Russia - iNaturalist World Tour

Russia is the 10th stop on the iNaturalist World Tour. The top 50 observers on iNaturalist span the country. Most, like @velibortravoved, are based in the western part of the country including the Moscow area. There is also a large group including @evgenyboginsky in the area around the Altai Republic. The efforts of @snv2 and others are centered around Vladivostok in the far south east. Even the Kamchatka Peninsula is represented through @borisbolshakov's efforts as well as the Caucus mountains through @ramazan_murtazaliev's efforts.

10-я остановка тура iNaturalist по миру - Россия. Топ 50 наблюдателей разбросаны по всей территории страны. На западе страны, включая Москву и область, базируется большинство - как @velibortravoved. Кроме того крупная группа наблюдателей, в том числе @evgenyboginsky, сосредоточена в районе Республики Алтай. Усилия @snv2 и других направлены на окрестности Владивостока на крайнем юго-востоке. Камчатский полуостров представлен благодаря @borisbolshakov, a горы Кавказа - благодаря @ramazan_murtazaliev.



Growth of iNaturalist in Russia has been sudden and surprising. A large part is due to the very successful Flora of Russia project, under the leadership of @apseregin from Moscow University where herbarium based research was complemented by using iNaturalist. This project has just crossed the 100K threshold.

I suspect the efforts of @dschigel, who is Russian and works for GBIF, were responsible for introducing many Russians to iNaturalist. @dschigel started by coordinating translation efforts, then he and his colleagues began running bioblitzes using iNaturalist as satellite events at conferences and courses associated with GBIF-related outreach and activities. They've also done a great deal of outreach on social media including Facebook and its Russian analogue, Vkontakte. It's likely that the Russian love of hiking and being in the countryside is a large part of why iNaturalist has caught on so quickly in the country, but it takes effective local outreach and leadership from people like @dschigel and @apseregin to introduce people to the platform.

Прирост iNaturalist в России стал резким и неожиданным. По большей части это связано с успехом проекта "Флора России" под руководством @apseregin из МГУ, в котором гербарные работы ведутся при помощи платформы iNaturalist. Этот проект буквально недавно перешагнул 100-тысячный порог.

Я (@loarie) также полагаю, что сказались и усилия @dschigel, который знакомит своих соотечественников с iNaturalist: он из России и работает в GBIF. @dschigel координировал перевод (платформы на русский), а также сообщил мне, что он и его коллеги обычно проводят с помощью iNaturalist Биоблитцы (соревнования), как дополнительные мероприятия, во время конференций и курсов по ознакомлению и работе с GBIF. Большой охват (аудитории) был также проведен при помощи социальных сетей - Facebook и VK. Вполне вероятно, что любовь россиян к пребыванию на природе и походам послужила поводом к быстрому завоеванию популярности в стране, но чтобы познакомить людей с платформой, необходимы эффективное донесение информации и лидерство от таких людей, как @dschigel и @apseregin.


Plants and birds top the species categories in Russia, likely due to the success of the Flora of Russia effort and keen birder watchers like @birdchuvashia and @tomegatherion

Растения и птицы возглавляют списки категорий видов в России благодаря усилиям проекта "Флора России" и энергичным наблюдателям за птицами - @birdchuvashia и @tomegatherion.


We’ll be back tomorrow with Colombia! Meanwhile what can we do to make iNaturalist work even better in Russia and sustain this growth? Please share your thoughts below or on this forum thread
@snv2 @velibortravoved @apseregin @eduard_garin @merlu @phlomis_2019 @convallaria1128 @kastani @julia_shner @alexeiebel
(Thanks to kastani for the Russian translation of this post)

Posted by loarie loarie, July 03, 2019 15:23

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10-я остановка тура iNaturalist по миру - Россия. Топ 50 наблюдателей разбросаны по всей территории страны. На западе страны, включая Москву и область, базируется большинство - как @velibortravoved. Кроме того крупная группа наблюдателей, в том числе @evgenyboginsky, сосредоточена в районе Республики Алтай. Усилия @snv2 и других направлены на окрестности Владивостока на крайнем юго-востоке. Камчатский полуостров представлен благодаря @borisbolshakov, a горы Кавказа - благодаря @ramazan_murtazaliev.

