Add hierarchical view to "My observations" page

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all doing well. I’d like to introduce myself as a web developer with expertise in JavaScript and Python. I’m excited about the opportunity to contribute to this fantastic open-source project and would be thrilled to work on the proposed feature if it gets the green light.

Platform(s) Seek Mobile App



React tree-chart:

Description of need:

As we continue to accumulate more observations, the “My Observations” page becomes a central hub for our data. While it’s great that taxonomy information is available on each species page, organizing and visualizing this data within the “My Observations” page can be challenging, especially when you want to explore the relationships between different taxa.

I propose the addition of a new feature within the “My Observations” page – a hierarchical tree chart. This chart would provide a structured view of your observations, starting with the highest taxonomic level (Kingdom) at the top and progressively breaking down into lower levels (Phylum, Class, Order, Family, etc.). Importantly, only taxa associated with your observations would be displayed. For instance, if you haven’t observed any “Vascular Plants,” that specific phylum would not appear in your chart.

The objectives of this feature are as follows:

  1. Encourage More Observations: By providing a visual representation of taxonomy, users are encouraged to discover new taxa, fueling their motivation to explore previously unobserved species.
  2. Better Understanding: It helps users understand the relationships between different species. It’s fascinating to discover that seemingly distinct species share the same family or other taxonomic categories.
  3. Taxonomy Learning: Users can learn about taxonomy in a more interactive and engaging way.

Feature Request Details

While the exact implementation details are open for discussion and refinement, here’s how I envision this feature:

  • A new icon within the “My Observations” page would allow users to switch between the species list and the tree chart view.

New “My observations” Page

  • In the tree chart view, users can zoom in and out, explore different taxonomic levels, and collapse/expand branches of the tree.
  • The lowest level of the tree would represent “Family.” Below the family, a list of all species within that family would be displayed. Clicking on a specific species would take the user to its detailed page.

Looking forward to your feedback and the opportunity to contribute to this exciting project !

This looks really cool!

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to me, this seems unnecessary as a feature in Seek, since it just seems overly complicated for that app.

if you want to visualize iNaturalist data, there’s already the Dynamic Life List feature in the website that includes a collapsable taxonomic hierarchy view, and it’s not clear to me why your proposed view would be better. if you prefer some alternative visualization of the data, you can already build any sort of third-party visualization you like using the API.


I agree that this seems beyond the mission for the Seek app, and better intended for the main website.

I do wish that the Dynamic Life List gave more nested taxonomic hierarchies for levels below Order. For charismatic megafauna like birds it’s fine since they’re already so split that orders capture a lot of the existing diversity. But for insects or plants listing all species from an order together at the same level alphabetically gets rather unwieldy, and what is proposed here would be nice.


does it not? here’s what i see if i look at the Tree View in the Dynamic Life List:


Oh cool, I’d never noticed the Tree View button before! My bad. Thanks!
Though it seems in my default settings it doesn’t open nested categories below class-- did you have to manually click on all the carets to expand down to genus and species in your example?

yes, i had to manually expand the nodes in the tree. i do think having to expand it is the right approach, since the tree could be massive if you’ve observed a lot, although, i wouldn’t mind a shortcut to expand a particular node all the way down to its leaves.


The dynamic life list view is very handy. If we were to try to make the visualizations more visceral, it’s hard to beat the fractal approach taken by OneZoom.

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