Norway - iNaturalist World Tour

Norway is the 45th stop on the iNaturalist World Tour. In Norway, the top observer is @tinekk who is a prolific observer of nudibranchs in the Oslo Fjord. Other top observers with activity centered in the Oslo region include @ttyl, @geirande, @eva221, and GBIF-Norway node manager @dagendresen. @wouterkoch, a researcher at the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre, and botanist and educator @jmgrinde have activity centered further north along the west coast near Trondheim. Further south along the west coast near Bergen several top observers are clustered. @torsten has traveled extensively, but his Norwegian observations are clustered here as are @jornari's observations (we mentioned @jornari and his Denmark Nudibranch site in the Denmark post. World traveler @belyykit is a top observer in Norway, but the center of their activity is pulled east by observations in Sweden and Finland not relevant to this post. Check out this Observation of the Week post featuring a reindeer spotting in the far north of Norway posted by @alessandro_gentilini during a visit from Italy.

The number of observations per month are very seasonal in Norway as to be expected. @tinekk is responsible for the large spike in September 2017. This July the number of observations per month has reached a new high of around 4,000 observations per month.

The disproportionate impact of @tinekk's nudibranch observations on iNaturalist in Norway is making for an interesting graph below. For the first time, mollusks are the second largest species category based on number of observations. Scandanavian nudibranch specialist @jornari isn't just the top identifier for that category, but he is the top identifier in Norway overall. Likewise, nudibranch specialist @jpsilva is the third top identifier. @jmgrinde is the 2nd top identifier from Norway and also leads the plant category. @veronika_johansson has lent a great deal of identification expertise from nearby Sweden as have @juhakinnunen, @borisb, and @ldacosta from elsewhere in Europe. Thanks to all the other top identifiers such as @nannie, @oddegil, @tiggrx, and @wouterteunissen.

What can we do to make iNaturalist better in Norway? Please share your thoughts below or on this forum thread

@tinekk @jmgrinde @wouterkoch @ttyl @jornari @torsten1 @jmgrinde @jpsilva @veronika_johansson @juhakinnunen

We’ll be back tomorrow with the Philippines!

Posted by loarie loarie, August 07, 2019 23:34



Thanks for featuring Norway, these overviews are great!

The dominant platform for Norway is, the Norwegian counterpart of Artportalen in Sweden. (Disclaimer: NBIC, my employer, is responsible for running and developing Artsobservasjoner.) As has been mentioned before in the Sweden discussion, iNat an AO have slightly different niches. While anyone can make an account, the user threshold is higher on AO so most are knowledgeable amateurs. This, combined with the fact that all reporters have to report under their full, real name, means that the experts validating the observations can vouch for most of them even without documentation. I use iNaturalist privately because I enjoy the community aspect and prefer to use one single system for my observations no matter where I am in the world.

As for improvements, of course all platforms can benefit from looking at what others are doing. One of the most important features in AO that iNat lacks, in my opinion, is co-observers. By tagging other users that were there in the field with you as co-observers of an observation, they gain editing access to that observation and can add documentation etc. All (co-)observers get the observation on their personal list (an important motivation), curators have to curate it only once, it often has better documentation and an identification by several observers, and GBIF receives no duplicates for it. It is also a way to re-engage users that have a dormant account. I think the same could be beneficial for iNaturalist, I often see multiple observations of a single individual by different users, that lead their separate lives with varying documentation quality and community ID's.

Posted by wouterkoch 10 days ago (Flag)

the idea of co-observers also has potential in fostering mentor relationships :)

Posted by marykrieger 10 days ago (Flag)

Many many thanks for providing the iNaturalist species report ing platform!! I love the global scope of observation sites and the easy to run a simple bioblitz as we in GBIF more and more often include as part of our training courses. Maybe new features for tagging such bioblitz events (with "GBIF", "GBIFBID", "GBIFBioDATA", etc) could be a possible humble feature request to make iNaturalist even better -- or maybe an even more elaborate feature to connect bioblitz events together to project pages...

What I miss the most most is further improved tools for semantic tagging of records. Eg. in Flickr I enjoyed how freetext tagging was separated from tagging using vocabulary terms from an ontology or a controlled community terminology -- such as the Darwin Core.

When observations are tagged as sharing the same species occurrence between different users (as Wouter addresses) I agree of the need to link these together, however, not sure of always naming them "duplicates". I think it would be very useful to also make it possible to capture different dimensions linked to a species occurrence such as species interactions (feeding on, pollinating, etc) or characteristics such as organism traits or species traits -- needing separate Darwin Core occurrenceID identifiers for different "evidence"/"tokens" of the same "species occurrence".

Posted by dagendresen 10 days ago (Flag)

Many of us would love an interactions module - see - please vote for it if you would like to see it implemented.

The problem with species traits is that they are features of species, and coding them for observations does not make sense: unless it is a variable feature that varies geographically or temporally and therefore data on observations would be useful. Otherwise it is best recorded under the taxon pages, but iNat does not do species-level features (at present).
But for features the observation fields are ideal. The problem is getting people to know about them and record them each time. Sometimes projects helps with this, but again - how does one make people aware of projects, and when one does, how does one stop overloading users with dozens of useful data-collection projects?

Posted by tonyrebelo 10 days ago (Flag)

It's so interesting to read the reflections on the different platforms that are used in different countries. Thank you for the comments! @wouterkoch can you link an example of a shared observation from Artsobservasjoner or Artportalen? I'm interested to see how the shared records flow to GBIF, particularly for attribution.

Posted by carrieseltzer 10 days ago (Flag)

Sure @carrieseltzer!
This observation where I am one of the co-observers of a ring ouzel:
On GBIF it shows up as

We use a pipe (|) as the delimiter, a recommended best practice for DwC in general, including the recordedBy field (, but it does not seem to be picked up as such. For checklists, it is noted on that "IPT users should define the multi-value delimiter for each source file in the IPT". So maybe this is something we can fix ourselves, I'll contact our IPT guy :)

Posted by wouterkoch 9 days ago (Flag)

Thanks Wouter! It's great to see a specific example of how Artsobservasjoner handles that. If different users contribute media, do the media attributions remain attached to individual observers?

Posted by carrieseltzer 9 days ago (Flag)

Artsobservasjoner has relatively few observations with pictures to begin with so chances are there are currently no examples. I can create one to find out, but regardless of what we are currently doing, the correct way to do that would be to use the DwCA multimedia extension which allows for separate metadata rows for each picture, as described on

Posted by wouterkoch 9 days ago (Flag)

Thanks! Useful links for when we pursue shared observations (at some yet-undetermined point in the future).

Posted by carrieseltzer 9 days ago (Flag)

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments

Is this inappropriate, spam, or offensive? Add a Flag