Can I upload older photos as observations?

Is it frowned upon to upload older photos as observations? For example, I have a lot of wildflower photos from earlier in the spring, but that was before I knew about iNaturalist, so I didn’t make observations with them at the time. If I were to upload them now, would the locations be too inaccurate? I assume my photos are not geotagged, because I don’t intentionally tag them, and I doubt my camera does it automatically. I feel pretty confident in my ability to remember my location, but of course that’s not quite the same as if I had logged it at the time.

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So long as it is your photo, it is perfectly OK. If you can’t be exact, try to be as precise as possible on the location.

There is no statute of limitations on uploading records, and they can certainly provide all kinds of value about seasonality etc.


That’s good news. Thank you.

I started using iNaturalist by working through about twenty years of photos without embedded location data. It was slow going, but satisfying.


I love seeing the photos from the past. Some of my favorite observations:
From Greg Lasley:

Chuck Sexton:

These observations no longer gather digital dust! :)


These are wonderful, and provided the answer to my question, as well. I’m SO excited to dig into the archives and find observations from my own past adventures!


Great question. I never look though my old stuff… but perhaps I will. I wonder if your backdated stuff can count towards a project with set date parameters? Like there was an inaturalist bioblitz in my area for last summer…
I didn’t submit b/c I didn’t have the short form I’m using now (which I love btw - perfect for us casual and lazy observers!)
And… if I get really ambitious I’ll throw in the tree-climbing goats in morocco, the tree-climbing lions in tanzania and the monkey mia dolphins … all from old school pics of course!

So cool. I was only thinking about photos a few months old, but these are even better.

Absolutely! Do the best you can with location, err on the conservative side, and let end-users decide whether the data is useful for their purposes or not.

Here, in Russia, we actively start using iNat last authum. And there are many thousand observations were uploaded for a half of the year.
Even more, the old observations are excellent (and may be even the only) tool for studying the changes of the nature through time.


Here’s an interview with Greg Lasley where he specifically talks about uploading his backlog of images:


Glad to read this. I just started using iNat this week and had a number of older pics on my phone, but tons more at home (from 2008-2011 time frame) that I will be adding. I was hoping they’d be useful to someone and it sounds like they might be. Fortunately everything is date and location stamped!


Welcome to the forum! Any older photos you can upload to iNaturalist will definitely be helpful and having data and location stamps for them all is great. Someone that I follow occasionally uploads observations from the 1990s-early 2000s and it’s interesting to compare those to what I’ve seen in the area if I’ve been there myself.


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