Allow more than one species per photo/observation


Lot’s of times I’ve seen photos with bugs over plants where it could be useful to id both species, it could allow to map associations like some bees over certain flowers.

Add an observation field type that resolves to the community ID of a related observation

I’m a fan of the one taxon per observation, although I am keen to see more support for interactions. If we had down votes, this is a feature request I would use one on!

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Users can, and maybe already did, duplicate the observation to ID the plant and bug separately.

See related feature request and some existing functionality for this at:
Add interactions to species pages

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Submit the photo twice—e.g., once for the bee, once for the flower it’s on—then add the field “linked observation” to both photos. You copy the URL of the other observation into that field. There are also a lot of different interaction fields, such as fields specifying what a predator observation is eating and what a prey observation is being eaten by. I highly encourage searching the list here with keywords for types of interactions you want to document! Some of the fields are not the best choices (e.g., the name is misleading, they were for a single project that’s done now, they’re a barely used duplicate), so make sure to read the descriptions and click through to see what recent activity they’ve had. And if it’s a write-in field, check other user’s responses to make your answer as standardized as possible.

Edited to add an example:
This is the observation for a plant. I wrote “plant” in the description so people know what I want ID’ed
Likewise for the bird observation here.
Scroll to the bottom right of the page until you see the “observation fields” section, where I’ve added the “linked observations” field and pasted in the URLs for the associated observations.


I have only one thing to add to jessm-c’s excellent directions. You can use “duplicate” as an easy way to submit the photo twice. The blue “edit” button in the upper right of a posted observation has an arrow next to it. That’s where you will find “duplicate.”


There are a whole range of observation fields for adding names of species associated with the main one in an observation and describing the relationship between them. Although these won’t show as obs under the associated species, they can, I’m pretty sure, be searched for and found easily enough.

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What would be really nice is if we could link observation fields to the community ID of another related observation, eg linking host and visitor. For example you post the observation of the plant, and have the field “interaction->visited by” with a value of “species(nnn)” where “species(nnn)” resolves to the current community ID of observation number nnn (the observation of the bee). A bit like a spreadsheet - another thing to overload those hard working iNat servers :-)


The real advantage of this idea would be when there is a change in ID on the associated observation, the new taxa (CID) propagates through to the field. Currently it doesn’t…

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Yes exactly, at the moment taxon observation fields and the associated observation of the host etc can get wildly out of sync (ie wrong) and no one is likely to notice.

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Because the one species per observation model is such a fundamental part of how iNat stores its data, this would be a massive change and not likely to happen. I think interactions would likely be a better way to address this, so I’m closing the thread.

closed #12