Прирост iNaturalist в России стал резким и неожиданным. По большей части это связано с успехом проекта "Флора России" под руководством @apseregin из МГУ, в котором гербарные работы ведутся при помощи платформы iNaturalist. Этот проект буквально недавно перешагнул 100-тысячный порог.

Я (@loarie) также полагаю, что сказались и усилия @dschigel, который знакомит своих соотечественников с iNaturalist: он из России и работает в GBIF. @dschigel координировал перевод (платформы на русский), а также сообщил мне, что он и его коллеги обычно проводят с помощью iNaturalist Биоблитцы (соревнования), как дополнительные мероприятия, во время конференций и курсов по ознакомлению и работе с GBIF. Большой охват (аудитории) был также проведен при помощи социальных сетей - Facebook и VK. Вполне вероятно, что любовь россиян к пребыванию на природе и походам послужила поводом к быстрому завоеванию популярности в стране, но чтобы познакомить людей с платформой, необходимы эффективное донесение информации и лидерство от таких людей, как @dschigel и @apseregin.

Растения и птицы возглавляют списки категорий видов в России благодаря усилиям проекта "Флора России" и энергичным наблюдателям за птицами (birder?) - @birdchuvashia и @tomegatherion.

Posted by kastani about 2 months ago (Flag)
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Some additional figures, stats, and facts.

1) Russia has the smallest number of observers among top-14 countries. Currently, only 6,265 folks made observations in Russia.

2) The 5,000th observation from Russia was uploaded 15 Dec 2017.

3) Russia holds the highest proportion of research grade observations, although it decreased from 82% in Feb 2019 to 75% in Jul 2019. Many professional biologists from universities, research institutes and nature reserves are among top-identifiers.

4) iNaturalist is the fourth largest supplier of data from Russia to Global Biodiversity Information Facility (and most probably it will be the second one in 12–13 weeks). Here is the top-five list of datasets:

1. Moscow University Herbarium (MW) 636,811
2. Geographically tagged INSDC sequences 197,225
3. EOD - eBird Observation Dataset 171,034
4. iNaturalist Research-grade Observations 136,513
5. A grid-based database on vascular plant distribution in Vladimir Oblast, Russia 123,054

5) Being only 9th to 12th among iNat top countries, Russia is the 6th largest supplier of iNat data to GBIF for plants and the 7th largest for all living creatures.

GBIF stats as of 01 Jul 2019 for all live groups:

United States of America 5,426,256
Canada 615,527
Mexico 570,046
New Zealand 318,901
Australia 286,452
South Africa 238,294
Russian Federation 137,226
Italy 133,135
Germany 128,500
United Kingdom 122,351
Taiwan 71,747
Hong Kong 57,818
France 54,990
Spain 46,360
Colombia 44,333
Costa Rica 40,939
Argentina 38,973
India 33,707
Brazil 32,213
Ecuador 31,902

GBIF stats as of 01 Jul 2019 for vascular plants:

United States of America 2,044,910
Canada 223,829
New Zealand 175,744
Mexico 139,044
South Africa 125,742
Russian Federation 75,042
United Kingdom 49,394
Italy 40,370
Taiwan 39,061
Germany 38,211
Australia 29,812
France 16,243
Spain 12,633
Switzerland 12,162
Portugal 10,494
Colombia 10,065
Czechia 10,033
Israel 9,599
Madagascar 9,237
Hong Kong 6,341

Complete iNaturalist stats as of 02 Jul 2019:

United States of America 14,269,236
Mexico 1,589,750
Canada 1,467,157
New Zealand 754,651
Australia 613,203
South Africa 574,866
Italy 494,233
United Kingdom 411,567
Hong Kong 286,078
Colombia 252,322
Russian Federation 245,429
Taiwan 244,683
France 241,554
Malaysia 240,526
Germany 237,319
Portugal 226,032
Ecuador 185,549
Spain 167,251
Brazil 162,654
Costa Rica 126,693

6) Within the Russian iNat community, we are trying to promote high standards of quality control across floristic and ornithological projects as well as open licensing. Floristic projects (merged under https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/flora-of-russia umbrella) are curated by the Moscow University staff.

