Add annotations when creating observations

I wish it were possible to add annotations when adding the observations. As it is now, after adding an observation I have to open the observation back up and select values for the annotations then. Which is no problem for one observation, but when I add 20 observations at a time it’s a royal pain.

By ‘attributes’ do you mean Annotations? If so, then there is a forum topic for this already - , and this feature has been requested there.

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sorry if i approved this one too fast, i’m a bit sleep deprived :) That being said the topic in the other thread isn’t a feature request so if this one gets clarified, we may want to leave it for people to vote on

Oh, you’re quite right, Charlie. Yes, let’s wait for clarification.

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My mistake - yes, I do mean ‘Annotations’ (no wonder my search under Feature Requests came up empty!) Do you still want to keep this? If so I’ll go back and edit my initial post for clarity.

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I agree, it would also be really good to encourage the use of annotations as I usually only see them on about 5% of observations.


You can create observation fields at the time you are creating an observation. I believe every annotation has 1 or more observation fields that are automatically linked into it, so that creating the observation field automatically populates the annotation.

For example if doing insects if you populate the observation field called Insect Life Stage - that will automatically propagate into the Life Stage annotation. If you populate the observation field called sex, that propagates automatically into the Sex annotation.

For plants the observation field Flowering Phenology automatically populates the Phenology annotation. The Observation field Sex does the same here.

For birds (and I assume other families) the observation field Life Stage populates the Life Stage annotation

A little experimenting should hopefully find any others you need. You just need to watch that there are often many different just slightly differently named observation fields, and you need to find the right one.


@cmcheatle wrote: “You just need to watch that there are often many different just slightly differently named observation fields, and you need to find the right one.”

That’s the issue. If you try to choose the Annotation “Life Stage”, there are nearly two pages of them listed–so which is the correct one at one moment? That’s asking too much during the bulk uploading process to sift through all those. For example, @jacobgorneau has been properly encouraging folks to annotate their observations for National Moth Week, but in the absence of a convenient way to accomplish this at the time of a bulk upload OR in bulk after upload, then the use of Annotations is going to remain poorly used.


for whatever reason the inat devs don’t want to standardize fields but that being the case it would be nice to be able to ‘favorite’ fields or something to at least be internally consistent. At one time someone had a journal entry or something that linked to the ‘best’ or most used of each field type but… i don’t remember where it is.

I dont think there is an ‘at the moment’ component to it, unless the devs are actively changing which ones are linked together. Is it annoying to figure out which one(s) are linked maybe, but once you figure it out, at least you can do what the request covers which is bulk add.

Perhaps the annotations that are used by iNat for the taxon pages/phenology graphs/etc can have a different label that makes them stand out when people are searching for them? Or add a little iNat icon to those being used in the taxon page graphs? That might help a little. But I agree that having a more formal way to add this info during obs creation would be nice.


If this (adding annotations while uploading observations) is made reality at some point, it would be nice to see them used to improve computer vision suggestions. E.g. I could envision having a picture of a flowering plant and computer vision suggesting not only species that are similar and/or found nearby but also flowering at the same time of year. It may be too early to make a feature request yet for that, since it would depend on adding the ability to annotate before upload first.


Even cooler would using computer vision systems to recognize that it is flowering (or budding, fruiting, etc) based on the image, and modify suggestions with regards to regional phenology without requiring manual input of an annotation first. (See related feature request and staff response).