Most efficient uploading method from IPhone

I recently went on vacation and took over 1200 photos(around 1100 observations). I also have over 2000 photos kept in backlog on my phone.
I have tried 3 different ways of uploading but all are tedious with an upload rate of about 200-250 photos per hour. Obscuring observations make this process slower.
These three ways are using the website on my phone to upload a stack of photos at once, uploading the species from the app with identification, or uploading observations rapidly as “Unknowns” and identifying them through the website on a computer.
All are very slow and tedious. What strategies do you recommend for the fastest and most efficient way to get identified observations onto Inat?

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download your phone photos onto your computer (if you have one), and then upload them from there


My computer is not compatible with my Iphone unfortunately.

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You can download google photos upload your photos there and then open them and download them to your computer.

On the other hand, 1100 of anything done properly is going to be tedious. On a recent research expedition, I picked up roughly 1,500 observations. It took some time to upload all the images. I made a point of spending 30 minutes or more each night going through them.


Assuming you have your photos synched to iCloud, any browser can be used to log into your iCloud photos account and download them to your computer. If you want full resolution images, though, you need to go to the iPhotos three-dot menu to set your photo download options.
This will probably only save you time if your computer has a higher speed network than your phone.


I also just use iCloud now if I am uploading more than 5-10 observations
Huge waste of time otherwise :)

I respectfully disagree with downloading to the computer as the “fastest and most efficient” means. I did that for years, but I now find that–if there is available wifi or cell service–taking pictures with the iPhone camera, cropping them (onsite), then uploading through the iNat app (from the Photos library) is extremely efficient. (With this pathway comes with an obligation by the observer to take that time to crop images to focus on the organism(s) and do whatever minor photo manipulation is suitable to highlight the organism (brightness, contrast, shadows, etc.); this usually takes only a few seconds per image but it can make a huge difference in ID results. There are far too many cell phone images uploaded raw to iNat with a tiny bug or flower in a wide cell phone image.)
The only drawbacks or frustrations are from locations which lack cell service (thus delaying the uploading) and the vagueries of iNat’s Computer Vision for suggested IDs. But the latter is getting better and better (at least for North America) with every training set.
Here’s a journal post I wrote last year regarding the first time I really took advantage of the above methodology:


I guess it depends on how many photos you have per observation. If I’m using my phone to take pics instead of my camera for whatever reason that day, and I’m photographing plants, I’ll usually have at least 4-5 photos per observation. I personally find the iPhone app becomes inefficient and tedious when you have a lot of pics per observation. When I upload phone pics via the computer, I usually upload 70-100 photos simultaneously, and it’s a lot faster for me


For what it’s worth and just to add yet more anecdotal data, I found taking photos with my phone really annoying (plus I’m not one to have my phone in my back pocket at all times). So I switched to using an Olympus Tough camera, which has built-in GPS. When I’m out on a hike, I carry it in my hand virtually all the time.

Once I get home, I download the photos to my laptop, delete the fuzzy and duplicate photos, rotate moth photos so the moth is upright, and crop a very few photos (I don’t bother taking bird photos). I don’t label the photos by species; I just store them in folders labeled by date and location. Then I upload them to iNat in batches. This takes a while because my internet service is slow. If I have hundreds of photos to upload, say, after a big trip, I go to my local library, which has fast, free internet.

This system is reasonably efficient, given what I tend to observe and my available technology.


Thanks so much for all the advice!

You know what else is tedious? Being an identifier and having to deal with several solid pages of just one person’s observations when you’re trying to work on a locality. I think the upload rate is a good trade-off.


Why would this be tedious? If you dislike IDing observations from only one observer, it is possible to use different sorting methods (omitting that observer from the search results, random sorting, etc.).

If they are high quality observations, why should it matter whether observers upload their observations as a block or distributed over a longer period of time?

Bulk uploading of observations is already possible via the web uploader, so telling app users that they should not be able to do so as a matter of principle makes little sense.

(It also sometimes happens that there may not be many active observers in a particular place, so someone scrolling through observations may well encounter pages and pages of just one person’s observations – not because this person is mass uploading terrible quality pictures, but because they regularly upload smaller numbers of observations and there are no other observers posting in between.)

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