Posted by apseregin about 2 months ago (Flag)
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Thanks @kastani for the translation of the original post into Russian

Posted by apseregin about 2 months ago (Flag)
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Thanks for the translation kastani (I included it in the original post) and all the additional information apseregin!

Posted by loarie about 2 months ago (Flag)
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Thanks so much for the great bunch of compliments )) I think this is the right time and place to tell my personal story of coming into the iNat community. I'm the curator of the Moscow University Herbarium and the head of the Moscow Digital Herbarium Initiative. I've learned about iNaturalist in the International Botanical Congress in China (August 2017). Some talks given on IBC gave me a general view of what is the iNaturalist. Dr Aaron Liston (@aaronliston) organized a project for pics made on botanical excursions after IBC2017 in China (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/international-botanical-congress-field-trips-china). He told me that iNaturalist is very popular in the US and it is used sometimes for data collecting by students.
I've made hundreds of pics of unknown subtropical plants near Shenzhen. My hands were free from the plant portfolio, because we failed to obtain a permission for plant collecting. Finally, I published photos on iNaturalist in December 2017. Thanks to the generous and profound knowledge of @tongyihua and his colleague (sorry, lost the name!) they were all identified in the field.
The site impressed me by its functionality and magic automatic identifications (although not perfectly working in PRC at that time). My post about iNaturalist in the Russian social network VK with 74 reposts became the most popular post in the Moscow University Herbarium blog (https://vk.com/wall-134484155_654). In 15 Dec 2017, the 5,000th observation from Russia was uploaded to iNaturalist (https://vk.com/wall10828577_1187), but this was just a beginning.
During 2018, the number of observations from Russia had doubled due to the introduction of the Russian-language interface but was still low. In September 2018, the organizers of the big GBIF conference in Irkutsk (hi, @dschigel!) have made a bioblitz for collecting of observations from Baikal area during this event. I guess this was the second time when I saw that iNaturalist is a cool (and working) thing! I've checked merely all plant records later from Baikal and Russia. It took me just few hours.
I am sure that the number of plant lovers from Russia on iNaturalist at that time was very low due to existence of the Russian-language superb portal http://www.plantarium.ru/ which has 1,327 active users and 459,566 pics (current stats). It's really awesome! Plantarium is popular across professionals and amateurs in the Russian-speaking countries, but [imho] its interface stuck in the past. Nonetheless, the leading observers have uploaded to the Plantarium 18K pics! Currently, iNaturalist has many advanced features like apps, automatic id suggestions, batch upload and edit, weekly GBIF export, automatic resizing of photos, etc.
In December 2018, we started the project "Flora of Moscow" (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/flora-of-moscow) as a crowdsourcing part of the research project funded by RFBR and Moscow city Government (https://vk.com/wall-134484155_1708). Being curated by the Moscow University staff members, it became very popular just in few days. Some colleagues from other Russian regions complained that they have nothing of this sort in their cities. I thought, 'Let's do it for everyone, man!'
So, I spent seven days in early January 2019 to start 85 identical regional projects on the flora of Russia and merged them under the umbrella project "Flora of Russia" (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/flora-of-russia). It was a hard job to find good landscape photos for each region and to identify all observations of plants from Russia which were not named before. Later on, some PR releases in social media and via the Moscow University press office worked perfectly. A big bang of data, users, and attention! Nowadays, top identifiers of plants @phlomis_2019, @convallaria1128, and @julia_shner are the Moscow University staff members.
For me personally, the project "Flora of Russia" is the best thing I've made in my professional life after the launching of the Moscow Digital Herbarium (https://plant.depo.msu.ru/) and complete digitization of our herbarium. I hope that day by day the whole map of Russia will be spotted by the dots of observations both in iNaturalist and in GBIF.
This summer universities of Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Bryansk, Barnaul and Sevastopol used iNat on their student field trips. Many thanks to @panasenkonn, @beerolha, @katerina_kashirina, @dschigel, @birdchuvashia, @vadim_prokhorov, @max_carabus, @alexanderdubynin, @dryomys, @antennaria, @milakalinina, @alexeiebel and many other folks for promoting iNaturalist in Russia!

