Ideas for a revamped Explore/Observations Search Page

Okay, here is my post on #forum-feedback : https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/extremely-negative-initial-experience/14059

After a sequence of completely negative experiences with everything I’ve tried to do on this forum, I’m leaving.

Display (as a tool tip over the bounding box?) the median width and the height of the bounding box:

(The median width is suggested because of earth’s curvature).

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The Explore feature of Inaturalist has a list of species that only shows 500 of the most observed species. I was wondering after many attempts to try to make it show more than 500, but it was impossible to do so. Is it possible to make a way to show more than 500 species, such as 1000, 5000, or all of the species? I am not able to see all of my observed species. @tiwane @kueda Is this possible to be done? What does everyone think?

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FYI @yayemaster, I’ve moved your comment into this thread as staff has indicated all explore page ideas will be consolidated in one area to make review easier and more efficient. This also helps people new to our community’s forum find and join discussions more easily.

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This is a limit to our search software, its been discussed a few times on the forum. It would be great to extend that limit, of course, but it might make the site nigh unusable under the current implementation. So, we’re keeping it at 500.

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Btw, can parts of lists be uploaded one after one? e.g. first 500 species are replaced by next 500? Would it help?

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@melodi_96 I completely agree, like pages of species. I have always wondered what species I am missing but I can only see 500 species. Is it possible to have some way to make this possible. Or increase the limit to 1000? I mean we are able to display 50,000,000+ observations at one time, so why is it impossible to make more than 500 species visible?

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I have developped a Windows console application to generate reports that can be browsed offline, without limitation on the number of species displayed.

Several options are possible to generate a report (based on all search options available in the iNaturalist API), but also I felt like to add an extra option for this tool to generate all these reports in a single run:

image

The 3 reports named “No picture in Taxon page” help to quicly find taxons with no picture in the taxon page (or with only pictures from external sources, because the API treats them as if they had no picture at all). This way, you can find these pages easily and add some of the pictures available, to show them up in the taxon pages. After that, regenerating the reports will enable to include all these pictures in the reports (without downloarding again the same pictures).

Below are the first 10 rows of the “iNaturalist - No picture in Taxon page - Animals.html” report generated for a region surrounding Chicago:

I prefer the tool to download the pictures on the computer. This way, the reports open much faster, and it’s better for the server.

Below are the first 2 rows of the “iNaturalist - Plantae - Magnoliopsida.html” report generated for Magnoliopsida species observed in the same region:

There are navigation arrows for all taxonomy ranks, so that you can browse the report in both directions, skipping any taxon at any rank as you wish. There are also direct links to all taxon pages at all ranks, and a link from the observations count to the Explore page listing these observations.

First intended to solve the 500 species limitation, these reports can help discovering quickly what exists in a region and some taxa you wouldn’t even (maybe) have asked what they are. In the “iNaturalist - Others.html” report, I saw for the first time what causes a “tumor” on a trunk or “spikes” on a leaf, etc.

The usage of the API is limited, and I never asked to get an account to use it more intensively. On the contrary, I prefered to optimize this tool for sparing the available resources. That’s why the tool will also generate a reusable “Console - Taxonomy.txt” file, to learn once for all from the API the taxonomy, so that many calls to the API are spared when the same reports (or overlapping reports) are (re)generated. This way, what is good for the user, is good also for the server, I hope.

Below is the link (available for 7 days) to download the reports generated for all species in a region surronding Chicago. The ZIP to download contains the HTML files displayed above and JPG files from the taxon pages, for a total size of 1.4 GB.

The region explored:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?view=species&rank=species&nelat=44.3&nelng=-83.4&swlat=39.9&swlng=-90.6

The reports generated for offline browsing, without the 500 species limitation:
https://fil.email/rkJFFnjC

Before releasing the tool itself, I would prefer to have a feedback from the iNaturalist team, in particular to ensure that this cannot hurt the server. (I would deliver it under the MIT License).

