Welcome to the Austin Urban Wildlife iNaturalist Project

Thank you for participating in the Austin Urban Wildlife iNaturalist Project! I am so glad to have you all taking part in this effort, and I can't wait to see all the interesting wildlife you have observed. I think you guys will have a lot of fun with this exciting new tool!

Before you begin, though, I have just a few tips to share with you.

Every form of animal life that can be found within the boundaries of the map above is a legitimate candidate for inclusion in a submission to this project. Everything from lowly invertebrates to large mammals can be record here.

Proper identification of the animals you have observed is very important. Please do your homework if you are not quite sure of the species you are reporting on.

The observation submission form includes a "Lookup" button next to the input field used for entering the animal name. This feature will often provide enough information to narrow down a positive ID. If all else fails, you can select the "ID Please" checkbox found above the "Lookup" button to request that other users double check your identification.

Further, all submissions will be reviewed by other iNaturalist participants. Wildlife enthusiasts, both amateur and professional, will check your submissions for correct IDs. You can verify the observations of other users as well if you wish. This "peer review" system is a very nice feature of iNaturalist.

The best observations will be the ones that include photographs, so I encourage their inclusion. It is likely that submissions that do not include photographs will be removed from the project as they are reviewed by the curator.

By default iNaturalist provides limited copyright protection for submitted pictures, which is much more than I was able to do with reader submissions to my blog. Reuse of pictures will require the attribution of the photographer and is limited to noncommercial ventures only. More rigorous copyright protection can be specified in your account settings if you wish.

Fortunately, there is no need to include your best photographs with your submissions. Pictures in this project are for documentary purposes only. This is the place for your throwaways. Blurry and low resolutions pictures are welcome here.

Another important feature of iNaturalist is the ability to specify a very precise locations for the observations you contribute. Part of the process of completing a submission is placing a pin on a Google Map that marks the location of your sighting.

iNaturalist recognizes the potential harm that can come to certain animals when things like dens or game trails are indicated publicly. Their solution is to offer three levels of Geoprivacy that you can choose from when you record an observation. The option selector for Geoprivacy is located just below the map on the submission form.

The default Geoprivacy setting is for the map location to be "public". This option will allow everyone to see the EXACT location you specify on the map. That is probably more precision that what is required for this project.

The next level of Geoprivacy is "obscured." If you select this option, your location will be represented as a random point somewhere within a 10km radius of the actual specified location. This level of precision is enough to provide context for your sighting without jeopardizing the well being of the animals in your observations. For this project I recommend you use "obscured" for most entries.

The final setting for Geoprivacy is "private." When you choose this option no location will be visible to the public. The location of the observation will only be as specific as the entire DFW metroplex. The project curator will be the only person to have access to the actual location information. This option should rarely be used.

I encourage you to take the well being of the wildlife in your observations very seriously, and to reflect carefully on the Geoprivacy level you select.

Another aspect of indicating an observation location is giving the place a general yet meaningful name. What I would suggest in this case is that if you are in a park or nature preserve when the observation is made that you simply use the name of the park to identify the location (ie Emma Long Metropolitan Park). If you are in a neighborhood, the closest major intersection might be a good choice (ie S. Congress Ave and E. Riverside Dr). Some locations may be best identified by how the property is used. In those cases a specific name might be appropriate (ie University of Texas, Morris Williams Golf Course, Austin State Hospital). The names of bodies of water will be appropriate to use from time to time as well (ie Lake Austin, Colorado River). City and county names are good choices when the intention is to keep the location as vague as possible. "Greater Austin" should be indicated when a specific location is not revealed.

That should be enough to get you started. I have already posted a number of examples. You might want to have a look at those to help you get a feel for things before you begin. Also feel free to message me with any questions or concerns!

Thanks!
Nicole

Posted by deleted user, November 23, 2013 04:24

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Hello Nicole,
If I'm not mistaken, your geographical area includes Burnet, Williamson, Travis, Bastrop, Hays, Caldwell, and Blanco Counties? If that is correct it might be helpful to list those counties in your description of the project so folks know those borders a little better. Just a thought.
Greg Lasley

Posted by greglasley almost 7 years ago (Flag)

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