Tech Tip Tuesday: Duplicating Observations

I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but the trees in our pocket of eastern Vermont are starting to look a little bare. Although plenty of color still dapples the hillsides, the high winds and heavy rain we caught at the end of last week has knocked a lot of foliage off the trees. Although we avoided more extensive damage, we know that other areas of New England were not as lucky and hope that efforts to clear debris and restore power were successful.

With the leaves dropping more quickly and the nights falling below freezing more frequently, the cold grey days of winter are becoming a starker reality. The woods are filled with frantic squirrels putting some of the final touches on their food supplies and the fruiting shrubs are offering their last abundant harvests. Now is the time to catch the last glimpses of the late-season migrators and early hibernators before they both vanish until spring.

This Week on Tech Tip Tuesday

Many people (myself included at first) are under the impression that uploading the same photo twice is poor iNaturalist etiquette. I understand why: as naturalists, we want to contribute new information, making us feel uneasy about doubling up on the same observation. It can feel a bit like cheating. However, many photos have at least one other species hiding in the background, waiting for us to identify it. This is especially common with pictures of birds, butterflies, and other critters that we often photograph on or among plants. Many of us are unconsciously biased towards identifying the cool animal, often leaving the equally cool plant unnamed. By duplicating observations with more than one species present, you will contribute a fuller picture of the biodiversity found at that particular location.

There are two ways to go about duplicating your observations to identify new species. The easiest way is by getting iNaturalist to duplicate it for you. To do this, click on the observation that you want to duplicate. Once on the observation’s iNaturalist page, click on the dropdown menu for the blue “Edit” button in the top right corner and hit “Duplicate”. Then, begin entering the information as you normally would and click “Upload”.

Duplicate
Select duplicate

The second way is more time-consuming for you, but easier for iNaturalist to identify. First, locate your original photo. If possible, I recommend cropping your photo to focus more on your new focal species. Once you are satisfied with the photo, make it a new observation on iNaturalist just as you normally would.

As you can see, both of these methods are fairly easy and won’t take up too much of your time. And they are also incredibly helpful. Just think about all of the new species that you can add to your list by taking the time to identify the flowers that your butterflies are sitting on!

TTT Task of the Week

Now that you know how to duplicate, go back through your observations and see if you can duplicate any. Some ideas of what to look for include: a flower or tree, a prey species, or a caterpillar host species. This is a great activity for a cloudy day when the weather is too rainy or cold to go outside.

Thank you for helping us map Vermont’s web of life and happy observing!

Posted by emilyanderson2 emilyanderson2, October 22, 2019 17:23

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