From hikers to hunters, birders to beach-combers, the world is filled with naturalists, and many of us record what we find. What if all those observations could be shared online? You might discover someone who finds beautiful wildflowers at your favorite birding spot, or learn about the birds you see on the way to work. If enough people recorded their observations, it would be like a living record of life on Earth that scientists and land managers could use to monitor changes in biodiversity, and that anyone could use to learn more about nature.
That's the vision behind iNaturalist.org. So if you like recording your findings from the outdoors, or if you just like learning about life, join us!
iNaturalist.org began as the Master's final project of Nate Agrin, Jessica Kline, and Ken-ichi Ueda at UC Berkeley's School of Information in 2008. Nate and Ken-ichi continued working on the site, along with Sean McGregor. Ken-ichi began collaborating with Scott Loarie in 2011, when they organized as iNaturalist, LLC and began expanding the site through numerous collaborations. In 2014 the California Academy of Sciences acquired iNaturalist, and now serves as the home for this endeavor. Scott and Ken-ichi currently maintain the site as co-directors.
We wouldn't be able to make iNaturalist without many, many wonderful open source projects, open datasets, and public APIs, including (in no particular order): Catalogue of Life, uBio, Ruby on Rails, jQuery, Google Maps, Mark James' Silk Icons, and many more we're probably forgetting. We've also been helped by many people along the way, including Coye Cheshire, Andrew McDiarmid, and, of course, all our awesome users!
Ken-ichi is an avid naturalist with a background in both biology and software development, having worked as a wildlife technician, GIS developer, and web developer for a variety of organizations, including UC Berkeley and Goodreads.com. Ken-ichi developed iNaturalist while persuing a Masters degree at the UC Berkeley School of Information in 2008 and continued to work on it in his spare time. Since 2011, Ken-ichi has been working full time as iNaturalist's lead developer.
Scott has Bachelors and Masters degrees in biology from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in environmental science from Duke University. Before working on iNaturalist full time, Scott was a research fellow Global Ecology Department at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University and a lecturer in the Department of Geography at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on biodiversity loss from around the globe including elephant conservation in Africa, deforestation impacts on birds in Central and South America, and climate change impacts on the American Pika in the United States. Since 2011, Scott has been directing organizational development at iNaturalist.