Ideas for a revamped Explore/Observations Search Page

Something like this?
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/search-by-observation-taxon-or-community-taxon/3620

Not exactly. That thread is about changing whether a taxon search uses the observation taxon or the community taxon. I’m asking for the ability to do an observation search that only includes observations that have a community taxon, regardless of what taxon they are. Similar to how you can filter for just Research Grade, Needs ID, casual, captive, verifiable, etc. observations.

1 Like

Since every observation with at least 2 IDs should have a community taxon, isn’t this a subset of the request to be able to search by number of IDs?

5 Likes

I learned of this topic from another asking if endemic taxa can be searched, which didn’t specify Explore or Identify, and from another related topic. I have suggestions about Explore and Identify, which hopefully fits here.

Users and staff have discussed ways to incorporate “endemic taxa” into location searches. This is a great idea which will make IDs more readily knowable and accurate. It would also integrate many iNat elements, like checklists, CV (re: “nearby”), reducing out-of-range IDs, etc. One caveat many probably already know is endemic should be interpreted as “occurs here, but not necessarily only here.”

At risk of seeming too confusing, I also wonder if maybe later on Explore and Identify could more fully integrate. Both are about exploring and identifying, and many wish Identify included a map, or Explore showed more photos in a grid format. If so, there could still be different “views” to toggle between them maybe, but all from the same page (wouldn’t have to re-enter search terms).

Re: site functionality/speed, I’m also wondering if it would be good if Explore didn’t by default open showing all observations globally (unless those were searched specifically).

1 Like

Search->Filters>Category:
I miss a lot of main groups in the filters categories:
Porifera, Cnidaria, Bryozoa, Echinodermata, Tunicata …
It is worse for botanics or mycology, there is just one filter “plants” respectively “shrooms”.

I’d like the filter to be a little bit more specific. If I want to search for marine Mollusca I’ll have to click the snail button and then scroll through endless observations of land slugs. Maybe a filter function for land/amphibic/aquatic/marine species can be added?

Search functions: Combined search (e.g. Porifera AND Tunicates, Hieracium AND Crepis …), excluding search (e.g. Plants MINUS Mosses, Hieracium MINUS Hieracium pilosella …), safe search for phobics in the account settings (NEVER show spiders …).

I also second map search by drawing polygones. Crude shapes drawn only by hand would suffice as well.

Those ideas have probably been proposed already, so consider this post an act of approval. Anyway, thank you for wanting to improve iNaturalist. It really is worth it.

2 Likes

It sounds like you’re looking for the filter manipulations as described here:
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/how-to-use-inaturalists-search-urls-wiki/63

This is possible:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&taxon_ids=130868,48824

Also possible.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&taxon_id=47126&without_taxon_id=311249

Because these are not monophyletic groups this would have to be assigned to individual species/groups which would get very complicated, especially with how to define brackish, amphibious, etc.

A good approximation for mollusks would be to exclude Stylommatophora:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&taxon_id=47115&without_taxon_id=47485

I suppose you could exclude spiders from all of your searches but that might be a bit of a pain.

You can create a place by uploading a polygon you have drawn, and then you can search within that place.

4 Likes

To add, you can also search on the map rectangle you’re viewing.

2 Likes

Wow, very helpful, thank you!

1 Like

I have a Macbook Pro and at least an inch and a half to two inches of real estate goes to the heading which is an inch wide for a 1/4"-3/8" area to type in observations, explore, location and my screen is only 7" tall… Or allow it to be toggled smaller if one prefers or needs more room. When I go to the map feature to see my observations around the world, my observations along the side take up a third of the screen - so turning those on or off to be able to look at the map could also be useful when trying to ascertain something like the range a plant or animal lives in.

1 Like

You can open map to the whole screen:image

2 Likes

I agree. Developers tend to have huge monitors. Your screenshot is a useful reintroduction to the real world.

I feel like when you sort the search by number of faves, it shouldn’t show observations that don’t have any faves at all.

