Linking iNaturalist project to ESRI Story Maps

I’m looking through the forums and not finding a definitive answer. Is anyone aware of a way to ‘live’ link a project to a Esri ArcGIS Story Map?

I’m trying to create a story map detailing conservation efforts in a specific area, and would welcome the opportunity for the public to actively engage in sharing observations on local biodiversity by posting to a iNaturalist project that I would create. This would work very similar to a BioBlitz event in my mind.

I’m relatively new, sorry if this has been posted before. Any help would be appreciated.

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Welcome to the forum! To be honest, this is pretty much above my head as I’ve never worked on a Story Map nor tried to export iNat data, but I did find this thread that may be useful to you:

https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/create-a-live-map-service-for-arcmap-and-or-google-earth-with-inat-data-and-links/1512

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Thank you, this is a great start! I did notice there will several posts that talk about uploading the CSV data, I just didn’t find anything that talked about a ‘live’ link to iNat data.

This may be something to request to iNat in the future.

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If you want to get access to live data try playing around with the API.
https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/api+reference

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what kind of story are you planning to tell? and how are you planning to incorporate the iNat data into the story?

there are potentially lots of different ways to approach your problem, but the best approach depends on exactly what you’re trying to do.

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Thanks for asking!

I am creating a story map for a local non-profit that specializes in maintaining public-access and public land for conservation efforts in the area. They would like me to talk about the biodiversity of the area as well as the history of their organization and the trails they implemented.

I thought it would be incredible to ‘live’ link the iNat data to a GIS of their property to provide a low maintenance, highly interactive map for people enjoy when visiting the story map.

The key in this endevor would be the low-maintenance aspect. Since I am contract, I won’t always have access to the backend of the story map, and they are currently relying on the county for their Esri license. So I won’t be able to upload the CSV on a regular timeline to update the data.

Perhaps I could code something with Python but I’m not well versed in that.

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what does this mean exactly? are you just trying to recreate a version of the iNat Explore page map view? or are you trying to create additional things like lists of latest observations, charts of types of organisms observed, etc.? if you’re trying to map observations, how many total observations do you expect to map? do you need to be able to click on the observations to be able to return more details on a particular observation?

Yes I am trying to have a map like the explorer map view where each iNat observation could be viewed in the Story Map interface. Your old comment in the previously mentioned post by @natemarchessault is almost exactly what I’m talking about, but instead of AGOL it would live as a web map in the Story maps webpage.

Did you develop a guide on how to achieve this?

i made many comments there, but maybe you’re talking about this:

this is created simply by starting a map in AGOL (or ArcMap) using a CSV as your source. instead of pointing to a CSV file on your machine, you would point to a CSV generated on the fly by the old (deprecated) iNat API. in that particular example map, this would be the CSV file or API request that you would reference: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations.csv?place_id=1&taxon_id=3.

as noted in the quoted block above, you can return only up to a maximum of 200 observations this way. you never answered my question about how many observations you expected to have in your project, but that could be a limiting factor with this particular approach. also, that particular API is considered deprecated. so i personally would not attempt to do new development using it, knowing deprecation means that it’s near its end of life.

in the same post, i also say:

in that tutorial, i provide an example where i make a map in AGOL and also a Story Map, albeit it’s using the “Classic” version of these tools, since the new versions of these tools were not yet released or had just been released at the time of writing.

you could combine the two approaches by doing the CSV option as a layer on top of the Tile option. this would allow you to visualize all observations and highlight the latest n observations, allowing the latest n observations to be clicked on and/or visualized in other ways.

if you want to do a fancier dashboard such as this: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/collections/ee2234e44bb74b0e92dc425a0c55b11d?item=1, and it needs work for more than 200 observations, you could do something similar to the CSV option i mentioned above, but you would have to provide the CSV data yourself and update it yourself. this means that you would store the CSV in a public repository such as AGOL or Google Sheets or some other cloud service. then you could make your maps, other components, and story map using the data in that CSV file. finally, you would have to set up some sort of process to update that data periodically. (how you do this is up to you and your skills.)

here’s an example of where i created a map in AGOL using a CSV stored in AGOL (second part of the post): https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/mapping-of-excel-data/30531/12. note that in that post, i mention that i had problems loading referencing the original source of the CSV data (from a government website), possibly because the file was too large or because the server was responding too slowly. these are the kinds of problems you’ll potentially run into when you go with this kind of approach. the dataset will at some point become too large / complex to handle in a web-based map interface where you’re trying to separately handle each feature. so in those kinds of circumstances, the best you can do is visualize via map tiles, as referenced earlier.

that’s the most i can say for now since you haven’t provided more details on exactly what you’re trying to achieve.

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Thank you so much for your detailed response. Sorry for the lack of detail in my previous posts, I am a contractor working with a private group that brought this idea to me. I couldn’t provide exact details on what they specifically wanted because I didn’t know myself. Again thank you so much this is amazing.

hmmm… seems like i should get a consulting fee.

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