Downloading pictures from a project

Hi all,

I was wondering if there is a way to download all the photos from project observations, rather than just a URL link to the default photo. Anyone know of a way to do that?


As far as I know bulk downloading of photos is not supported anywhere on the site, due both to copyright concerns and to prevent users trying to use the site as a photo backup service.


That makes sense, thanks for your response!


Doesn’t make sense to me, sorry.

The present setup, without bulk download or a Sparql backend, forces me to scrape. Such is fairly easy to be honest.

I do not want this practice, but with around 17000 agricultural plant pathogens, I simply cannot download manually. Scraping the images including backreference to the author is however very complicated.As a result, I find myself re-publishing thumbnail size images (which is an allowed online practice), linked to the original image on Inaturalist. I would prefer to show to the autor details however directely with the thumbnail on my site.

I would therefore be seriously interested in a feature that allows uploading a list of Latin names, returning one or more images with proper source description. EPPO has a very interesting tool (be it without images) to bulk download details such as Latin names, common names, id’s. Also here I would prefer something like Sparql or an Api, but it is a good start.

just curious – why do you want to download the photos from a project? i can think of ways to do it, but i can’t think of reasons to do it.

can’t you accomplish that using the API? (see!/Taxa/get_taxa.)

I work at the Denver Botanic Gardens which houses both a vascular plant and Mycoflora herbaria. The curator of the fungi herbaria is trying to document the photos from observations made on iNaturalist for the Colorado Mycoflora project ( We will just stick with links to the iNat observation to avoid copy right issues.

I will be direct, but hopefully polite here, what exactly makes you believe that bulk downloading of photos, many of which are licensed and submitted as all rights reserved and republishing them is an ‘accepted internet practice’?


Thanks. Didn’t see that option yet. Will give it a try.

Update: nope, the API doesn’t offer a GET request for images with a CC0, CC BY or CC BY-NC license. Am trying the gbif-observations download now to see if that covers my use case.

“internet practice” isn’t written out, so pointing to a concrete paragraph in a law isn’t possible. I understand that thumbnail republishing is acceptable. That is also what Google search is doing and I hear no complaints, see no lawsuits around that practice. My practice is similar, using a thumbnail and pointing my site visitors to the original image at its original address of publication.

But the thumbnail issue is not really the point I am trying to make. The point is that without a proper bulk selection and exchange, it is difficult for linked data publishers to properly connect and attribute.

In my case to show an image of a plant pathogen to smallholder farmers and direct those farmers to inaturalist for more detailed images of the same species.

I’m far from an expert on the subject, but can anyone point out any photo site that allows bulk downloading of photos that you personally do not own or have purchased ?

This functionality is not offered on sites to prevent this exact issue. I guess if you want to create a crawler or something and take them regardless there is nothing we can do about it, but this should not be functionality that iNat enables.



Yet, the core issue is that no one is interested in bulk downloading. And certainly not in bulk downloading copyrighted content.
First preference is with an API or Sparql interface;
If that is not available, bulk downloading allowed content including attribution (iNat competition GBIF info is a good example);
Last resort is scraping which is unkind, but often badly/sadly needed practice.

All content on those sites is open licensed, all content on iNaturalist is not open licensed

I’m going to bow out of this conversation, as it is clear you are comfortable taking the content whether it is legal or not.

Sorry that you start insulting me Chris. You haven’t read my earlier writing and the preferences I indicate.
Sorry as well that you are not aware of the different copyright levels at inaturalist.

I’m perfectly aware of all the licensing issues on the site. The fact that you state that scraping content is an accepted and needed practice to accomplish what you wish is telling enough for me.

not true, the user is able to choose a license and some choose openlicense.

i guess i’m not understanding why you need to download 17000 images. when i pointed to the API before, i was suggesting that you could use it to get image URLs with license info and then display those images via those URLs. assuming what you’re doing is non-commercial, that would seem to be okay as long as you’re respecting the licenses and doing proper attribution.


That’s exactly what I wrote, all content is not open licensed, some of it is, some of it is not, depending on the user choice.


I didn’t see a GET request for observation photos URL’s in the API.
Only delete, put and post observation_photos as far as I can see?

Non-commercial and proper attribution fully confirmed.