Http vs. https in GBIF export

This is a really inconsequential question, but I was just curious. I recently downloaded a set of iNat data from GBIF. I use the “occurrenceID” field, which has the address of each observation, to access the observations without issue. However, I noticed that some observations use http and others https. Two examples from the dataset:

For curiosity’s sake, is there a reason why? It looks like the observations that use http may be older (lower observation numbers) at a first pass, though I haven’t tested that systematically. Maybe before iNat defaulted to https? But even so, is there a reason these aren’t “upgraded” to https?

Edit: Just for clarification, if you change either address from https to http or http to https they both work fine, so it doesn’t seem like there’s an obvious reason to have the different protocol in the GBIF export.

1 Like,HTTPS%20operates%20at%20transport%20layer.&text=No%20encryption%20in%20HTTP%2C%20with,data%20is%20encrypted%20before%20sending.

Yes, I understand the advantages of https over http, but I think this then raises the question: why are the http links in the export? Why not use all https and be consistent if https is preferable (and what iNat seems to use currently) and both protocols seem to work for all observations?

@pisum this type of question seems up your alley!

1 Like

i haven’t traced the entire chain from observation to GBIF entry, but it looks like the iNaturalist observation itself stores a URL, which i assume then gets sent to GBIF, and GBIF is probably just using whatever iNaturalist sends. (search for “uri” in these results:,48497523 . note that the older one reflects http and the newer one reflects https.)

i think the shift from http to https is probably due to:

i suppose it would be ideal if iNat went back and fixed all the old stored URLs, but nowadays, i think iNaturalist is redirecting anything http to https. so it doesn’t really matter whether you’re using http or https. you’ll effectively end up at https.

Thanks for your input! Yes, it looks like the old http addresses do redirect to https

I can also see that the addresses stored for images/photos for the older observations are http vs https as well.

Probably pretty inconsequential overall, but I figured I would tag you @tiwane here just in case it’s something easy to change that has some upside for iNat, maybe with the big open dataset export coming up after 4/15 it might matter or something? If there’s nothing else to add, the thread could probably be closed I guess.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.