To tell you a little bit about myself, I was introduced to iNaturalist through a video by ‘It’s Okay To Be Smart’. When watching the video I was amazed by what I saw. At the time when it was posted everyone was under lockdown. While Covid-19 was still going strong I didn’t have much to do at this point. Since I had just graduated the year prior I didn’t have any school to do, and I didn’t have a job I needed to get to either. With not much else to do I decided to install iNaturalist. I thought it was really cool! However, I was using the app on my iPad at the time, and I found many flaws in its design. After a while I really stopped caring for it due to its imperfections.
It was only in the middle of 2022 that I had rekindled my interest in iNaturalist. It was because of my discovery of the iNaturalist website that my fascination started to grow again! Although this was a great thing for me to find, I ran into some trouble. I started taking pictures of wildlife around the turn of 2018. At that point it was about four years of pictures I accumulated. Despite the daunting nature of the task, I put my best foot forward and started uploading. I only just got caught up with all my pictures last month. Now that I’m up to date it’s been nice reflecting on this journey of mine.
Now with my story out of the way, I was curious to see if anyone else had struggles getting into iNaturalist?
Bravo! I need to trawl my archives for just 2 more to hit 700 species for the Cape Peninsula. Archives are daunting.
And I have - added 2 - hit 700 - thanks!
To my story, I was introduced to iSpot by a garden blogger in North England. Later South Africa migrated to iNat. Using the Pre-Maverick project to clear the trapped in limbo, I have enjoyed reading those old chattier ID conversations. And helping the IDs that are there, but only as comments.
I enjoy IDing Unknowns but for our first City Nature Challenge (Cape Town won!) I had SO MANY notifications, I ignored them all, and offended a few people. I have thousands of CNC23 obs waiting for me …
Interesting, I have never seen the iOS version myself but everyone seems to mention its flaws.
My own inat story starts in 2020, I randomly was using Seek for about a year to crudely identify flowers and I enjoyed all the achievements and the growing list of caught poke…species - until I got a new phone and realized that Seek prevents carrying over backups between devices. All my achievements and the list of species were lost. It was very depressing but I decided to start over sometime in 2021, this time with the (flawless Android) inat app which promised to store the pictures in the cloud.
I didn’t really like at first that others could also see the pictures, but seemed worth the price. I still remember when I posted one of my first flowers in the field. Within 5 minutes an identifier told me it can’t be ided from just a flower-head picture, so I went back and also took a picture of the whole plant and the leaves and it immediately was ided to the correct species - and I’ve been hooked ever since!
I’ve only used iOS, as it is my only internet connection, so I can’t say anything about flaws.
I have been photographing nature since the 70’s. I doubt I’ll ever post the older stuff. Without any record of place or time, and coming up through film to digital that’s too much for me to contemplate.
I came to iNat through the Fieldguide to Everything app. I don’t remember how I found that one, probably scrolling through the App Store. I posted on both for awhile. Correcting IDs on Fieldguide got to be too much. I’ve stopped using it.
I like iNat the more I use it. I’m grateful I stumbled on how to find the forum via iOS. This opened me to understand the vastness of knowledge available and shared.
My friends don’t share my capacity for enjoying nature the way you, ALL of YOU do. Thank you.
I first read about it on Facebook in 2018 and it sounded more like a joke for me, I was into eBird at that time, then later on a guinea pigs’ forum I posted my nature photos and a woman had told me that there’s a project for Moscow region plants on iNat and I should post there, so I did right that, pretty glad that I did it.
I actually started using iNat for work. I’m retired from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) now, but about four and a half years ago, the second in command there came back from a conference and said the agency should look into having a presence on iNat to help demonstrate to the citizens of the state that we were interested in more than just hunting and fishing, that the agency is committed to conserving all biodiversity (which is true, by the way).
If I remember correctly, I started a personal account just to figure out how it works. Then I made the case within the agency that MassWildlife should indeed have a presence and projects on iNat, and the rest is history. I enjoy iNat so much I’ve kept up with it even after retirement. MassWildlife staff still try to keep up a presence on iNat, but as I was retiring, the agency was going through a financially driven contraction in staff, and the current staff just don’t have time to devote much energy to iNat. To my knowledge, though, about ten current or former staff are active on iNat under their personal accounts.
I first got info about it existing a couple years back - I suspect it was shortly after it launched - by a colleague who I met at a mycology conference for students. I finally decided to see what it’s about 1,5 years ago and WOW it was like someone designed a whole system just for me. It’s on my phone! It has maps! It has stats! It motivates me to look at the world in all its’ detail! There is a thrill part, when you discover something rare or completely new! It IMMENSELY helps my mental health, because I can “anchor” myself during hard times and look at grass guilt-free :P
And a few months ago I started using the desktop site to discover once again so many fun stuff to connect with other users :D
I am that annoying person who will tell everyone about how cool is this and all the reasons they should use it XD Even if they are by no means scientists.
