Ideas for a revamped Explore/Observations Search Page

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.

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You can open map to the whole screen:image


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.


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.


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.

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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:
(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:


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.

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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.

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It might inadvertently add inertia to identify things as the missing taxa and that’s not a good thing.

How so?

If anything I could imagine focusing on these species might be more likely to increase some people’s zeal to provide such identifications, perhaps even without the requisite knowledge. I honestly doubt this would be much of an issue, however, but if it were misidentifications on these grounds would indeed be quite unfortunate.

I’m curious to understand your reasoning behind the opposite assumption, though. Could you perhaps elaborate?

I believe @gcwarbler was saying the exact same thing as you - that people might be pushed to identify things as unobserved species without good reason.

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As I said, it’s a double-edged sword: Focusing attention on species with no observations will be a good thing to the extent that it focuses searches and identifies gaps in our coverage. But you correctly characterize the flip-side: The “zeal…without requisite knowledge” problem. This is subtle and hopefully an uncommon occurrence. As a long-time birder, I’m aware of the phenomenon of “finding something that’s supposed to be there”, i.e. seeing/photographing something with the expectation that it is the species that ought to be there or, more perniciously, which was the target of a focused search. This “expectation bias” also applies to identifications or confirmations of IDs for uploaded images. IF there is an enthusiasm to fill in missing species, coupled with a lack of appropriate objective analysis of the evidence, then misidentifications may result–and that would be particularly unfortunate for rare, local, and/or hard to identify species. I’ve seen this happen again and again with rarity chasing among birders (particularly listers)–myself included. It’s just a cautionary note, not an objection to the effort of focusing on those taxa with no observations. Does that make more sense?

p.s. This is getting off-topic for the thread. My apologies to the moderators.

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When looking at the map view would it be possible to add a toggle for satellite view?

Could you explain further? You mean a button that is more visible?

Is there a button currently? I couldn’t find one.


Ah, okay. Thanks!