Bulk upload of observations + metadata to iNat from excel

Hi iNat forum community! Long-time forum lurker, first-time poster here, with a question I’m hoping to get answers for.

Is it possible to bulk upload observations and their associated metadata from excel into iNat? I’m working to integrate iNat into ongoing work at an ecological monitoring research field station, including an existing DNA barcoding program for which each specimen (ie observation) is catalogued with associated metadata into excel spreadsheets to upload to the Biodiversity of Life Database (BOLD) for barcoding purposes, along with photos. We were hoping to find a way to put many of these records on iNat too, and to do so in the smoothest/easiest way possible. The only advice related to this that I’ve been able to find is that there is a recommended bulk upload limit of 50 images at once—but we would still have to individually go through each observation and add the metadata. If there is a less time-consuming/tedious approach I’d love to hear it!

Thanks for any help you can provide!


Probably the most efficient method, which is not all that efficient, is to upload a CSV document here: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/import#csv_import

Then add photos to the observations created by that CSV upload via this method: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/video+tutorials#addmedia


CSV upload works pretty well, but I would only do 10-20 at a time until you get the hang of it. I uploaded a bunch of records from another Citizen Science database that way and it worked fine except not all the columns imported correctly. I could never get the Open/Obscured/Private setting to import even though I followed the directions correctly (I thought). All of the records imported at the default “Open”.
If that’s no problem then you should be OK.

Another suggestion on the photos. If they are stored somewhere online where the photo would have a URL, it can be helpful to add that photo URL to each line in the comments/notes section of your CSV file.
That makes it pretty easy to go through the records an upload the right photo to the right record with just a couple of mouse clicks. Here’s an example of a file I imported this way (and still haven’t gone back to add the recording).

Also, could you incorporate the metadata as text in the comment/Note (after the photo URL)? Would really speed up “fixing” your records.

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