Bird watcher since the 90s and I used eBird through college, so I wasn’t interested in also posting on iNaturalist. I joined 2 years ago for the CNC and I recently passed milestones like 9,000 observations, 2,500 species, and 175,000 identifications, so it’s been a good experience
The part I didn’t expect was how much I could learn about the flora and fauna of my region through a website. It’s opened my eyes to a lot of overlooked diversity.
Joined iNat 10 years ago this month. Took a few years before I became regularly involved in posting and IDing, although I’m still not as active as many in doing either. Have donated to the site since 2019. It’s become a go-to resource for me to learn about local flora and fauna.
I first signed up in ~2018 because there was a strange tree in our back yard that I couldn’t identify, but my attempts to use the (iOS) app weren’t very successful.
It wasn’t until a year later in October 2019 when I tried to ID a California Beach Flea that I finally visited the website – then my interest and usage in iNaturalist really got going. I immediately spent a weekend uploading dozens of past observations! During this CNC I passed 6000 observations, 2000 species and 8000 identifications.
I will say… I am this close to getting a cheap Android phone just for the iNaturalist app. I know the staff have been working to bring the app experiences more closely together, but man, it’s like every week I hear of some great feature in Android that iOS doesn’t get (like Missions, which have apparently existed for several years – why is this platform-exclusive?).
I started in 2013, got busy in 2014 with a new job (software engineer on a network firewall - lots of time and energy), but when I traveled I’d post observations. At that point I liked the life list, esp, sorting taxonomically to explore the relationships of stuff I observed, so I was filling that in when I saw interesting things rather than posting consistent observations.
Through the start of 2020 I had some free time so I went through every digital photo I took since 2008 (a lot). Fortunately past me was interested in birds and bugs, so there was a lot to work with.
In early 2021 I wound up planning a May trip to Costa Rica for three weeks so I started observing local insects and plants to prep. for that and started mothing in the evenings. Since then I’ve been mothing every evening and typically posting observations daily (~2400 observations since Jan 2021). My job changed after the CR trip to something much less taxing so I’ve had more time and energy for doing what I liked, and apparently I like finding bugs and birds out there.
I first heard about iNaturalist at the beginning of last semester but didn’t join immediately because I initially thought it was just an AI photo ID platform and wasn’t very interested in that. I joined last month and started posting observations pretty much right away after I found out that wasn’t what it was, although I had to delete my first batch due to some confusion about what I was allowed to upload and what I wasn’t from a class activity. The iOS app is pretty good for posting observations as long as the photo metadata includes the ID, but it’s not good for the community aspects, so I didn’t really get that much into IDing other people’s observations or otherwise participating in the community until I found out about the desktop website. Now I use the website even on my phone unless I’m uploading an observation.
I have a very old Android phone with which I take photos so upload using that application, but then switch to a desktop to fill out things like observation fields and see if I have any other similar observations. I cannot say I have ever been frustrated by the application or the website, but I tend toward patience.
I became a supporter of iNaturalist I think in 2021 because of gratitude. As I am not in the USA I make an annual donation though for simplicity of records.
I installed the app in January 2022 to post a bug that was “weird” to me. After that, I didn’t use it until October of that same year, which is when I realized how it was really used. Now I post almost every day to have my observation of the day.
I heard about it late 2016 from a friend who had just joined to do a BioBlitz. I joined in 2017 to participate in a BioBlitz in my area, but was too ill to go. So instead I stayed home and posted observations from old photos and helped out with IDs for the BioBlitz.
PS I had previously recorded bird observations for eBird, GBBC, and CBC and posted some insect images on BugGuide to get help with IDs. I had also participated in some citizen science projects that involved tagging images to help develop image recognition (not related to iNat).
I was taking a plant taxonomy class, and iNaturalist was included as a resource for help with IDs in the same list as several dedicated AI photo ID apps. If I’m recalling the interface correctly, I also think it’s an easy impression to get from the interface on the iOS app that is accessible to people who have not created an account. Once you create an account, it’s clear that it’s more than that, but I think people may not realize and therefore don’t create accounts in the first place because they aren’t aware of the reasons to do so.
I think, following from what I heard from people who had heard about iNat, but never used it, that the problem mainly stems from iNaturalist primarily being advertised as an app. It is because large part of nature-related apps are about identifying from photos. I am very glad that when first introduced to iNat I was shown the website and its possibilities. Never got myself the app though :-)