelona ( However, Natusfera has been used also by several italian cities and Quito (

When I tried to use Natusfera for the first time I remember reading a comment by someone that asked why a separate, local "version" of iNaturalist had to be created. To me is not completely clear yet, because I also think that it makes more sense sharing data and expertise to build a more powerful resource.

Posted by mjgommo about 1 year ago (Flag)

@mjgommo thanks very much for distributing the flyers - I started a thread on how to make these kinds of outreach materials more available here!

RE: Natusfera, yes, we were working with CREAF to set up a Spanish iNaturalist Network node similar to Naturalista in Mexico or Biodiversity4All in Portugal which is a regionalized version of iNaturalist run by a local institution but still connected to the global community. But in the end they decided to set our open-source software up as a separate,
siloed website. We're not sure why as the site doesn't seem to offer any functionality not available in the Network nodes. It also seems that they haven't updated the software since 2015 so using it is like going back in time! However, I agree that they have done a great job with local outreach and it looks like they've built a vibrant community of naturalists. Many of them previously used iNaturalist before moving to Natusfera when it split off (@bernat, @robertosaez, @jperalta, @ikernf, @patriciagr, @xavsis, @marcoj, @ruthescobes, @albertohernanz, @paufortuno). Its a shame that there's no communication between the two communities.

iNaturalist still has more observations from Spain than Natusfera (about 145k vs 123k) but I suspect the types of users are probably very different. e.g. perhaps more visitors and ex-pats on iNaturalists and more Spanish ecologists on Natusfera. I'd be very curious what people who continue to use both platforms think about the differences in the communities and the strengths of a siloed, separate version of iNaturalist vs the pros and cons of the global iNaturalist community. @alfonsdg, @carmelo_lopez, @junjadores @oriolusoriolus, @atalef, @joandz, @ebaquero, @poblado_verde_en_accion, @dcapillae.

@mjgommo agradece mucho por distribuir los folletos. Comencé un hilo sobre cómo hacer que estos tipos de materiales de divulgación estén más disponibles aquí !

RE: Natusfera, sí, estuvimos trabajando con CREAF para configurar un nodo de la Red Naturalista de España similar a Naturalista en México o Biodiversity4All in Portugal que es una versión regionalizada de iNaturalist administrado por una institución local pero todavía conectado a la comunidad global. Pero al final decidieron configurar nuestro software de código abierto como un sitio web en seperado y aislado. No sabemos porque. El sitio no parece ofrecer ninguna funcionalidad que no esté disponible en los nodos de la red. ¡También parece que no han actualizado el software desde 2015, por lo que usarlo es como retroceder en el tiempo! Sin embargo, estoy de acuerdo en que han hecho un gran trabajo con la difusión local y parece que han creado una comunidad vibrante de naturalistas. Muchos de ellos utilizaron iNaturalist antes de mudarse a Natusfera cuando se separó (@bernat, @robertosaez, @jperalta, @ikernf, @patriciagr, @xavsis, @marcoj, @ruthescobes, @albertohernanz, @paufortuno). Es una lastima que no haya comunicación entre las dos comunidades.

iNaturalist tiene más observaciones de España que Natusfera (mas o menos 145k vs 123k ) pero sospecho que los tipos de usuarios son probablemente muy diferentes. p.ej. Quizás más visitantes y expatriados en iNaturalists y más ecologistas españoles en Natusfera. Por eso, sería muy curioso lo que piensan las personas que continúan utilizando ambas plataformas acerca de las diferenciase entre las communidades y las fortalezas de una versión separada y aislada de iNaturalist frente a los pros y los contras de la comunidad global de iNaturalist. @alfonsdg, @carmelo_lopez, @junjadores @oriolusoriolus, @atalef, @joandz, @ebaquero, @poblado_verde_en_accion, @dcapillae.

Posted by loarie about 1 year ago (Flag)

I think as a naturalist one has to chose which platform to use, the local or the global, according to needs. Naturalists that travel will prefer the global and also those that are interested in the global distribution of species even if they don't travel much. Using a local , stand-alone and independent platform seems to be for naturalists that prefer to engage in the local community/local biodiversity and the staff may tailor the platform to those needs (even if that seems to still not be the case with Natusfera). Is good we have options and I'm sure some naturalists use them both

Posted by langlands about 1 year ago (Flag)

I agree with @langlands in that using local or global platforms may have different advantages for different users or purposes. In fact, although I have few observations, I considered at some moment the idea of using both platforms, Natusfera and iNaturalist. If I am not doing it is because I do not have enough time and because I am not sure of whether copyright restrictions apply. Having said that, I see more advantages in global approaches. After all, and obviously, many common and also mobile elements (in the sense of geographical distribution-changing) of fauna and flora can be found in Portugal, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain and the whole Mediterranean area.

Posted by mjgommo about 1 year ago (Flag)

I have collaborated with observations in iNaturalist, and to a lesser extent in Natusfera. With Natusfera, I have been up to now in the error of believing that Natusfera was connected to the global network of iNaturalist, such as Naturalista in Mexico. I was contacted by iNaturalist Spain, at the time there was a relationship with global iNaturalist, to propose to migrate my observations to the node of Spain. I thought it was a good idea, but when I tried I saw that it was not possible yet. Almost a year later, I knew about the existence of Natusfera, and mistakenly, I thought that they had consolidated the initial project. I have collaborated with Natusfera with part of my observations, although it is a very old version of the application, the database for taxa is "Catalog Of Life 2012", and they are not very fast to solve the flags that I put for update taxons.
I did not know that I was collaborating with an application that is competition and not related to iNaturalist.I saw that they were more focused on local species, but also some paid attention to global species. I will rethink to continue in Natusfera.

Posted by carmelo_lopez about 1 year ago (Flag)

Where is it possible to see the internet traffic ?

hat I find fascinating is the internet traffic:
Note that while South Africa is in the top 5 for observations, she is only 11 in terms of page hits, whereas Spain is #8 in terms of traffic but only 18th in terms of observations.

Possibility to type just the FIRST letters of a Species like "pro cyn" ! I

Posted by ahospers about 1 year ago (Flag)

Hi, @loarie. Yes, its a shame that there's no communication between the two communities.

When Natusfera was created, I asked them why Natusfera didn't join the iNaturalist network, but they didn't answer me.

I have been sharing my observations on both platforms for a while. Natusfera is supported by CSIC (Spanish National Research Council), CREAF and other relevant institutions in Spain related to science and nature conservation. This point is very attractive, but I prefer to share my observations on iNaturalist.

I like to share observations with people from my country and in my native language, but It is better do it with people from all over the world. The iNaturalist community is bigger and more active. I learn a lot here, from naturalists all over the world.

I hope they change their mind and decide to join the iNaturalist network in the future. It would be the best way to do iNaturalist more vibrant also in Spain.


Posted by dcapillae about 1 year ago (Flag)

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments