How to learn more about the iNaturalist site itself (also, 'hidden features' and useful links that exist but don't appear on the dashboard)

So in browsing the forum I have seen references to lots of pages or features on iNaturalist that seem to be ‘hidden features’ - things like how you can see all comments being made or all comments on observations of a given taxon, or all comments you’ve ever made. And now also that people have written add-ons to the site to perform certain functions.

It’s interesting to me that as far as I can tell the way to get to some of these places is url link only, something you either know about, guess, or find out on a forum post, with no way to ‘navigate to it’ from within the site by links. Unless I don’t know where to start looking for it!

Are there other cool things people find useful that could be considered ‘hidden’ or less obvious?

If you know a lot about how the site works in-depth, what would you say most helped you learn or is most important to start with? Besides just continual experience that is, that’s a given.

This can also be about how to use features to explore the data (ex: I’ve been trying to mess around with comparing the same species in different regions by making different boxes on the map)

Also, yes I am going through the tutorials section for things like this. I just thought it could make an interesting topic for general discussion as well.

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Have you seen this?

https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/how-to-use-inaturalists-search-urls-wiki/63/13

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Thats great I see a lot of things there that look useful

Very good question. I see lots of people using features that I cant figure out how to do. One that someone told me how to do on here is how to search for voucher numbers https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&subview=grid&field:Voucher%20Number(s)=
I put that down and then type the voucher number i am looking for

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Another place to see interesting things that others are doing is to follow this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/inaturalistcs/

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such a great question, I came on here to try to see if there was a way to see if a location GPS data was restricted and obscured some by a user. I think a lot of use find it very difficult to figure out how to do some of these searches, Thank you for asking about this

Here’s some of the links I have bookmarked:
Identifications (replace the taxon ID with any taxon to find all observations with that as an active taxon, also other useful params)
Comments (as mentioned above)
Observation fields (I think I found this through a certain field or the projects page but helpful to have)
Ungrafted taxa (for curators, a lot got cleaned up and I think they all fit on this page so not as necessary)

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There are at least two ways to display multiple taxa on a map. For example, here are the four North American species of Clintonia displayed on a single map:

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/map?taxa=53794,76401,118725,51647

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/compare?s=eyJxdWVyaWVzIjpbeyJuYW1lIjoiUXVlcnkgMSIsInBhcmFtcyI6InRheG9uX2lkPTUzNzk0In0seyJuYW1lIjoiUXVlcnkgMiIsInBhcmFtcyI6InRheG9uX2lkPTc2NDAxIn0seyJuYW1lIjoiUXVlcnkgMyIsInBhcmFtcyI6InRheG9uX2lkPTExODcyNSJ9LHsibmFtZSI6IlF1ZXJ5IDQiLCJwYXJhbXMiOiJ0YXhvbl9pZD01MTY0NyJ9XSwidGFiIjoibWFwIiwidGF4b25GaWx0ZXIiOiJub25lIiwidGF4b25GcmVxdWVuY2llc1NvcnRJbmRleCI6MCwidGF4b25GcmVxdWVuY2llc1NvcnRPcmRlciI6ImFzYyIsIm1hcExheW91dCI6ImNvbWJpbmVkIiwiaGlzdG9yeUxheW91dCI6ImNvbWJpbmVkIiwiaGlzdG9yeUludGVydmFsIjoid2VlayJ9

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That’s one of the better ‘hidden’ tools I came across. You can also add details to the legend and label the maps, like so (you’ll need to zoom in manually).
It would be even better if it would accept taxon names, perhaps quoted, rather than IDs. :)

Cheers

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Thanks for the tip! :-)

Another undocumented feature is the ability to search for multiple photo license options at one time. For example, here are all observations with photos licensed as a “free work” (as defined by Wikipedia):

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?photo_license=CC0,CC-BY,CC-BY-SA&place_id=any&subview=grid

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For the identifications link
What do current & blind columns refer too?

This is very interesting! I’ve been using iNat for 2 years, and I remember coming across this feature in my early days (by absolute random chance).

After that I never found it again, but finally we are reunited! Thanks!

According to the API documentation, the &current parameter is the “most recent ID on a observation by a user”, which is kind of vague. Perhaps the best thing to do is browse your own identifications with &current=false. Mine are at URL:

https://www.inaturalist.org/identifications?user_id=trscavo&current=false

You’ll notice that all of the identifications in that list are crossed out, either withdrawn or overridden with a subsequent identification.

I have no idea what the &blind parameter does.

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I collected (from other people) a lot of the features that I found useful and put them on my profile page. That way, I always know where to find them.

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Thank you, trscavo! I have wanted this functionality for a few months, but didn’t see any obvious way to accomplish it.

This may not be “useful” but it’s interesting.

Your observations as a heatmap - replace username with your own (or anyone’s).

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I must admit, that is pretty cool! Thank you :relaxed:
Is it normal that I cannot zoom such that I can click on the individual observations?

Hmm, I can zoom to individual observations and click on them.

After the username there is a hashtag (#) and a number. This represents the zoom level. At zoom level 10 you should see individual observations. It maxes out at zoom level 19.

Maybe if you’re having difficulty zooming in for some reason try adding the zoom level to the URL manually?

Sometimes it’s a bit tricky to get the precise point to click on the icon to call up the pop-up observation window. I find that the point to click is often right at the base of the upside-down teardrop and ever so slightly to the right of the point, but it does vary a bit.

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Ah! Okay, thanks.

I can do that only if I use my computer (Mac) on the iNaturalist website, but not if I access the website from an iPad or from an iPhone. Of course, I almost always use the iPhone or iPad to access iNaturalist.org (unless I’m testing something like this).

It seems a lot of things do not work as expected on my more mobile devices.

Anyhoo, thank you for showing us this really cool feature.

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