i joined about 5 months ago and was quite active (my observarions). I still have some open questions where i did not find answers in the Help or Forum. They might be considered “common knowledge”, but i have autism and it helps me a lot to have precise and detailed instructions. Maybe they also help others not knowledgeable in the domain. (Many IT/Free Software people like to contribute to community projects like Open Street Map and Wikipedia.)
Most questions are about how i can be most effective with making observations. (i tend to be too perfectionist when i get involved in something. Maybe i’m overthinking.)
- What exactly is my task as an observer? What is the goal of the project? (The kind of answer i want here might become more clear with the following questions.)
- What species is the most valuable observation? How to prioritize what to observe? (Imagine i stand in a forest and i see many plants, fungi and animals around me, but only have one hour time. Maybe the endangered? Not the common ones?)
- For what area is one observation of one species enough? (Imagine there is the same plant every meter. Do i add observations for all of them or ignore them for like 1km?)
- How fast should i observe the same organism again? (Does it make sense to document the presence of ducks in a pond every day when i go there for a walk? Or only once a week/month/year?)
- Does it make sense at all to add observations of common organisms like ducks, ants and nettles?
- Are observations of animals indoors useful? (Like dead insects or spiders. Examples: 1, 2, 3)
- When i come to a new location (on vacation/business trip/hospital/…), what do you (iNat project) and the science community want me to observe there first? (priority)
- When is a location documented enough and i should move on? (Right now, i see the same species every day and have already created observations. I fear to waste the time of identifiers with more observations of them.)
- What are questions scientists want to answer with the collected data? (For conservation or “for science” might be enough to motivate many people, but i would like to understand it in more detail what we do here.)
- What are some insights scientists got from the data?
- What resolutions should uploaded pictures have? (Smartphones have 50 or 100 megapixels nowadays. What is enough?)
- Does it make sense to upload many pictures that are slightly different, even blurry ones or where the animal is partly hidden to make the computer vision model more robust? (Examples: 1, 2, 3)
- When the data i provided is used in a paper, will i be mentioned? How can i become aware of it? (Consider CC BY license)
Answers could be:
- Just go out and document what you notice. Don’t take it too serious. (That would still leave me unsure what to prioritize)
- The goal of the community is to document all organisms that are present in each month, with an area resolution of 1km².
- For conservation, it is important to look out for endangered species.
I started with observations of bugs and insects, now i got a tele lens and document birds and squirrels. I would like to become more confident to do the most useful contribution to science.