iNaturalist Australia vs. iNaturalist

I’m sure this is in a FAQ somewhere (so apologies if it is), but what’s the actual difference between using iNaturalist and iNaturalist Australia. If I log into iNat Australia, does that mean I can’t interact with observations/content outside this node? And conversely, if I log into the ‘classic’ iNaturalist, am I losing content/features that I could only access if logging into the Australian node? Just trying to understand why I should specifically log into the Aus node rather than the main site that I normally use (or if in fact there’s no difference between the two re usability).


I’m not sure if this is true for all the country versions, but with the Canadian version, I get everything. The problem is that it takes forever to load, and I don’t have the patience for that.

Hmm, that’s what I was thinking. So I assume any benefits of these local nodes are mostly ‘administrative’ ones per se? mentions some small differences between the national portals and the .org.

1 Like

There are some minor differences if you are a curator. Otherwise not much. If it behaves the same as the Canada one, if you search places, you only get local results.

1 Like

There is a NZ version of iNat which I use all the time, and here are the reasons.

When I go to identify I only get NZ obs and quickly can see if there are any “new” things I haven’t seen or would like to keep an eye out for. If I see someone who consistently posts obs of things i am interested in, then I can follow them and learn about another part of the country.

The “people” tag are the users who have posted / commented NZ obs and through that I have learnt who are the NZ experts for various areas. When I have a strange obs but no ID’s, I have an idea of who I could tag to maybe get help with an ID.

The guides are all related to NZ so I do not have to click on Oceania / New Zealand to find them. Places are just NZ places and helps me see what is in areas and I use this especially if I an traveling outside of my own stomping ground.

Now and again I browse the projects which are all NZ, to see if there are any interesting ones that I can join.


Good points @tangatawhenua, but I already do this stuff on the main node. On the explore tab, typing in Australia for place lets me see all of that information (Aus only obs, top IDers, etc) that the Australian node would also provide. Given I can bookmark the URL for Australia, it doesn’t even save me a click.

Hi @thebeachcomber,

You’re right, there’s not much difference to the seasoned user between the main node and the non-US network nodes except for the localised searches.

I’ve been involved in setting up iNat AU from the Atlas of Living Australia’s side. Being an iNaturalist network member means that we are helping to manage some local spatial and sensitive species information, some front end tweaks, and that we’re the locals on the ground, as it were.


if you look along the bar that has the observations/species/observers/identifiers to the left it has a little orange box that has Australia inside it and an X if you click on that X it will show you observations from all over the world.At least that is how it wworks with iNat New Zealand, for that is the site I use and when I want to go global that is what I do.

1 Like

Thanks :)

Real Time discussions I think are limited to obs. so one doesn’t have to scroll through every single comment made on to find the comments relevant to your community.

Which comments do you mean?

Ah cheers. I don’t think I’ve ever used that tab, but that would be handy

Using any of the network sites should feel very similar for any seasoned iNaturalist user since it’s all hte same community, database, and software. The key benefits for the everyday user are be a more localized experience (as noted by others above) and the support of local organizations. The additional benefit for research and conservation is that Network member organizations (such as ALA in this case) can also access automatically hidden coordinates due to taxon geoprivacy within their country.

If you look in your account settings, you can choose to affiliate your iNaturalist account with iNaturalist Australia (and keep signing in on whichever site you choose), which additionally provides access to coordinates you have personally chose to make obscured or private. If you keep your affiliation as, coordinates hidden due to your geoprivacy selections are never shared with other groups (aside from any selections you may have made for traditional projects or user-to-user trust).


The iNaturalist Network page has a section called Branded Gateway Localization Details which gives an overview of some of the differences which are most visible to the user. The other stuff there seems largely related to high-level administration.

1 Like

Cheers Carrie (and everyone who’s responded) :)


My understanding is that if you select the iNaturalistAU network in your settings your observations will be stored in the CSIRO database rather than on an overseas server. The database of Australian flora and fauna will be used to identify observations and any endangered flora and fauna will be flagged and the location automatically obscured to other observers. Your email will also be made available to the Australian node so they can contact you should they wish permission to get access to the true location. Otherwise there does not appear to be any difference to the operation of the system whether you log in to the local or global node.

This is a misunderstanding. All iNaturalist observations are stored in the same cloud infrastructure. The network sites do not use localized servers or separate infrastructure. However, like other data partners such as GBIF, ALA gets regular updates of iNaturalist data from Australia, so ALA keeps a copy. But it is just a copy. If changes happen on iNaturalist, they are then reflected in ALA in the next update. Hope that helps clarify.


I’m a tad confused: if I upload a bunch of old observations from Australia (which I plan to do soon) but I’m not affiliated with iNaturalistAU, does that mean that they can’t see obscured coordinates without some sort of manual action from me?

1 Like