Download of pictures from our account

I would like to know if it is possible to download the pictures from an account with the pictures, maps, and identifications.
Best wishes,

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it is possible, but not necessarily easy. why do you want to do this? what do you plan to do with the stuff once you download it?


what is necessary to do? I would like to download my own observations to save them in case there is a problem with inat. A friend of mine recently lost his account with over 800 observations, asked inaturalist support what happened and they said he doesn’t know and there is no way to recover the account and observations…

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if the iNat staff don’t have a backup readily available that contains the data and aren’t willing to restore a backup (which i understand, since it would be a big task), then it still may be possible to get the information from another source.

specifically, if your friend’s photos were licensed (as opposed to all rights reserved), then it’s very likely that the basic parts of the observations (date, taxon, location) were saved in the AWS Open Dataset metadata, and it’s possible that because photos files currently aren’t being deleted properly, you might be able to recover the image files.

the biggest issue is that if the observations had some sort of geoprivacy applied, the AWS Data Set metadata would reflect the obscured coordinates rather than the true coordinates of the observation. also, this set of data wouldn’t include any observations that didn’t have photos.

it’s also possible the data might exist over at GBIF (if it hasn’t been deleted already) or in an old copy of the DWCA export to GBIF. the requirements for an observation to be exported to GBIF (research grade + a permissive license) are a little more strict than the requirements for the AWS Open Dataset, but if some of the observations made it to GBIF, then GBIF will have more detailed information from the observation than just the basics covered by the AWS Open Dataset. (it’s possible that iNat staff may be able to provide you an old copy of the DWCA Export file, even if they can’t realistically restore an old copy of the iNat database.)

in the future, if you want to keep a better record of the observation data (without images) just as a backup, the most basic way to do this is to periodically run the iNat CSV Export for your own observations. there are other ways to get more information, but as i noted before, it’s not necessarily easy. so if you want to do something more complicated, it’s worth knowing what you would intend to do with the downloaded data. (in the case of the lost data, would you try to reload the data? or would just refer to the backup and not try to reload the data into iNat?)


In my friend’s case, I don’t know if he would try to reload the observations, probably yes, but I can’t say for sure. In my case, where I want to download my own photos with the largest amount of data available, I want to do it just to have a backup of everything on my computer, for fear of losing it. I have more than 1000 observations, with all the certainty in the world I wouldn’t remember the places and dates where I photographed each living being, so I wanted to know if there is a way to get these data from inat so that I can be sure that I won’t lose them in the future. future due to some issue/bug

if you wouldn’t want the backup as a possible source for restoring data, then beyond the standard iNat CSV export tool for data (or perhaps in addition to it), you could use this page to get print-friendly views of your observations with options for including most parts of the observation, including photos and maps, which you could then print as hardcopy or to a file format like PDF: you can read the thread to learn about some of its limitations and to find the source code so that you can adapt it, if so desired.

if your friend can restore his observations using the suggestions i noted above, let me know how he did it, and i can recommend other ways he could back up his stuff in the future. (i want to know how he did it to judge what kinds of tools and scripting languages he is comfortable using.)

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