The iNaturalist team gathers for a yearly retreat to discuss our priorities for the coming year, and we met in a very wet and stormy Bolinas, California last week for this purpose. We also worked on a jigsaw puzzle and caught up on some reading during downtime.
Here is a un-ordered (except for the first item), non-exhaustive list of what we plan to focus on over the next year. Please keep in mind that some things may take longer than expected or might just not get done this year, other issues and priorities might pop-up, and that any big changes likely won’t occur until after the City Nature Challenge, which ends on May 5th, 2019.
Looking it over, a major theme is “improving core functionality,” making what iNat already does work better and more efficiently without adding a ton of big new features. The idea is to really strengthen what iNaturalist does right now so that we can add new functionality in the future.
- Revamped notifications system and dashboard - This will have to be a revision from the ground up so it will take some time, but we acknowledge that this is part of the site which needs a big update. I’ve started a topic in General where you all can share any thoughts you have about notifications. Note that new Feature Requests about notifications won’t be approved, please share your thoughts in the General topic.
- Implementing an embedded translation feature for comments and descriptions, similar to what’s found on Twitter and Facebook.
- Create a tool to help users split and merge their observations
- Releasing a significant update to Seek in the next few months.
- Rewriting the Explore/Observations Search page and adding more filters.
- Adding a user-to-user trust system. For example, I could trust kueda and he would be able to see true locations of my observations.
- Investigate ways to capture comments and ID remarks that are useful for making identifications and including them on the taxon page and in identification tools.
- Bring up the iOS app to feature parity with the Android app.
- Re-design/re-organize the Account Settings page. It’s pretty messy at the moment and if more settings are desired, it would be best to make that page more manageable.
- Continue to improve the Computer Vision model and the use of geospatial data in suggestions.
- Continue to upgrade infrastructure and make the site more efficient behind the scenes as the community scales.
Those are the broad end-user related updates we’re looking to tackle over the next year or so. And of course we’ll be working to grow and improve the community (especially identifiers) as always, with some new members of the international iNaturalist Network on the horizon.
And there will be smaller improvements, bug fixes, etc. throughout the year. We’ll be going through Feature Requests as much as we can.
We do want to thank everyone in the iNat community for all of your support and contributions, iNat would really be nothing without its users giving their time and energy to make it a positive place.
The iNat team (from left to right; photo by Abhas): Abhas Misraraj, Ken-ichi Ueda, Carrie Seltzer, Amanda Bullington, Patrick Leary, Alex Shepard, Tony Iwane, Scott Loarie