What is it

iNaturalist is a lot of different things, but at its core,

iNaturalist is an online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature

It's also a crowdsourced species identification system and an organism occurrence recording tool. You can use it to record your own observations, get help with identifications, collaborate with others to collect this kind of information for a common purpose, or access the observational data collected by iNaturalist users.

Why iNaturalist?

Vision iNaturalist's vision is a world where everyone can understand and sustain biodiversity through the practice of observing wild organisms and sharing information about them.

Mission iNaturalist’s mission is to build a global community of 100 million naturalists by 2030 in order to connect people to nature and advance biodiversity science and conservation.

We’re working to achieve this mission by continuing to improve iNaturalist as a social network for engaging the public with nature, generating high quality biodiversity data, and synthesizing that data into tools such as the computer vision model that help the iNaturalist community do their work. We’re also working to help ensure that iNaturalist’s technical and social infrastructure can operate at larger scales required to support our mission.

What it isn't

Since people occasionally misunderstand iNat's purpose, here are some things iNaturalist is not:

It's NOT a data repository

Our approach towards advancing science and conservation is to focus on supporting a large healthy community using the platform to generate, share, explore and curate data rather than focusing on accruing data directly. As such, iNat is not a data repository and isn’t a good place to drop off external data not generated on the platform unless you plan on engaging with and curating those data on iNat.

It's NOT a way to backup your photos

We resize and reprocess all the photos directly uploaded to iNat. And while we do archive photos from 3rd party services like Flickr, do not rely on us to keep the original information in photos you add to iNat. Maintain good backups on your own hardware, or use one of the many cloud-based backup solutions out there.

It's NOT a tool for mapping everything

It's not even here to map all ecological phenomena, like rocks, trash, water features, etc. iNaturalist is for recording observations of individual living things, particularly things that can be tied to a species name. It's certainly not here to map your friends, security camera, recycling bins, etc. If you're interested in those kinds of things, try a photo-sharing site (many of them include maps), Open Data Kit, or another mapping platform.

It's NOT a way to collect secret information

iNat is fundamentally about sharing information. If law, local policy, or the particularities of your project require that you keep information hidden from public view, iNaturalist is probably not the platform for you. We do perform some limited obfuscation of coordinates where threatened species are concerned, and if that's enough for you, great, but if you need more secrecy, seek out a different platform. We totally understand these needs, but iNat isn't the proper tool to meet them.

Revised on May 04, 2022 22:06 by loarie loarie