Is it possible to link iNaturalist with the California Road Kill Observation System?

The CROS ( https://www.wildlifecrossing.net/california/ ) records road kill observations made by users who enter details about what they see dead on or along roadways. These data are shared with wildlife scientists and transportation planners such as CalTrans, regional, and county agencies to better manage the conflicts between us humans and our fellow critters.
“Welcome to the new version of the California Roadkill Observation System (CROS), a project of the Road Ecology Center at University of California, Davis…”

This should be an EASY linkage with great benefits to the researchers and iNaturalist observers.

(I moved this to general as I think it’s less of a feature request and more of a question about how iNaturalist observations can ingested by CROS.)

You can use the API to data like this - I’m pretty sure that is how CalFlora gets iNat records. However, there are some caveats.

  • There isn’t an “official” way to designate an observation as being of a roadkilled animal, so you’ll have to use Observation Fields. For example, here is a roadkill snake observation of mine, and I’ve add the Roadkill observation field to it and answered “Yes” (as a side note, it was killed by an obviously commercial semi driving on a road where commercial vehicles are prohibited - very frustrating) You can use the API to find observations in CA with “yes” for this observation field. But there are other observation fields for roadkill, so you’ll have to search a few different observation fields. You can also go through iNat observations and add the Roadkill field to them.

  • This won’t get you access to the true locations of observations with obscured coordinates. So for example, you won’t have the real location of this observation of mine. You’ll have to use a project for this, please see this FAQ.

This is a feature request. No, I’m not interested in learning how to record a roadkill observation, but I am interested in getting iNatrualist observers’ records be easily ported to CROS.

CROS data are useful to the greater wildlife research community. If they were able to receive more quality reports such as those of iNaturalist users, we’d all benefit.

This feature could be created by something as simple as a button kicking off a script that links to CROS’ site for recording an observation. Those observations can be anonymous or guest reports, or the observer can log in if they have a CROS account.

I’d think that CalFlora and iNat would jump at the opportunity to aid a research tool like CROS. How about it?

iNaturalist makes it easy, via their API, for anyone interested to pull iNaturalist data into other data sets, as @tiwane described. I’m guessing this is because they don’t have the time or resources to develop push tools for multiple more specialized repositories that could benefit from iNat data.

Also, I’m not sure where CalFlora would come into this? They are only interested in pulling in California plant records from iNaturalist.

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This is not something we would support. iNaturalist is a global network, and one could imagine organizations from across the globe asking for similar functionality - it would be become an untenable situation pretty quickly. Our goal is to make the iNat observation process simple, to get as many people involved as possible. And even with that goal, it’s still not as simple as we’d like it to be. I can pretty much guarantee that adding extra steps for submitting observations to other organizations will cut down on the number of observations being added to iNaturalist, and thus reduce the amount of available data.

As I wrote previously, and as @jdmore reiterated, the data is available for you to use via the API, or you could could start a project and download CSVs of the data on a regular basis. I’ve worked with Idaho Dept of Fish and Game on a roadkill reporting protocol and outreach using iNaturalist and I’d be happy to work with CROS as well. I’m not sure how experienced you are with using iNat, but if you’re new to it, I recommend using it on a regular basis before attempting a large scale project with it.

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