Generating temporary observation ID while offline in the field

More often than not, I am beyond cell phone range in the field when collecting mushrooms. iNaturalist will create an observation in an offline state. In such cases the app will use the first line in the Notes section as the source for an observation ID.
The chain of custody for a field sample requires labeling the sample with a observation number in order to maintain the link between the sample and the iNat observation. I have started using a temporary ID, “tmpxxxx”, in the Notes section as a cludge for maintaining a link between the sample and the iNat observation.
The observations, which may be 20-30, are synchronized upon reestablishing an Internet connection. I must examine each observation to determine the actual iNat Observation number (displayed in the Metadata section) and relabel the sample container (wax paper bag) with the permanent iNat Observation number. The relabeling is an especially crucial step if the samples are shipped for sequencing (sequences, using the sample label as a sequence ID, are returned via e-mail).
Feature request:
iNaturalist recognizes the offline state and generates a temporary Observation number. During the synching process iNaturalist recognizes the temporary observation number and presents the user with the temporary Observation number and the permanent Observation number in order to provide the user an opportunity to relabel the sample with the permanent Observation number.

There is an existing request for draft mode


Thank you for highlighting your request.
I believe we are seeking the same feature, although our descriptions are slighly different.
Implementing a field ID, and recognizing a temporary field ID, should be a simple programming update.


This feature request does not include offline checklists. When you are beyond cell phone range in the field you still can select species from a checklist instead of typing the speciesname yourself and making typo’s so the observation does not sync but creates a placeholder.

I found out I already created a feature request for this in the past:

i think you might want to use an Observation Field to add your own custom ID to each observation associated with a field sample.

i originally thought you could use observation fields while offline, but it doesn’t look like observation fields are even available in the app.

however, it looks like a UUID is created with the observation – at least in the Android app. (create the observation, then go back and view it, and it the UUID should be at the bottom of the main observation info page.)

the UUID is long and not easy remember, and but assuming it remains unchanged when loaded to the system, it should be as good an ID as any numeric observation ID. in fact, i can see a future world in which the numeric observation ID will be deprecated at some point, and the UUID will become the preferred identifier for an observation.

currently, you can pull up observations by specifying either numeric ID or UUID. for example, the following links will take you to the same observation: