Advanced Beginner Questions

I know just what you mean when you say that “enjoying” nature is not enough. There’s nothing better than a “mission”, a sense of being able to contribute something really useful.
@lothlin’s advice about striving to take good quality photos is excellent. iNaturalist and the web in general are overflowing with photos, but ones that are really “good” are an absolute rarity… by “good”, I don’t mean artistic, or even technically perfect, but images which simply and effectively “describe” the characteristics needed to ID that particular organism. It’s a tough task, as paradoxically you often first need to know which features are important, but over time, you build up a sort of sixth sense.
For example, a fun and useful personal project could be to take a look at @lothlin’s Layman’s guide to fungi (or other similar) and see whether you would be interested in taking photos to illustrate some of the traits she describes.
Finally, I know your question refers specifically to making observations, but something really useful you could contribute to iNaturalist would be to also start identifying other people’s observations. There’s an enormous backlog and with the current ratio of observers to dedicated IDers, it risks growing exponentially over the next few years. You could try high level IDing of “Unknowns” or at phylum level, and/or study a category you’re particularly interested in and start IDing to finer taxonomic levels in that field. Just an idea :blush:.
P.S. No idea why this came out as a reply to lothlin (or to myself!), it was intended to be general. Sorry for the chaos.


Check with biologists at local landowning agencies/organizations (parks, preserves, national forests/grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, etc) to see if there are any understudied places/taxa or community science projects that might benefit from more participation.


I assume you’re referring to this?

Not really, at iNat’s scale we don’t have the capacity to coordinate with researchers from all over the world. I don’t know how we would vet each project and then choose which projects get promoted. It’s up to the people using iNat for research purposes to do the outreach. On iNat they generally do this via comments and messages.


It was probably because of which “Reply” button you clicked:


They certainly can provide crazy amount of pixels, but that is not necessarily same as actual resolution. The latter is limited by the weakest link and that is often the optics.

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Hi. Fellow Autist here (probably, not officially diagnosed).

I mainly do inaturalist (and ebird) to get away from people and regulate, so my focus is different.

If you have an area of special interest, go there.
Animals are more difficult to take pictures of, but easier to identify.
Insects and plants are easier to take pictures of, but are more difficult to identify.
When taking images, try to take pictures from as many angles as possible (Unterseite von Insekten und Blättern wenn möglich).
Write to a local university or research center whether they use iNat data and what kind of data they would need.

A lot of people don’t fill in annotations. You can help with filling them in. The observations get more detailed that way. You can find those without annotations in “identify,” then filter, then “more filters” and select “without annotation”.

Hope that helps.


Here’s a tutorial for that:

I’ll also note there’s an existing topic for iNatters who identify as neurodivergent if you want to check it out:

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