25,000,000 Observations!

Today we've reached 25 million verifiable observations! Here's a time lapse video that shows when and where these observations were created going all the way back to launch in 2008. You can follow along with the total observation count as it grows.



At the end of 2018, when we reached 15 million observations, we wrote a blog post where we visualized what these observations would look like if each dot represented 100,000 observations. We've updated those figures below. We now have 250 dots: each row represents 1 million observations and each little block represents 5 million. The unfilled dots represent the 100 new dots since the last analysis.





iNaturalist observations now represent over 230,000 distinct species! That's 40,000 more than last time which, for perspective, is approximately the combined number of all bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species. We now have nearly 10 million plant observations and 6 million insect observations. We've passed 1 million fungi observations since our last analysis.

iNaturalist continues to have a strong North American bias, but we now have 2.5 million observations from Europe, nearly 1.5 million observations from Asia, and over 1 million observations added to Oceania, Africa and South America since our last analysis.

We ended up adding just shy of 8 million observations in 2018. As of today we've added nearly 10 million observations in 2019 and are on track to add another 6 million or so by the end of the year.



The core stats we show on the explore page are the number of observations, the number of species that these observations represent, the number of observers, and the number of identifiers. The graphs below show how these 4 stats have increased over time.





It is noteworthy that the number of species has also continued to increase rapidly. The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) recently wrote a blog post about citizen science contributions to the GBIF archive. Their analysis shows that while there are other citizen science efforts that are generating more observations for a group of taxa (e.g. eBird for birds) or for a particular place (e.g. Artportalen for Sweden), iNaturalist stands out as the only global citizen science contributor that is generating observations of hundreds of thousands of species.

We're accumulating new species more and more rapidly - currently around 5,000 new species a month. But this growing rate is driven by the growth of new observations. It's actually getting harder to observe new species. Currently, about 1 in 400 observations represents a new species, but this rate is dropping over time. It will be interesting to see how iNaturalist continues to accumulate new species as they get rarer and rarer!

These 25 million records have a broad reach. iNaturalist data via GBIF has been cited over 340 times, which is just a fraction of the over 2,000 times iNaturalist is mentioned or cited in publications.

Thanks to every single person who helped us reach this 25 million milestone! And thanks to everyone who has donated to help us continue to improve the platform.

Posted by loarie loarie, August 15, 2019 21:08

Comments

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Hey Scott, you've left out 10 million observations in the first para - I guess it's testimony to iNat's incredible growth. A big thank-you to the entire team running this wonderful platform!

Posted by jakob over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Sorry we jumped the gun a bit there and posted a draft, @jakob. It's been updated!

Posted by carrieseltzer over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Love the new species / observation metric. Would love to see that mapped -- where in the world is above and below that average 1 in 400. Thank you Scott et al!

Posted by muir over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Let's get those fishy numbers up! I've been trying really hard to get anyone I know into "life listing" to get involved but it's been a slow go.

Posted by codyhough over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Amazing and wonderful exponential growth! I hope the developers are as excited about that as us out here on the front end...

Random note: I see that the bright dot at 0,0 didn't start showing up until about January 2019.

Posted by jdmore over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Wow! I love how iNaturalist continues to experience exponential growth, hopefully this trend continues for years to come!

Posted by rynaturalist over 1 year ago (Flag)
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So you nearly doubled in observations over the course of 8 months. Wow!

Posted by tgbirdnerd over 1 year ago (Flag)
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I love the infographics, love the app, love the results, so cool to see all of that!

Posted by amarzee over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Wow!!! Amazing!! And this is just the beginning!! Here in Ecuador we´re ready to lauch our iNaturalistEc!!!

Posted by panchoprieto over 1 year ago (Flag)
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The last plot has a log scale - thanks! Now please show us the other exponentially growing plots with a log scale.

Posted by schoenitz over 1 year ago (Flag)
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This is a great project and app. I love it and have been telling people about it. I love contributing to projects being run through this and am happy running a couple myself. Can’t wait for 100 million observations .

Posted by chrisleearm over 1 year ago (Flag)
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This is why I do Citizen Science!

Posted by rstankiewicz over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Everybody keep up the good work!
Cheers!

Posted by flecksy over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Absolutely amazing
I've been on here since 2016
And I've seen a lot of new faces as of late
Including many folks I've brought on here
Here's to 50 million by next August
🎉🎉🎉

Posted by ck2az over 1 year ago (Flag)
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And before I forget
THANK YOU
To all who take there time to ID and verify all of these
Amazing observations we all own them a 🎉🎉🎉

Posted by ck2az over 1 year ago (Flag)
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I really enjoy the graphs and looking at the statistics. Thank You for creating this.

