Easy way to mark multiple-species observations

The ole 5 photo 5 different species
I’ve made a few IDs based on the first photo
Not realizing the other 4 where different
Definitely Need some tools to fix this issue
I fall in to these observations all the time
Will try to communicate to the observer and never get a answer


Ah, but when when checking into most hospitals these days (at least the ones I’ve encountered), one of many forms to be signed says that anything they take out of you is fair game for research. To some degree it’s coercive - are you really going to go to another ER because you don’t want them to do research on your liver? Still, that’s a different discussion!

Point is, it could be part of the Terms etc., with reasonable guidelines in place (e.g., no activity in the account for 2 years, no response to 2 contact request emails…)… Perhaps part of signing up could be the ability to refuse to allow later curation - kinda like opting out of community ID.

As I said, I hate losing data :-)

Not in New Zealand! In fact, we have a situation where you can tick a box on your drivers license if you want your organs to be used for transplants etc when you die in an MVA, but hospitals can’t use that because the law doesn’t allow it. Next of kin can sign and give permission, but they can say no even though it was your wishes!

Oh my! Another case of the less one knows abt something the easier it is!

I require my students to use iNaturalist on field trips… and yes, I go through every one of their entries. It is not unusual for some first-time users to confuse the + button on the same observation with the + button for a new observation on their phones. Perhaps something to clarify this in the design of the mobile app would help.
Also, even though I contact students about this sort of error, and most correct the issue, some still do not.


I do not think that we can extract any useful data from many of the 10x species or 30x species observations that we all see (the record that I’ve seem in 52(!) species in one observation : https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20635888).
When a new user selects their entire camera roll and hits share, we have no idea what location or date goes with any but the first. To simply split them, applying that metadata to the whole roll is conjuring science from nothing. You would have to change the internals of iNat so that each photo retains its own location and date metadata during upload (so all currently existing multi obs will never be of any value, their data is gone)
The best you can do to represent the truth is to mark to the highest common denominator, our current standard practice. (and this is easy) : User X saw a (bunch, 52x) of Tracheophyta, at least one was on this day.

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iNat does keep the metadata of each photo, as discussed above:

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Thanks Tony, in the 52x observation above, there is no GPS data embedded in any of the photos, so if you ever do make a “split” button, please disable it unless each photo has its own data.


I’m imagining someone deciding to split some of my observations without asking me, particularly where i have shown interactions… I do hope it is well thought out and impacts for the better! (assuming of course it is implemented!)

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@kiwifergus Which is why it’s critical to have guidelines that include something like the obs owner must have been inactive for at least 2 years and not have responded to email contact requests.

I’m not sure if this was covered by a comment above, but a warning dialogue box if more than, say, 5 (?), pix are being uploaded to one observation? Or 7? We could probably use the data to find the right number. Perhaps the median number of pix currently uploaded per observation, or perhaps median plus some number. I do agree that the best solution of all is to prevent it, but this is a different conversation. Not mutually exclusive, just different.


I think its actually very tricky to make one species observation photos. In my humble experience most bugs hang out on leaves, on flowers or on bark of sometimes quite interesting plants. … Would be much better to allow for multiple identifications of the same observation, as multiple organisms as part of the observation, are rather the rule than the exception.

i dont know how to handle this with e.g. multiple photos, as in multiple photo observations, each photo might have its own set of organisms …


The topic refers to observations like this, with multiple unrelated photos:

Not photos like this, with multiple species per photo:


thanks for the explanation.

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I just found out that there is an identification method on iNaturalist in which only the first photo is shown and comments are not shown. This method involves just identifying off the panel in the Identify tool without actually going into it. (It has been here a long time probably, but I never noticed the “Agree” tabs right on the panel.) This makes me think that there should be a separate DQA category for multiple-species observations to immediately take them out of “Needs ID.” (Same for duplicate observations.)

By separate vote within this thread?

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Here is another case in point


Is anyone against having DQA categories for observations having photos of multiple organisms and duplicate observations, to get them out of the “Needs ID” feed faster?


I’m against it if it’s implemented the same way DQA fields are now, i.e. available to all users with no one being notified when something is voted on there.


Good point.


when you put it that way i’m kind of almost against all the DQA… except I think the iNat admins are planning to fix that issue. I wonder how many of my observations have been flagged without my knowledge… hmm


Aside: Why is this a “plant” when picture 4 is arguably a duck?