Linking an iNaturalist account with an existing ALA account

While in my Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) account, I noticed the option to link an iNat account. I thought that would be cool to link ‘ALA me’ with ‘iNat me’.

However the last step of the process made me stop as I noticed the permissions it would give ALA within my account. Particularly “Create, update and delete your observations, identifications and other content on your behalf”.

That doesn’t sound like something I want to give ALA control over and I’m not sure why they need it??
I don’t mind the hidden coordinates etc etc, but the other doesn’t seem right.

I’m interested in other people’s thoughts here and I guess this is also a bit of a warning to other Aussie iNatters, be careful to read it carefully and not just click ‘Authorize’!

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The site admins can say for sure, but I think “on your behalf” is the key phrase here. If you create, update, or delete content from within ALA, then ALA has permission to perform those same actions on your iNat account.


Thanks @jdmore, that makes sense. I still don’t like it though!!!

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This will also be useful for them after you are dead or incapacitated 20 years from now on.

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Haha, 20 years! I’d give myself 3 max.!

I think you meant “cant say for sure”

Sorry I miss read that

I think @peggydnew is the best person to comment on these permissions. Thanks for bringing it up, @nicklambert.


@jdmore is right here - it is giving the ALA the right to do something in iNaturalist on your behalf, if you were to initiate it through one of ALA’s applications. The authorisation here is letting the ALA machine talk to the iNaturalist machine. An example of this capability might be that you create a record in ALA, and then authorise ALA to also create that as a record on your iNaturalist profile. If we build this capability in future, it would be clear that you are creating/editing records in the other system and we wouldn’t hide that detail from the user.

You’re right to ask questions about it - why would we want to do that anyway? We’ve set this up for two reasons:

  1. In the ALA we didn’t have a super easy way for people to be able to navigate their way to their iNaturalist records. This “account linking” means that we know about their iNaturalist account and they can just click a single link to get to their iNat records, rather than do Advanced Searches. So there’s no data going from ALA to iNaturalist in place at the moment.

  2. In future we anticipate that some of the ALA’s BioCollect projects managing systematic surveys could become interoperable with iNaturalist, and as per iNat policy this would mean working with individual accounts. The OAuth2 linking is the best standardised way to achieve this connectivity between 2 systems with the consent of the user.

I’m really happy to answer more questions on this, but don’t want to try and anticipate them because topics like these can quickly turn into IT gobbledegook.


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