Posted by w_martin over 1 year ago (Flag)
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What about a map showing the number of species that have not been uploaded yet? (just an idea in case you get a spare life time to make pretty maps :-) )

Posted by amarzee over 1 year ago (Flag)
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I'm laughing I can see my 2017 vacation in the video 😂
Love everything about this. My only regret in life was not learning about iNat sooner. Keep up the good work, everyone!

Posted by nanofishology over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Some awesome work! Keep up the good work everyone! :D

Posted by twan3253 over 1 year ago (Flag)
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wow, iNat will need a lot of storage in a few years time growing at this rate!
An amazing project indeed showing so much of this wonderful world we live on.
And isn't it coincidental? the final picture in the timelapse reminds me of satellite photos by night, observations seem to be linked to electricity consumption clearly showing that the poor and oppressed have other things on their mind....

Posted by tjeerddw over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Magnificent work everyone! So many sincere thanks to the staff of iNat -- we observers and identifiers literally could not do it without you.

Posted by susanhewitt over 1 year ago (Flag)
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I see "global warming": The entire globe is warming up to the idea of using iNaturalist for citizen science! The curves of accumulating observations are the same shape as something former VP Al Gore would put up in a chart! It's probably no coincidence that the more recent images in the video begin to mimic the brightness of the night sky around the world. Absolutely fascinating...and so encouraging from the standpoint of citizen science.
Huge THANKS to the wonderful staff!

Posted by gcwarbler over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Well done iNat team!

Posted by sascha_schulz over 1 year ago (Flag)
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It's crazy to think that when I first joined iNaturalist, there were just ~6 million. There's been so much growth since then...
Here's to the next 25 million!

Posted by bobby23 over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Congratulations! It seems like just yesterday there we're only 15,000,000 observations.

Posted by kemper over 1 year ago (Flag)
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As there are more and more dots, the areas without dots become more and more interesting... What can we do to spread the word, possibly equipment, to make this truly global? Thank you iNat team for such amazing work!!

Posted by andreacala over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Yea for everyone involved here! Yea for all the wild organisms that have shared themselves with us! Yea for being one of very few things in our world that gives me profound hope for the future! You are all awesome and I'm continuously grateful to be a part of this amazing community of folks globally...may we see more millions momentarily!

Posted by mira_l_b over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Wow. Proud to have been involved since there were just 25 thousand.
Now 25 million!
25 billion, here we come!!!

Posted by danielaustin over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Magic! I can't wait to retire and add my own Million!!

Posted by andrewdeacon over 1 year ago (Flag)
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I could just cry tears of joy at the beauty and power of what we are doing collectively! Kudos to all the iNat team!

Posted by gyrrlfalcon over 1 year ago (Flag)
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I continue to be amazed, fascinated, and delighted by Inaturalist, which is not something I can say about anything else i see online. The New Species info is wonderful. Would it be possible to see each of those new species as they are identified? It would be great if, for instance, you could arrange the 230,000 species ID'd so far by date of first identification.

Posted by raphael1c over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Spectacular. :)

iNat has amplified my enjoyment of nature and truly enriched my life. Many thanks for this magnificent platform of sharing biodiversity observations with naturalists around the world.

Posted by sambiology over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Congratulations Scott, iNaturalist is a tool that we all needed. I hope and expect it will continue to grow quickly. It adds great value to nature lover's observations.

Posted by edwardrooks over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Congratulations!!! iNaturalist is the best!!! As an ecologist I cannot tell you how much I value this for our profession, for teaching, and for all! I love it and can't want to see where those time series lead in the years to come!

Posted by ecologistchris over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Congratulations!!

Posted by cmtercero over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Congratulations to all those who have contributed with observations and those important identifications.

Posted by dwkfoster over 1 year ago (Flag)
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25k is a lot, 25 million is a lot more!

Posted by jay over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Thank you to the identifiers and experts that take out time to give so many of us citizen scientists support and education of species. A big shout out to the bee experts, the herp experts (coolest personalities on INat), and all of the experts that give me a hand while observing in environmental disaster areas (I actually got our entire crew to sign up on one deployment :)
How can anyone ever be bored again? Such great friendships and common cause gatherings.
Donate to the greatest citizen science project in the world. All of our donations keep it going! Donate to INat!

Posted by carolr over 1 year ago (Flag)
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That's wonderful - congratulations to the team behind iNat and all the contributors. I have been blessed to be a member of the community and contribute my small bit from northeast India.

Posted by ivijayanand over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Congrats to everyone running the INat site.
What was the first obs on?
And is it possible to know which obs clocked the 25k mark?

Posted by shauns over 1 year ago (Flag)
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@shauns
Earliest observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2
Earliest verifiable observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/38
25,000th observation (verifiable or not): https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/25000

Posted by jdmore over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Awesome! Was introduced to this by a colleague in the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage when she asked me to come from retirement and help with a citizen science/school project in 2015. Never enjoyed any databasing so much! Keeps me young I suspect. Just love the power of the algorithms that help along the way. More please!

