First 500 & general questions

Hi all. After gathering my first 500 species, I’ve learned a lot about how iNat/Seek works, and now have an obsessive hobby. :blush:

I have some thoughts/questions I’m hoping to clarify via these forums, if anyone is able to help out.

  1. Web interface: Under “Your Observations” there is on the right, a tab called “1 observer”. I thought this would be so other people (like my daughter) could log observations under my account, and then break them out by observer. But I can’t seem to find how to add anyone…it’s just me listed.
  2. Any interface: For “Species”, is this all my observed species, or just research-grade species?
  3. I wish there were a pop-up for some levels that say how to get a better ID. For instance: “For this genus, focus on mandibles,” or “For this family, concentrate on where the leaves meet the stem,” or “for pines, be sure to get a clear pic of the bark, habit, pinecone, and leaves.”
  4. Any other tips/tricks people have found to hone in on good species IDing?
  5. If I want to have a discussion about the differences in species A, B, & C in the same genus, where can I do that? The forums discourage this stating “The iNat Forum is also not a place to seek help with identification”.
  6. If I find a species with Seek, say “Common Soapwort”, and then 2 weeks later in a different location, Seek IDs more Common soapwort, it asks if I want to replace the picture. If I say “yes” will it create an additional observation, or replace the picture in the original obsv?
  7. In Seek, there are Challenges. Apparently I am participating in 5 Challenges. If I observe a valid target for any of the Challenges, will it get applied appropriately, or only if it matches with the current challenge?
  1. It’s just a regular interface for observations page, same you see in a project or when you open explore, 1 observer means nothing, but that in filters your id is chosen! Nobody else should add anything under your acount, there’re group accounts, but they’re not really welcomed and should be avoided for a list of reasons.
  2. You can see only RG observations or not, using filters, Species tab is showing all the branches’ “leaves” by default, again with filters you can choose to see only species or other taxon levels.
  3. It’s been discussed and probably will be added some years later probably.
    4.5. Forum is not for ids, but you absolutely can start a topic about partiular taxon, but also you can just tag one of experts from the leaderboard and ask them about it! For iding, you can searh up many topics on the forum about different groups, it’s hard to answer about all of them at once, but here’s a small list of guides:
    Can’t answer about Seek, but you just will find tons of information by browsing old topic, they have pretty much all the answers you ever will have!

Congratulations on your first 500 species!

Here’s to the next 500…


I wish I could check a box when suggestions are outrageously too large or too small. Like when I got morning dove as a suggestion for a distant hawk like bird.

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Marina’s reply is good, but I thought I’d add some stuff and clarify other things (as some details may get lost in translation):

The Observers tab shows all observers for the observations you are filtering for. If you click on the Filters button, you’ll see it’s only filtering the observations that you have uploaded. Multiple user observations is something that has been requested by the community, but never implemented.

The Species tab automatically shows only RG observations, but you can change it to all observations in the Filters dropdown menu, by deselecting the RG checkmark.

I’d recommend you look around on the internet for keys and guides to species of certain groups, such as the Fly Guide that I maintain with my brother.

For sure, you can create a topic asking about the differences between species. That excerpt from the rules is specifically meant to say to not ask people to identify certain observations.

If you click “yes” it will replace the picture in the original observation, as that is what it says. Click no, and it will create a new observation, as long as you have Seek connected to your iNat account.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the Seek challenges, they are just there for fun (and more of an incentive for young children to use the app).

This is impossible to implement, as people take photos from different angles and distances from their subjects. Relying upon shape and habitus is all that can be done when it comes to the Computer Vision AI.


It should get applied to all open challenges.

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re: #4 - one thing I’ve done especially after trying to unsuccessfully determine which of 2 or 3 species my observation might be - if someone gives a suggestion for species level, I’ll ask them if they would perhaps give me a mini tutorial on what they saw that helped them determine between similar species. I use this request sparingly, I try to indicate that I’ve done some research on my own, and I make it clear (because understanding intent on the internet is tricky) that I’m not challenging them but hoping to learn from them.

I took at look at your observations and I see some in MI. I’m in MN so not terribly far from that state. Resources I use that might (or might not) be helpful for other locations in the Upper Midwest: for wildflowers/plants (it really details what you have to observe to get a good id) for butterflies (they have a few other insects as well)
There’s also a series of books ’ ___ of the North Woods’ :

(note: all of the above resources have good info but aren’t always up to date or on the same page taxonomically with iNat - you just have to be aware of that and adjust)

I’ve asked a few people who tend to id in a certain category (on my observations) for suggestions of what I could use as a research in their particular area of skill/expertise and I’ve gotten some good suggestions that way.

I started iNat 2 years ago this month and my activity here ranges between hobby, passion, and obsession. I’ve been interested in nature my whole life. I’ve been birding for close to 10 years. But joining iNat has really changed how I interact with nature. I’m much more aware of small things (I love finding interesting insects), cyclical/seasonal changes, impacts of weather, etc. It only gets more exciting. :-)


I don’t know what Seek is so I may have misunderstood your question. Re no. 6: you shouldn’t replace a photo in an observation with a better picture from elsewhere. The photo is the evidence that that species occurred in that place, so swapping it for a better photo from elsewhere would undermine that principle. It might mean a mis-identification goes un-noticed.

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For Seek, unless you click the Upload to Inaturalist button, all the photos stay within Seek. Updating with a new photo within Seek is just for you and doesn’t affect inaturalist.

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Seek is a new-ish app that focuses heavily on computer-driven identification - you point your phone camera at something and it tries to get to species level using AI. You can make an inat account through it and upload observations directly from it in a limited format (only one photo per observation and no editing extant ones)

Seek is the app based on the same cv iNat uses and is made by same developers, but focused on personal experience and was aimed for minors and is more gamified, if you use forum you might hear about it quite often, as both apps are connected.

  1. Let’s say I create an observation “Common Soapwort”, and everyone marks it Reviewed. Then, an expert IDs it as something different like “Hoary Spillwell”.

Does the observation “reviewed” status get reset so it can go back on the list to be ID’d?

Reviewed is personal status, you mark it so you won’t see it (unless you click on option to see reviewed ones), it doesn’t affect how others see observations. Observation is needs ID unless there are two ids of the same taxon (and no disagreement).

Perhaps you are asking if you will see it again, when the ID changes?
Unless they / you have UNfollowed this obs it will come up again in their and your notifications.

Oh. If the question “will you see this observation again in id tab after it’s community taxon changes” answer is no, unless you find it in “reviewed” list and undo “review”, otherwise this button wouldn’t work as it should be, if ider can’t id it now - no need to get him look at it again without his will to do so.

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I agree the computer could not know unless I give it some feedback.

Even if there was a box to check, it wouldn’t help the system, for the reasons outlined above.

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