Implement "taxonomic view" for observations search page

At the moment, the observations page allows for map, grid and list views. If one wants to show the relations between the taxa included in the observation search, the only method to achieve this is to prepare (manually) a list with these taxa.

As per statements of inaturalist staff on the google group, lists are a legacy feature and low priority.

I’d like therefore to request that the taxonomic view is implemented for as well.

I agree. This would be really useful for projects as well: the species list are currently sorted by most observed first, which can be a pain if you just want to quickly get an idea of f.e. all the mammal species in the area.


I would like this as well, although I have used my votes for other things.
There are some posts on the Google Group requesting this. I think they are waiting to completely redo the Explore/observation page/filters or something like that?


Are you requesting that this view
has a “taxonomic order” in addition to the “most observed” view.

So on the species tab you want the choice of two sequence options?

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Yes. This is inspired by the taxonomic view available in project lists:

Since lists are all but unsupported at this point, and the “reload from obs.” button has disappeared (at least for me, I guess), it is difficult to see the taxonomic tree for a specific location, or in a project. The species list in the observation search page you linked seems the logical place for having a taxonomic view.


I would like to have any upcoming taxonomic sort feature to be something along the lines of Guides (or something better) so that we can drill down the taxonomic hierarchy as an identification tool. For example, using a Guide such as this one, I can quickly browse each of the taxonomic groups that I think an unknown specimen might be in, looking for a match or something similar. It’s a great way to become more familiar with the hierarchical structure of biodiversity and a very good way to go about identifying unknown specimens. But it requires a Guide to be able to do this–and they’re no longer supported and take a long while to create for the region of interest. I think the inability to view observations in a taxonomic hierarchy is a huge gaping hole in iNaturalist’s feature list.


Just an FYI that we plan on rewriting the Explore page from the ground up in the next year, so any major changes will not be added until that happens. We’ve added this as a feature to consider for the rewrite.


Thank you for the update. Anything that makes the Explore page more systematic will be useful.

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Anything else we could potentially see from this update?

We’re not sure yet. The issue is that the Explore page is written in a type of code we have chosen to not use for the rest of the site, so it has to be rewritten in different code from the ground up, and when we do that we’ll look at ways to improve it, including this one. And we’re keeping a list of requests and ides. Will take some time, though.


It’s a good idea, I’m more interested in the occurrence of subspecies not the amount of times something has been observed.

Will the “explore” page be more map based?
In the app, you type in what site/region your interested in, but there is no way of indicating a radius for that region, like you can when you are looking for a specific species.

By Explore page I mean our Observations Search page: You can make a bounding box but not a radius. You can also search by places by going to Filters -> more filters -> Places

In addition to taxa hierarchy, keying out features would be great. In this situation, there are boxes you can check off for size, color, presence or lack of certain key features. Visual algorithms can only do so much. With the iNaturalist app, I can often get to genus level (unless Asteracea, the plant family of the typical yellow flower, observations are involved). After that, books and certain measurements or knowledge of anatomy are needed.

Too, you can have taxonomic view with the “children”? list of species and subspecies but still not come closer to identifying a species. For example, for my particular interests of plants, I can get to “Lupinus” genus, but that genus also has 2-3 subgenus and hundreds of species, even if we know which species are more likely present in a region, harder information is needed to narrow choices down further.

Thus far, the only way to truly confirm a species is to use a book that helps you key out the species. To my knowledge, no mobile app exists to get more technical on species and spp. identification. Whereby you can use it as a manual for identification. Some apps come close but are lacking complete families. iNatualist comes closest to species identification because it sources identifications from the crowd (of often knowledgeable, talented group of professionals and amateurs) and sometimes the Guides features (as intended but often incomplete) can get close to this.

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One issue that @tonyrebelo brought up is that on the current species tab, since it only shows “leaves” (the tips of the taxonomic tree), observations at genus or higher are often excluded.

In this case, there is only one Bronchus weevil observation that is identified to species, but over a hundred that are IDed just to genus. Clicking the species tab* makes it seem like there’s only one observation of this genus since it hides all the other observations at genus level.

Rather, it should have an option to display like:

*it’s called the “Species” tab, but really it’s a “Taxa” tab. See the mixture of species and genera here.