Posted by rushecology over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Congrats iNat! I include an iNat spiel in nearly all my interactions with potential newbies. It's been a life changing tool! I'm learning so much every day. Thanks iNat, thanks all the experts on the platform!!

Posted by patsimpson2000 over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Congratulations, and thanks for all you do! I just noticed that while we're busy congratulating you on 25 million, the number of observations just passed 30 million.

That was quick.

Posted by jmaughn over 1 year ago (Flag)
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WHOA! Already at 30,000,000? This train has left the station, and has become a bullet!

Posted by gyrrlfalcon over 1 year ago (Flag)
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hmm - I count 25,225,701 - where are you guys getting that count?

Posted by loarie over 1 year ago (Flag)
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My mistake. Maybe I was counting all observations, not just the verifiable ones? I noticed one of the observations I was looking at was #31133537. Sorry about that.

Posted by jmaughn over 1 year ago (Flag)
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I count 29,278,176 including non-verifiable which is certainly more in the 30M ballpark - we probably won't hit 30M verifiable till pretty close to the end of the year.

Posted by loarie over 1 year ago (Flag)
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@jmaughn you're right that more than 31M observations have been created, but many were also deleted. For example, there have been some occasions when someone has done a large csv import and then deleted it all, which increases the unique observation identifiers without increasing the actual observation tally.

There are also, for example, 250K observations without evidence or identifications which is why we use the verifiable count in our celebratory announcements rather than the overall total.

Posted by carrieseltzer over 1 year ago (Flag)
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@gyrrlfalcon , @dloarie , & @carrieseltzer Is is possible or on the horizon to have a dynamic webpage with some of the figures above (and more!) that are frequently updated?! I'm asking for a friend: my inner data-phile. (Also, to repeat my comment above—great work/this is wonderful!)

Posted by ecologistchris over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Thanks, Carrie. That makes sense. My enthusiasm got in the way of my own, there.

Posted by jmaughn over 1 year ago (Flag)
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@ecologistchris I think the closest we've got to that are the ongoing stats page (you can also make it go way back) and the year in review pages (e.g. 2018). The time lapse video was a joint effort by @tiwane and @loarie and loarie made the dot charts basically by hand, so neither of those are easily automated. If that's still not enough, you can experiment with making your own through judicious use of the API. :-)

Posted by carrieseltzer over 1 year ago (Flag)
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@carrieseltzer Thanks! I somehow have not seen the stats page, but I can't wait to play with it! The stats that you show are always super pleasing, including these and the year-in-review pages! If I had the time or were already savvy enough I would attempt my own . . . maybe someday ;) Thanks and congrats again!

Posted by ecologistchris over 1 year ago (Flag)
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@carrieseltzer , are the post without ID or evidence resulting from uploads that failed or created by mistakes? I followed the link you gave and found about 100 from me, so I deleted them, but I'm quite curious how I made them to start

Posted by amarzee over 1 year ago (Flag)
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@amarzee many of the obs without evidence or IDs are probably accidental or tests. Or maybe intentional placeholders.

Some may also be upload errors. 197K are from the Android app (add &oauth_application_id=2) where some users have had difficult errors where data fields from a single observation are split across 2 observations. As always, if you experience anything weird in the Android app, please send us a log file ASAP so we can investigate. Even better if you can replicate it. But I suggest any further conversation on the topic of real or potential (software) bugs move to the iNat Forum to keep the primary focus on this post about the milestone :-)

Posted by carrieseltzer over 1 year ago (Flag)
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I'm so glad that iNat is growing so rapidly. Well done!!!

Posted by tomasp over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Thank you @carrieseltzer ! And I want to say it again, thank you for making iNat such a wonderful thing!

Posted by amarzee over 1 year ago (Flag)
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This is amazingly spectacular news! I'm so proud of all of my fellow iNaturalists!

Posted by sammatey over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Congratulations, a fantastic achievement. It is wonderful to be part of this wonderful work.

Posted by hermanberteler over 1 year ago (Flag)
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I discovered iNat in 2017 and felt like I'd found my tribe, as well as a new way to learn about the natural world I can never get enough of. Thank you so much to everyone who brought it into existence and keeps it growing.

Posted by ocean_beach_goth over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Has anybody noticed the bell curve similarities between observations, species, observers and identifiers? I find that cool 😎 and consistent. Anyway, I feel good to have gotten into it when I did. It was nice to be part of the 25 million threshold. We got a long way to go because insects alone have a million species and plants 🌱 have 500,000. Let’s hope that remains as many species are threatened and we are supposedly in a time of “mass” extinction. Though I have not seen much written about it recently.

Posted by onekoolkid0 over 1 year ago (Flag)
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@onekoolkid0 you might want to have a look at IPBES' press release covering this year's Global Assessment www.ipbes.net/news/Media-Release-Global-Assessment

Posted by jakob over 1 year ago (Flag)

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