A faster "annotation modal"

Might it be possible to create a speedier method to annotate observations? Perhaps a unique modal dedicated to the task where one wouldn’t have to click so many times to add an ID? Or just replace the drop down lists with radio buttons? And making it easier to annotate during the upload process so more people would use it (that might not be possible)?

I agree that it’d be nice (but not essential, in my opinion) to be able to annotate during upload. Did you know that you can use keyboard controls to annotate observations via the Identify modal? It’s pretty nifty.


As I know you can add annotations using button combinations, but never explored that theme.

There are a variety of observation fields that are directly linked to annotations. You can enter the fields during upload and the annotations will automatically populate. One benefit of this is that fields can be downloaded, as annotations can’t (hopefully, that will change, but that is the current status).

Examples are

Insect Life Stage

and a whole batch that apply to Alive/Dead from Let’s talk annotations thread

There may be others but those are the ones I am familiar with.

There’s this: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/optimize-the-user-interface-for-annotating/7662

And this: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/add-annotations-when-creating-observations/1513


I appreciate that this is a workaround, but having to remember and keep track of various obs fields to fill out in order to have them populate an annotation is not actually the same as…just being able to fill in those annotations from the upload page. Cumbersome (and forum-only-secret-knowledge) workaround =/= a feature. It is at best a feature that only a small subset of the site is able to know about (and thus is not actually a feature for the 99% of people who don’t follow the forums and feel like committing various obs fields to memory).


You are correct in that it is not the same as using annotations on upload… but it works better for some observers than others. For example, many insect observers can have dozens of observations a day, and remembering to use a single field regularly doesn’t seem problematic.

I find that using the keyboard shortcuts in the Identify modal to annotate observations is plenty fast, especially if you filter observations correctly (eg by taxon). I made a tutorial for this here: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/using-identify-to-annotate-observations/1417 In fact, it’s so fast that I will sometimes accidentally be on a roll of marking lepidoptera as adults and accidentally mark a larva as an adult.

I do agree this would be helpful, and I made an request for it to be added: https://github.com/inaturalist/inaturalist/issues/2353


I did request being able to add annotations during upload when the annotations discussion started - https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/lets-talk-annotations/627/6 - which seems to have been a popular request.

On my bandwidth, adding annotations anywhere is very, very slow, and sometimes has to be done twice for it to record.

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