4 Likes

Disclaimer: I have not read through this entire thread. Sorry if I’m just reiterating ideas already presented and dealt with (whether rejected or prioritized and added to the backlog)

Two filtering suggestions:

Filtering for no records. I’m lazy when it comes to entering observations, can’t be bothered to just enter everything, but if it feels significant, I’ll enter it. Filling in the gaps (whether on a species level or related to phenology or geography) is a fun game and adds valuable knowledge. This option could increase the number of such observations. Not only could it be applied to existing finds, it could also function as inspiration for new searches. My guess is I wouldn’t be the only one using it as such.

I could also imagine use cases for a more general filtering based on number of records (above, below or between input thresholds) but the presence or absence of records seems to me the most significant distinction.

Filtering for observations based on geoprivacy level / precision.

You can already search for not-observe taxa and for geoprivacy.
unobserved_by_user_id=
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/how-to-use-inaturalists-search-urls-wiki-part-1-2/63/1

Thanks.

I never thought of the possibility of searching directly via the url. Nice to know this offers more filtering options.

While that indeed addresses the geoprivacy issue I couldn’t find anything to say how to search for no observations, though. Either we have a misunderstanding or I’m afraid I’ll need to be spoonfed with instructions. I’m not talking about taxa (or some combination of taxa and other filters) unobserved by me or other specific observers but taxa with no observations at all. Hence this is not actually a search for observations but a search for taxa.

For instance, I added the only observation of Mediodactylus bartoni specifically because noone else had added one. I would like to be able to find such taxa.

1 Like

Ah, check those topics (wiki and also others about urls), I remember mention of searching by number of observations in taxa, but I don’t really remember how. But I can tell you if you can observe small crustaceans or worms, 99% of them have no observations.

Thanks again.

I read through the wiki - didn’t find anything. Don’t know where else to find anything about urls but I’ll try to look around.

I don’t think it necessarily makes sense to list taxa with 0 observations in clades that aren’t complete on iNat. For example, iNat makes no claim to have all plant species in the database, so listing plants with 0 observations only lists some of the species that iNat has no records of, the known unknowns if you will. There are still more unknown unknowns that iNat isn’t even aware of because they’re not in the system.

However, you can already list species that iNat knows about, but which have 0 observations. For example, here are unobserved bird species: https://jumear.github.io/stirfry/iNatAPIv1_taxa.html?is_active=true&taxon_id=3&rank=species&order=asc
(At 30 per page, the unobserved taxa go to the middle of page 32)

I would think that if the unobserved list existed natively in iNat (instead of pisum’s tool linked above), that the Explore/Observations page might not be the best fit for it as it’s not actually a list of observations, but really a list of taxa. I would see it more at home linked from a taxon page, something like this:

2 Likes

Thanks jwidness.

I like the idea of having it on the taxon page but pisum’s tool works just fine for my needs. Added bonus was you got me introduced to the API’s. I never realized just how much good stuff there was around here on iNat.

1 Like

I think there is merit in trying to fill in distribution gaps and searching for species not previously documented, but to be able to filter specifically for such taxa to guide searches is perhaps a double-edged sword. It might inadvertently add inertia to identify things as the missing taxa and that’s not a good thing. At the risk of terribly oversimplifying all the biogeography represented on iNat, it is probably correct to say that by now almost all common, widespread, and easy to identify (= noticeable) species of plants and animals on all the continents have been recorded at least once on iNat. (I would be interested in counter-examples but let’s not start that thread here.) The flimsy and probably faulty corollary to that is that the taxa with no observations are more likely to be rare, local, and/or hard to identify…and they are for a reason. Highlighting rare and local taxa using a “no observations” filter might certainly be useful for targeting searches, but a huge number of taxa (e.g. tropical plants, insects, and smaller stuff) may be forever confined to the pergatory of “no observations” because they simply can’t be IDed with common human effort even when/if we can find them.

Nonetheless, I am certainly in favor of searching for gaps in distribution and taxa coverage where some level of human effort can have a mathematical chance of encountering and identifying the missing critters.

1 Like