And finally–welcome to Russia!

P.S. Some official press releases from the MSU press office (in Russian) are here:

https://www.msu.ru/science/main_themes/kazhdyy-polzovatel-smartfona-mozhet-pouchastvovat-v-sozdanii-proekta-mgu-atlasa-flory-rossii.html

https://www.msu.ru/science/main_themes/onlayn-proekt-mgu-flora-rossii-sobral-100-000-nablyudeniy-polzovateley-so-vsey-strany.html

Posted by apseregin about 2 months ago (Flag)
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You're very welcome!

It's great to hear that success story, I appreciate your efforts @apseregin - that's an inspiration.

Posted by kastani about 2 months ago (Flag)
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I was so excited to see that suddenly Russia went from an iNat dead zone more or less to this amazing data wonderland. Since parts of Russia, especially the eastern part, have similar climate and ecology to New England, i spent some time poking around looking at how similar, yet how different, some areas were. So neat. Welcome to all of you!

Posted by charlie about 2 months ago (Flag)
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Good figures and words! I have been inspired by iNat tools as well. Here in Novosibirsk we started working to monitor regional biodiversity and Red Book species, using iNat project. The ideas of citizen science are being supported by good media involvement (i.e. http://bit.ly/2LAHQV8 and here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hk4lbckVw4&t=23s). Open Lab for Conservation Biology (Novosibirsk) and Data East have began a development of Red Book species data base where iNat observations are used also. Thanks a lot guys for iNat! It's super.

Posted by alexanderdubynin about 2 months ago (Flag)
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This growth and international cooperation gives me hope for the future of humanity at a time when it's hard to have it...I wish all of our leaders shared our priorities here on iNat. I was going to say thanks and welcome , in Russian, but I don't want to butcher it! I'm excited to see what Russia's growth on iNat looks like in the next few years.

Posted by mira_l_b about 2 months ago (Flag)
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I wanted to underscore the shout-out to @snv2, who is an extremely fine photographer as well as being an excellent naturalist. All kinds of great observations have been coming in from the wild areas some distance east of Vladivostock. I have particularly enjoyed the wildflowers, the great seashells, and the other interesting beach finds!

Posted by susanhewitt about 2 months ago (Flag)
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Also it should be mentioned about the Altai Krai and adjasted regions community of birdwatchers and nature lovers, especially @alexeiebel and company. There are many school projects to establishing new conservation sites and updating regional Red book and so on. I think Alexey could say more.

Posted by kildor about 2 months ago (Flag)
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This is very sweet to read and the growth is indeed exciting. Even though we do try to help as good as we can, the real reasons for the growth are in the attractiveness and the smoothness of use of iNaturalist, very intuitive start, and of course, as discussed above, the energetic community. iNaturalist in Russia did not really enter the empty "market", there have been a number of mainly plant and bird systems & apps which have own communities of supporters, which is ok. Taxonomic agnosticism, AI and ease make iNat very competitive, and I think that Russian interface helps a great deal. I am not sure if they surfaced already, but @apseregin prepared a series of excellent how-to and beginners guides in Russian, which, in my opinion, could be publicized more for any Russian speaking (not just Russian) beginner users.

Posted by dschigel about 2 months ago (Flag)
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Wow! This is truly a lot of work and time well spent, giving all the information and stats. I am loving all the wonderful and amazing photos as well.
It is cool to see how many people are involved in iNaturalist, Globally.
Thank you for your hard work and dedication @apseregin.

Posted by walkingstick2 about 2 months ago (Flag)

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