Automatically add a spectrogram view to observations with sounds

Automatically add a spectrogram view to recorded audio like eBird. It makes for much more accurate bird identifications. There are vocal characteristics visible in spectrograms that are difficult to pick out by ear.

Thanks for posting, @jeffhines! I couldn’t agree more that iNat would really benefit from spectrogram support. There is another thread where we discussed audio support in general. I believe the first step is to make it easier to make field recordings and upload them from the app. I would love if there was an evolution toward an iNat app native recorder with a clipping function and spectrogram generation.

This would make it so that audio observations would start contributing to and benefiting from image recognition identification. The user @mpgranch is currently experimenting with that on iNat.

Great to hear that it’s being worked towards, thanks for letting me know!

In the meantime, my setup for sounds is for VLC to convert to a camera movie file to MP3 and Raven Lite to edit the file and provide a picture of the sound file.

For those submitting audio files, it would be useful to edit them to get rid of junk, like people talking, other wildlife calls, and human noises. An experience person may even try to eliminate the high or low part of the sound (e.g. eliminate low pitched hums from hydro lines). If iNaturalist doesn’t allow editing of the audio file, users will still need third party programs like Raven Lite to do it. If an audio file is not edited (when necessary) it will make it harder for the AI to learn and ID the sound.

Audio people have traditionally set a high bar for technical quality, but iNaturalist is about documentation. I have just been using the very basic Voice Memos app that is native on iOS and records as mp4. It is easy to use and easy to edit out the garbage and blanks (no sophisticated filters). It displays a spectrogram, but I don’t know how to export that. It also records date (but not time of day) but it does not export date or location, so I have to make a note or trust memory. I also don’t know how to go direct from the app to iNaturalist; I email the file to myself and submit it via the web interface, but that’s no more trouble than submitting photos from a camera. Can anyone tell me how to export a spectrogram from this app? Sorry if this is stretching the topic but this seems like the right audience.

I would love this feature as well. E-bird has a pretty nice automatic spectrogram upon audio upload. I think xeno canto does too.

I have uploaded spectrograms as images along with sound files for a few of my observations on iNaturalist. I was just playing around though. I used Audacity (which is free) to make the spectrograms and took a screen capture to save the images.

A couple of examples:

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