iNaturalist Network

  1. Why the iNaturalist Network?
  2. Network Mission and Key Values
  3. How to become a Network Member
  4. Advantages of Network Membership
  5. Network Member Responsibilities
  6. Branded Gateway localization details

1. Why the iNaturalist Network?

iNaturalist is a global community of naturalists, scientists, and members of the public sharing wildlife sightings to teach one another about the natural world while creating high quality citizen science data for science and conservation. The iNaturalist technology infrastructure and open source software is jointly supported by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.

The iNaturalist Network is a framework for localizing the iNaturalist community on national scales. Such national focus can help make nature more accessible in different parts of the world to the public and facilitate the availability of sensitive biodiversity data for regional science and conservation. The Network operates as a series of separate national-scale branded gateways of the iNaturalist software locally configured and led by partner organizations representing their nation. These gateways are connected with shared infrastructure that operates across the network.

The Network therefore allows participating members to (1) help provide a biodiversity citizen science experience localized to their host nation and (2) responsibly make sensitive biodiversity data available for national science and conservation, but (3) without fragmenting the global community and scope of the iNaturalist project.

Currently, the iNaturalist Network consists of five members: the iNaturalist Department of the California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic Society operating from the United States, the Comisión nacional para el conocimiento y uso de la biodiversidad operating NaturaLista in Mexico, the New Zealand Biodiversity Recording Network operating iNaturalist NZ — Mātaki Taiao (formerly NatureWatch NZ) in New Zealand, the Canadian Wildlife Federation and Royal Ontario Museum operating iNaturalist Canada in Canada, the Instituto Humboldt operating Naturalista in Colombia, and Biodiversity4All in Portugal.

2. Network Mission and Key Values

The mission of the Network is to connect people to nature through technology with the specific goals of:

  1. Increasing natural history literacy, understanding, and interest among the public.
  2. Generating high-quality biodiversity data for science and conservation.
  3. Increase the excellence and international coverage of the Network through new memberships with outstanding organizations.

The key values of the Network include:

  1. Community -- We value community over data generated by the network. If we grow vibrant, local, grassroots communities of naturalists across the globe, then biodiversity monitoring capacity will be an emergent property. But if we focus on generating an archive of biodiversity data while ignoring real people our efforts won’t be sustainable.
  2. Open Access -- Our software is open source, data generated by the project is generally visible to the public (with the exception of sensitive species data and private user data), and released under a Creative Commons license by default (though participants can opt-out of such licensing if they choose).
  3. Interoperability -- Think locally, act globally. While we make efforts to localize participant’s experiences, we believe that social networks and crowdsourcing efforts benefit from large, connected communities and databases. We strive to build a global community of naturalists and scalable streams of biodiversity data that can contribute to science and policy globally. Presently, this means all network members share one underlying taxonomy that cannot be configured independently for different geographic areas.

3. How to Become a Network Member

With the approval of the iNaturalist Network Membership Committee, institutions and organizations can represent their nation by joining the iNaturalist Network. Each member organization must designate an individual to serve as that organizations official representative. These individuals represent their organizations, their national specific branded gateway in the Network, and iNaturalist as a whole. The Network Membership Committee is composed of these representatives with the California Academy of Sciences serving as the institutional coordinator of the Network and manager of Network finances.

The committee will consider organizations for membership that share the Network’s key values and are strategic to its mission. Potential members should be able to demonstrate that their organization:

  1. Is positioned to successfully coordinate iNaturalist activities on a national scale and partner with relevant national education, research, and governmental institutions.
  2. Can carry out the Network Member responsibilities described below.
  3. Can participate in the Network Membership Committee to steer the development of the iNaturalist Network.

If your organization is interested in joining the Network, contact us.

4. Advantages of Network Membership

  1. Leadership in the rapidly growing iNaturalist project by coordinating activities within your host nation and associating your organization with the global iNaturalist effort.
  2. Access to private data generated through your branded gateway including the locations of sensitive species and participant’s private contact information.
  3. Influence in the development of the iNaturalist Network as part of the Membership Committee.

5. Network Member Responsibilities

Community building responsibilities

  1. Help grow the number of users, observations, identifications, and species count from within your host nation through the coordination of outreach activities.

Data steward responsibilities

  1. Responsibly steward sensitive data contributed through your gateway while striving to make these data available for national science and conservation.

Language responsibilities (where applicable)

  1. Help maintain and vet the relevant national translation of the iNaturalist software.
  2. Provide support in the relevant national language through writing and adapting documentation, training a community of fluent curators, and responding to support inquiries (via a google group, facebook page, twitter account, blog etc.) in the relevant national language.

Geographic responsibilities

  1. Help maintain and vet relevant national municipality boundaries.
  2. Help maintain and vet relevant national protected area boundaries.

Flora and fauna responsibilities

  1. Help maintain and vet national species checklists including presence/absence and native/introduced status.
  2. Help maintain and vet national conservation statuses.
  3. Help maintain and vet local organism names in the relevant language.

6. Branded Gateway Localization Details

The iNaturalist technology platform consists of a web application, an iPhone application, and an Android application which can each be configured as a national branded gateway. While these platforms are all under active development, their current localization capacity is described here. Future development will continue to seek this balance gateway localization with facilitating interoperability across the network.

Gateway website localization

Site-wide each gateway websites is configured with custom domains such as, custom logos, languages, home pages, footers and static pages (about, help, etc.).

The network keeps track of the gateway that participants use to sign up. Participants ‘belong’ to the gateway through which they signed up meaning the Network Member is responsible for stewarding the participants contact information. It is also possible for users to change their affiliation in their account settings. Participants dashboards and email updates are localized to their gateway accordingly.

Pages for browsing observations are localized to filter observations by the spatial extent of the gateway nation. All observations contributed through a gateway ‘belong’ to that gateway meaning the Network Member is responsible for stewarding the private locations associated observations of sensitive species.

Pages for viewing and searching for organisms are localized to highlight species occurring within the spatial extent of each gateway.

This includes local names, the native/introduced status and conservation status of organisms.

The project overview page and project search is configured to highlight projects from within the gateway’s spatial extent.

The people page and people search is configured to highlight participants belonging to each gateway.

The places page and places search are configured highlight places found within the spatial extent of the gateway.

The guides overview page is configured to highlight guides from within the gateway’s spatial extent.

Mobile application localization

Because iOS and Android mobile apps must be individually approved when published to the iTunes and Google Play stores, it is impractical to maintain separate mobile apps for each branded gateway. If a Network Member wishes to maintain their own apps they must be responsible for publishing and maintaining their apps.

However, the iNaturalist iOS and Android apps have been localized as follows. When the iNaturalist app is launched on a device, the app checks the country in which the device is registered. If the participant is using the app in one of the Network Member nations, they are prompted to localize their app accordingly. Doing so sets the Network setting on the app which localizes the language and other aspects of the app and identifies data posted through the app as belonging to the specific Network Member.

Revised on August 28, 2018 05:41 PM by carrieseltzer carrieseltzer