Cambodia - iNaturalist World Tour

We’re in Cambodia on the World Tour today.

Here are the GADM Level 1 and Level 2 places we’re using. Are these places correct?

What can we do to get more people in Cambodia involved in iNaturalist?

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Re. the GADM places. The word “Krong” means city or town so “Krong Preah Sihanouk” is incorrect for the name of a province (Level 1). To be consistent with the other names, the word “Krong” can simply be removed. At level 2, Kompang Seila District is now part of Preah Sihanouk Province, rather than Koh Kong Province. Obviously, that will affect the Level 1 map, too.

With regard to getting more involvement in Cambodia, I don’t really know the answer. There are many nature related organisations here in Cambodia, plus a growing number of individuals (like me) who are interested in nature. There are existing forums that people use (especially Facebook, which has at least the following groups: Natural Cambodia; Cambodian Insects; Butterflies of Cambodia; Birds of Cambodia Education and Conservation; ក្លឹបបក្សីកម្ពុជា-Cambodia Bird Club; ក្រុមថតសត្វស្លាបកម្ពុជា - Cambodia Bird Photography - CBP; ក្រុមអ្នកស្រលាញ់សត្វបក្សី និង​ធម្មជាតិ [another bird group]; Snakes of Cambodia; Cambodian Orchid Society; Wild Cambodia and on the beach; Digital Library of Cambodia Wildlife). There are also many similar groups for neighbouring Thailand and groups that are more specific in terms of taxa scope but broader geographical. It was through one such group (Indo-Pacific Moths) that I started to use iNaturalist. One of the users (Roger Kendrick) strongly encouraged me to add my photos to the Moths of Cambodia project on iNaturalist, so I started to do so. At first I was adding only moths but I have now started to add everything. I have a huge backlog of old observations to add. One of the problems is that many people specialise and use more specialised platforms (e.g. avibase, eBird). “Citizen scientists” are also often busy with different things and do not have time to be posting on multiple platforms. For me, it would be ideal if there was one single data platform underlying all, and specific platforms would simply show their subset. I would go as far as to say that digitised museum collections should be in the same dataset. Failing that, the next best option is that the various platforms share their data, so, for example, if someone records an observation in eBird, it should be picked up by iNaturalist. I realise that this is unlikely to happen across the board, so it leaves the only option of making things as simple as possible and encouraging people to add. From my personal point of view, I have found the Flickr integration to provide a massive time saving. I use Lightroom to process and catalogue my photos and publish them to Flickr, it is a straightforward additional step to then import them into iNaturalist. In terms of encouragement, I found the Moths of Cambodia project to be a great help. I believe that the creation of multiple Cambodia-specific projects could help get more people to add observations but they would have to be advertised and that could be done on the Facebook groups I mentioned above. There are two slight downsides. The Moths of Cambodia, quite understandably, has a rule that all observations must have GPS coordinates, so it can verify they are in Cambodia. I have found that this can add a significant amount of time to my photo processing workflow, particularly when doing it retrospectively for old photos. I made the decision to compromise on this, setting an accuracy level of 100m so I do not have to spend so much time setting coordinates. I now keep a list of the coordinates of the places I visit most often, and simply copy and paste these into Lightroom. The other problem is finding people to manage/curate the projects.

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