Journal archives for August 2018

August 31, 2018

iNat Tips & Tricks:

iNat Tips & Tricks:

It's totally ok to just [b]leave an identification at a broader level,[/b] like "sunflower family" or even just "plant." If someone helps identify something further, don't "agree" with the ID until you've confirmed the identification seems correct. Otherwise observations may become "research grade" mistakenly.

Take the automated species identifications with a grain of salt. Sometimes it provides suggestions for organisms that are only found halfway across the world!

Turn off "confirming identifications" in your account settings (only receive notifications about identifications that don't exactly match your own). It greatly reduces the number of unnecessary notifications you receive. You'll still get notifications if there is a comment attached to the agreeing notification.

Bookmark the iNaturalist Blog.

Join the iNaturalist Google Group.

View recent comments (search all comments -- typing your username there is one way to search for mentions).

View recent journal posts.

Search identifications, e.g. all my identifications of Nabalus albus.

Search observations based on identifications with ident_user_id, e.g. Nabalus observations where I added an identification.

Show scientific names first, set your preferred common name place, or completely hide common names in your account settings.

Find species observed by others, but not yet observed by you, with URL qualifier "unobserved_by_user_id", e.g. flowering plants not yet observed by bouteloua in the state of Illinois.

Search for observations within a group but without a specific member of that group with the "without_taxon_id" search qualifier, e.g. identify Silphiums, but not S. laciniatum, S. terebinthinaceum, S. integrifolium, or S. perfoliatum or search for milkweeds, but not common milkweed. You can do the same thing with places with "not_in_place" and projects with "not_in_project."

Use the Data Quality Assessment section to mark observations as cultivated, that they lack evidence of an organism, or that the community can't improve them based on the photos provided. A few of us have prepared some frequently-used responses for new users and problematic content.

View "Marked Atlases" - species that have observations falling outside of their known distribution (read more about Atlases).

You can always download iNaturalist data and manipulate it as you please.

Don't hesitate to reach or the Google Group if you have any questions/feedback about iNat.

Posted on August 31, 2018 14:47 by ahospers ahospers | 1 comment | Leave a comment

Announcing Changes to Projects on iNaturalist

Announcing Changes to Projects on iNaturalist

We’ve introduced some new functionality for projects on iNaturalist! One of the most-requested features related to projects is the ability to automatically include all observations in a particular place or taxon across all time and in a continuously updating manner. Unfortunately, associating observations with projects has been a computationally expensive process, so we have limited “the aggregator” to a small subset of trusted projects, or to time-bound bioblitz projects, to protect site performance. Another common request is the ability to associate two or more projects together under an umbrella, such as all of the projects associated with a single organization.

Starting next week, users can create two new types of projects using automatic collection and umbrella projects. Here’s what the page will generally look like when you go to create a new project (some text will still change):

We can convert many existing projects to the new ‘collection’ project type, providing that its parameters match those on Observations Search, such as taxa, places, dates, and users. We are not able to convert projects that have a “Must be on list” rule. Existing projects that meet the criteria above can be converted to the new ‘collection’ project type by project administrators when you go to edit your project by contacting with the URL of the project you would like to convert (updated on 4/25/18).

Existing projects (let’s call them traditional) came in several flavors. Most (82%) are ‘regular’ with a significant minority (12%) as ‘bioblitz’. A tiny fraction (<4%) were some experimental project types that never really worked well.

The vast majority of projects are created for one of these purposes:

Run a BioBlitz (i.e. collect all observations within space and time boundaries).

Collect interesting observations which couldn’t otherwise be found using Observations Search (e.g. Amazing Aberrants, Observation of the Day).

Gain access to true locations of obscured/private observations and/or filter observations identified by project curators.

Collect additional data using observation fields.

Create a repository of all observations for a place and/or taxon that can be branded, shared, and used for outreach (e.g. to encourage participation in a park or observations of specific taxa).

For educators to assemble observations made by students.

The status quo for projects has been especially difficult for the last two purposes. The limits on the aggregator have been frustrating for people who want all observations from a given place and/or taxon continuously updated. As a result, project owners, managers, and/or curators have had to manually add observations or rely on users to add their observations themselves. Educators have had to rely on students adding their observations to a specific project, which is laborious for the students and/or the educators. New ‘collection’ projects should be an improvement for both of these purposes because you can use standard search parameters to automatically include observations by date added or observed, place, or user (and more).

For example, a professor could add the usernames of all of her students to a project that will automatically capture all observations made and added to iNaturalist during the semester. Then all student observations from the entire semester will be easily visible for her review, enabling her to ensure that the observations are appropriate and identified.

These changes were made in advance of the upcoming City Nature Challenge (organized by the citizen science teams at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences), which is a perfect use case for an umbrella project. Sixty-four different metropolitan areas around the world will submit observations to iNaturalist made during April 27-30. The umbrella project allows you to easily compare the numbers of observations, species, and participants across several projects at once. For an immediate sense of what it will look like since the event has not started yet, we also created an umbrella project for last year’s City Nature Challenge.

In the near future we plan to include the ability to use observation annotations as additional project parameters, e.g. to only pull in observations from a particular insect life stage. We plan to combine this feature with improvements to the observation search filters tool.

As with any new features, there are always trade offs, and we know that these new projects will not work for all projects and needs. Here are some major differences with new, collection projects (compared to traditional projects):

Collection projects do not provide access to private and obscured coordinates for project admins.

No links on individual observations to the collection projects in which they are included.

No ability to associate additional observation fields with collection projects (fields can still be added to individual observations).

Posted on August 31, 2018 14:48 by ahospers ahospers | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Links like Atlasses
View comments.
Search comments (enter search term in URL).

Search comments that call upon me (pfau_tarleton). Enter your own username in the URL. .!searchin/inaturalist/pyinaturalist%7Csort:date/inaturalist/iF-Nw1oKsBo/4yqfflaDAwAJ!searchin/inaturalist/pyinaturalist%7Csort:date/inaturalist/PNfHggqoIYs/duIgqvopDgAJ


Search Term and Tricks!topic/inaturalist/vqQH4FmChfE
Russell Pfau's iNat tips & tricks
Cassi Saari's iNat tips & tricks

View your ID stats (separate parameters with &)

View your own observations in "Identify mode". Enter your own user ID number or go to Identify mode directly and filter by Your Observations. The main trick here is that you also have to select the "Reviewed" check box, because most of your own observations will have been "reviewed" by you already.

Limit "Identify" to a bounding box (enter coordinates in URL) or a radius (enter radius in km and center coordinate in URL). To view the box or radius, delete "identify" in the URL and click "map".

In "Identify" mode, you can sort by "random" or "date added/ascending" (filter) and it will mix up new and old observations or show older posts first (good for snagging some older ones that tend to slip by otherwise). You have to click "mark all as reviewed" before viewing more, however.

Display observations of taxa for which you've added an ID (you can change taxa using the species box). This is useful when you know you've identified something before but forgot the name.

Are you a maverick? Insert your own user ID in the URL.

Posted on August 31, 2018 14:49 by ahospers ahospers | 1 comment | Leave a comment