Ideas for a revamped Explore/Observations Search Page

I was responding to this request:

Sorry again. (I’m a bit tired?)

The request you were responding is illustrated with a screenshot of this page:

I thought it was compliant with the “Observations” thread title.

I assumed that:

Maybe “we” could create in advance an “Ideas for…” page for everything and define in the 1st post how to check what complies with the thread. (Might be also a good incentive for ideas?).
Or in any other desirable way, to make easier a future review of ideas.

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yeah, I can see how that would be confusing.
This topic is about the Explore page, which currently looks like this:

This topic excludes the Identify page and individual users pages like
^ That one is a very old part of the website and not really considered part of the Explore page despite its URL.

Since the staff are already planning to redesign the Explore page, we thought it would be worthwhile to have a single topic for brainstorming ideas around it—rather than have people propose/vote on separate feature requests. This topic is analogous to the topics to propose specific annotations and brainstorm improvements to notifications. These are staff-created brainstorm-type topics, based on the idea that they are already planning on implementing some new features around a specific subject.

Most feature requests can go directly to #feature-requests.


I really value the “photo browser” on taxon pages as a way to view lots of large photos that includes all the photos attached to each observation.

Many organisms require multiple pics of particular diagnostic features, and the zoomed out pic or glamour shot is often set as the first one, which in many cases isn’t the most diagnostic pic:

I would love a “view all photos” type display in a redesigned Explore.


one thing i noticed when dealing with photo+audio observations is that the generic sound icon blocks the photo in list and map view results, and it is hidden by the number of photos indicator in grid view if the observation has multiple photos. so when the Explore page is revamped, please find a way to make sure the sound icon plays nicely with photos.

here are examples based on one of my catfish observations:


this is more of a minor bug report, but i just wanted to note it in case the revamp of the page doesn’t automatically address it. here are the steps to reproduce:

  1. open the explore page
  2. query for any taxon that you have previously observed. (i picked Marsh Wren.) this should pull back observations of the taxon by all users.
  3. open the filters box, and check the “Your Observations” checkbox. this should automatically fill in your id in the user filter box and also reduce the set of observations to just yours.
  4. don’t close the filter box. don’t click the “Update Search” button. instead, click the back button on your browser. that should eliminate your id from the filter box and also brings back observations from all users, but it does not uncheck the “Your Observations” checkbox.
  5. now uncheck the “Your Observations” checkbox. you’ll notice that it’s working in reverse now. your user id is filled in, and only your observations are brought back.

I tried following those steps, and the same thing happened for me.

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I have never figured out how and when the page does refresh, as results are often unexpected, and one sees that place or date, and perhaps something else, have changed when going back just one click, intending to view the results one had been looking at. I thought maybe it was required to press the “Update results” at a certain point, but I haven’t figured out when.
Sorry I just realized that’s off-topic, and expands on pisum’s minor bug report, which i would like to see followed up.

maybe something to address in the new Explore page

one more minor bug:

  1. open the Explore screen
  2. open the Filters box
  3. select 1/1/2020 as the date you want to filter by, but change your mind, and select Any observed on date. note that the date is still in the Exact Date box, but Exact date is not selected. you can even close the filter box, and open it back up, and the Any option is still selected, but the date is stipl filled in. not a problem. everything is filtered on Any date at this point.
  4. click on the Download option. note that the download setup reflects 1/1/2020 instead of Any date.

i didn’t check any of the other similar filters or other download options, but the revamped page should probably correctly handle all of these possibilities.

I would like to be able to search for observations of others on which I have checked anything in the Data Quality Assessment section. I’m especially interested in searching for observations that I have checked “as good as it can be”, in case extraneous photos have been removed or additional photos added.


I keep coming across reasons where I’d like to be able to view a user’s identifications in a different format than a chronological list. For example, this morning I wanted to look at all the observations one expert has identified as a specific taxon.

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Just switched over to an Apple IPad from a Microsoft surface. I notice that when I am looking at the latest observations on the main Explore page in Map view I don’t see the users name or icon beside their observations. Grid and List views work fine. Is this the design of Inaturalist for iOS or do I need to configure something differently on my device.

My old surface showed the user name and their icon in the same Map view.

This probably isn’t a priority but I’m sure many people (myself included) would appreciate having a way to filter observations to show only ones that you yourself have favorited/starred. There is currently something similar in the observations tab, being the “popular” filter, but this would be a more specific version of that by showing only observations that you personally have bookmarked.
I realize that something similar exists with the “Your favorites” page, but that’s difficult to navigate and search through, whereas what I’m proposing would be much more convenient



this could just be a function of the width of the browser window. even on a Surface, if you reduce the width of the browser window enough, the screen will drop the user icon from the observation list and pop-ups on the Explore page map view.

there is a page that will allow you to see identifications that others have made by identified taxon. (for example, here are all the bird identifications that i made for others: it would be nice to consolidate that page into the Explore page.

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I also wish for taxonomic and perhaps also alphabetic sorting in addition to most observed sorting, which is also great. Otherwise for me the Explore page is nearly perfect.


I love separating my observations by taxonomy as it makes it easier and more interesting to see what I’ve found and cross-compare. I would also love to see some more options for the filters.

  1. I understand why this isn’t in place as it would get cluttered; but if it’s manageable, divide up the “Other Animals” filter. I myself have cnidarians, crustaceans, myriapods, and cartilaginous fish all labeled as “Animalia,” when I believe they deserve their due time. Would it be feasible to possibly combine bony and cartilaginous fish, or mollusks and crustaceans together into singular respective filters? Or something like that?

  2. An option for the little blazes that appear next to observations’ species names (Endemic, Introduced, Endangered+All its subcategories). It’s a pleasant surprise to find that an organism I identified registers one of these attributes, but it would be much more convenient to find and group them all with a click of a few buttons.

(It should be noted that I mostly use iNaturalist for mobile so if one of these features exists on desktop I apologize)


Been thinking about this as well, Would make searching much easier, especially when you are identifying a specific group as well as adding observations. Here are my suggestions for “better” grouping.

  • All insects, crustaceans and arachnids into a “Arthropods” group
  • All fish (including lampreys and hagfish) into a “Fish” group
  • A Cnidarian group
  • A Annelids group
  • A Algae group

That’s about what i can think of right now that i feel is needed to improve the search

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The categories section in the filter box doesn’t have “other animals” as a choice which is annoying to me since I have an interest in crustaceans. Please add the icons for both “other animals” and “kelp, diatoms, and allies” (which is also missing).

Within the Filter window I’d like to suggest filters for:

  • obscured location - any/yes/no
  • location accuracy - < Xm
  • observation licensing

It was pointed out to me I can set these via the URL, which is great, but exposing these via the user interface would be a huge benefit to making this functionality more discoverable and easy to use.

My specific use case is to apply these filters in the Identify page so that I can focus my efforts on identifications have accurate unobscured locations and licensed under an open license.

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