Habitat shots acceptable with audio observations?

Hm, that sounds rather unworkable for the typical record…

Would have to try out the work flow, but it could be quite easy.

But, it would require an external site, which doesn’t seem like the best standard operating procedure.

1 Like

Sure not for standard observations, but possibly for those special encounters where habitat mattered. Just a thought.

So this question isn’t intended to be pedantic (though maybe it is!), but in the original example, a tree with a katydid in it (for which the audio file was being taken) was being discussed.

In this example, the tree does indeed contain the katydid making the audio (the katydid just isn’t visible in the pic). Would this still be disallowed?

I do see a reasonable amount of photos on iNat that don’t seem to include the focal organism (moving quickly, got away, observer just uploaded a series without checking closely). Should we be encouraging posters to delete those?

1 Like

kueda doesn’t even want your spectrograms:

(They also confuse the CV)


You could upload the tree as a separate observation, and then link to it in the description. Naturally that only works for habitats with organisms visible (i.e. not something like a bare talus slope).


Right - the tree doesn’t depict the observation’s subject, so it shouldn’t be directly attached to the observation. Same with any other images without the focus of the observation.


Hmmm… That leaves me in a tough spot. I don’t have a computer that works with Inat.

So I use either an iPhone or an iPad to interact with Inaturalist.

It is very problematic to upload an observations on the website from my iOS devices; in fact it fails most of the time by screen freezing so I cannot save.

But, using the iOS app, I can upload a habitat picture for my audio ob. Only, I cannot upload an audio file on the iOS app; that feature does not exist.

The only way I can upload an audio observation is the first create a ob using the iPhone app with a picture. Next, I can go to the website to add the audio file.

That is the only workflow that works for uploading audio observations in my situation.

How would you do it?

Update: now I see there is a No Photo option in iOS, so I can do that, I guess. I had thought iNatters hated No Photo observations.

It’s still a pain in the patootie to have to use iOS to make the record first so I can upload an audio file, tho .

1 Like

No need to add a photo to the observation. You can create the observation with no media attached (grey notepad icon - “No Photo”), then use the website to add in the audio file.

Edit to add:

I have hundreds of observations without media evidence myself. : )

1 Like

They don’t need to be deleted but, in my opinion, should be marked in the DQA as not having evidence of the organism (which bumps them to Casual).

Jinx ! :woozy_face:

1 Like

But if there’s an audio recording in the observation as well, then there is evidence of the organism and it definitely shouldn’t be marked Casual. There’s no way to make only part of an obs Casual.


Great point - I was responding to that specific case above.

I think in the OP situation, just explaining the policy in a comment and asking the poster to remove the photo is the best course.

1 Like

Yes, i was just referring to the case where one photo doesn’t show the organism (but at least one other type of evidence, either photo or sound, does). So it wouldn’t be a totally invalid observation.

I guess explaining policy is the best approach, but man that’s a pain if there’s a lot (hopefully there aren’t!)

1 Like

Oy. OK, if it’s even at that level of photo unacceptability, and with other feedback here taken into consideration, would this then be a true guidance statement?

“If your observation is in audio format, do not include any photos that do not clearly show the organism making the sound. If your subject is not visible but you wish to show, for example, the tree from which a hidden, recorded bird is singing, you can make a separate observation for the tree and link the two observations together by [insert best guidance about using observation fields or whatever]."


You say it “should include the organism” but we can now tag an animal observation (under Evidence of Presence) as scat, track, moult, bone, feather… so that’s not strictly true.
Although I realise at this point there is not an option to tag as ‘habitat’ (and since the tags apply to the whole observation, not individual photos, such an option probably wouldn’t work that well anyway.

1 Like

To clarify, later in that thread kueda does indicate that it’s his personal opinion. Clearly a strong opinion and worth considering given the source and reasoning, but not official staff guidance at this point.


We have several statements here that a habitat photo without the organism is unacceptable. This seems to be based solely on the possible detrimental impact on the AI function, which could conceivably be confused, although I’m not convinced one photo would cause a problem.

We also have several statements that people find the habitat photos very helpful. I’m in that camp.

It’s my understanding that the AI only uses the top photo of an observation. Wouldn’t it be possible to include the habitat photo as “behind” the audio recording so it wouldn’t be used by the AI?

1 Like

Then iNat has to have their own programm to show these, how people are meant to id things like Locustella or empids? In many cases it’s not what you can even hear by ear. People don’t know you can add photos to comments, etc., so it’s solely on iNat that it’s happening.
To the main topic I added them before for projects that required photos, now I deleted most of those, but not all as it takes time to transfer photos, I’d recommend adding all aditional info into description and comments. People are adding meaningless photos to hide gore or even photos that depict temperature, much less informing about species, but really all should’t be added to the observation itself.
@janetwright cv learns from all photos chosen for the process (it add ids based on the first one), but for taxa with many obs it shouldn’t be a big problem.