An Introduction to iNaturalist

Hey all, sorry for not posting in a while (you can expect a lot more posts in the future).

What is iNaturalist? iNaturalist is a platform somewhat similar to eBird, a citizen-science project dedicated to documenting life on Earth. Although, there are a couple of significant differences between iNat and eBird. First,  is that eBird is only for birds, iNat is for literally every living thing. Secondly, with eBird you need little evidence (at least for common birds) that you really saw, say an American Robin, whereas iNat requires you to have a picture/audio of the organism (if not, you can still put in a blank observation, but it won’t reach research grade). Although, I actually find iNat easier to use than eBird.

Why use iNat?

Whenever you submit your observations to iNat, you are actually contributing to science! All the Research Grade data is periodically uploaded to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (or GBIF for short). Anyone can download iNat data whether for personal use or scientific research!

Another one of my favorite things about iNat is how easy it is to learn new subjects. Within just a few months of using iNat, I learned how to ID a lot of the plants in the area and a bunch of beetles, arachnids, & other insects. Also, you can help others learn by identifying observations for them!

The Website

The iNat website ( is fantastic, with easy access to all of your observations as well as cool graphs on all of the projects and an easy to use observation uploader. Below are some screenshots of the features of the website.

Identify observations for others.
Participate in projects.
View your life list.
Explore observations from around the world.

The App

INaturalist’s mobile application is a great way to record your observations quickly, it’s as easy as taking a picture, clicking “suggest ID,” and clicking submit. Some screenshots on how to use the app are below.

Look out for a post soon about the upcoming City Nature Challenge.

Published by Oliver Burrus


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