@melodi_96 @yayemaster @bouteloua @tiwane

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not impossible, just not officially supported. i’m pretty sure that the forum has discussions of ways to see beyond 500… personally, i’ve never understood why folks are interested in seeing such data presented in the format that is used in Explore > Species page. to me, it seems like if you wanted to see beyond 500, it would make more sense to present the data in some other format or method.

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Sometimes it could help, for instance if you guess the Family and have doubt even about the Subfamily, like here (although in this particular case it didn’t help to browse all Fabaceae species observed in this country, because this observation seems to be the 1st one for this Tribe in this country).

i think a simple distance scale on the map would be a more generalizable thing that might also address what you’re looking for. it wouldn’t be perfect (because of curvature, but it would be good enough in most cases, i think.)

Annotation filters are available in “identify” mode. I think it would be nice if they were available in “explore” mode, too.

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I moved your post to this existing topic on ideas for the new Explore interface.

Currently it is possible to search observations for specific words in the description or tags on the Explore page, and it is possible to search through all the comments on the website from here. Those work sufficiently for very specific terms, or if I know that I wrote the comments in question, but not for more vague terms. For example, I was able to search for “four-leaf” and variants of that in comments and descriptions to find observations for this project fairly easily. However, I don’t think there’s any way currently to search for observations of cicadas with “female” in the comments? That ability could be useful. Perhaps even the Description / Tags field could just be changed to Description / Tags / Comments.

Also unrelated but I’m not sure if this request has been included in this thread yet: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/sort-the-species-tab-by-higher-level-taxa/3043

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I don’t use download, but frequently find a date I entered and subsequently changed remains, even though, as pisum says, any or other date criteria are shown in results. On a subsequent search I dont realise the date or date limit is still in there, my results are odd, and I have to set up the whole search again. This is the most problematic when I started from the “my observations” page, because refreshing the search brings up every obs in the world, which takes a while to load before I can reduce it with filters.

Sort of an “invert search” option.

Go to you observations for a region, then select a filter option that removes your observations from the total list of observations and species known to be in the area, and display that instead.

Much like the “select inverse” command in Photoshop.

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REQUEST: please show observation fields in table view.

In table view:
(e.g. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&subview=table&taxon_id=567829&verifiable=any )
It would be nice to be able to see observation fields.

Might it be possible to have an option to add an observation field to the table display?

For instance from the observation field you can display observations with a particular field(ë.g. selecting on the field name: “Observations with this field”):
e.g. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&subview=table&taxon_id=567829&verifiable=any&field:Population%20size%20and%20extent:%20(redlist)=
but - unintuitively - it does not display the values for this field.

& one can see the values for the field, but it does not filter for taxa or places:
e.g. https://www.inaturalist.org/observation_fields/7420&taxon_id=567829 - does not work.

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Hi, my first post in this thread so I figure I would say I love the explore search and how customizable it is!

As a fun little project I decided to try to come up with a way for users to easily see their observations of state-listed species in Massachusetts which they can (and hopefully will) use then submit these records to the official state vernal pool and rare species database.

The explore functions get me 95% of the way there with the only thing being missing is a minor inconvenience but it would be really helpful if there were a “me” function so that whomever clicks this link is automatically redirected to observations they have submitted of these species. For example the link I currently have on the list page is https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?list_id=3831895&place_id=2&subview=grid&user_id=(yourusernamehere) in which the user needs to manually input their username. Again really minor but if I ever wanted to broadcast this idea to a wide audience (for example if Mass DFW wanted to send it in an email) I would think it would need to be a simple one-click deal.

Also terribly minor but a “not” function would be great as well. For this project it would be great to add tags or fields to iNat observations that have been submitted to the state database so that these could also be filtered from the list for convenience.

Sorry if I’m trying to make the search page into Excel :)

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Wouldn’t checking “Your Observations” in the filters do the same thing?

It does and that is the reason it doesn’t help. If you check “Your Observations” it populates your username in the URL, meaning you can’t copy the link and give it to people so they can see their observations without them manually editing the username in the URL.

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