New options for the INaturalist

Dear colleagues,
My name Alina.
I have been using this program for a long time and I really like its capabilities.
I am interested not only in animals and plants around the world, but also in soils. It seems to me that it would be interesting to add a section describing the soils of the territories to this service. This option will enable researchers to obtain information not only about plants and animals, but also about soils as part of the ecosystem.
I have a design for such an add-on to your program. Tell me who I can contact to offer my project?
Thank you so much for your ccoperation.


iNaturalist посвящён живым организмам и уже несколько раз обсуждало, что таким он и останется, ест другие сайты, посвящённые почвам и прочему, например: Сайт и так несколько страдает из-за наплыва наблюдений, да и в целом это политика его основателей.
Тут же возможно использовать поля наблюдений для упоминания типа почв в месте наблюдения, ряд их упомянут здесь:

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Soils, and geology, are very important to me with regards to plant observations. For most of my flora observations I add a description of the soil/geology in the notes section because it’s important to me (sometimes I get lazy). I should probably look at observation fields as well but since those don’t seem to get transferred to Atlas of Living Australia it’s been a low priority for me thus far. If there was a consistent way to add the information I’d do it in an instant. Regional ecosystems of Queensland rely on surface geology and they’re valuable.

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I should have mentioned in my last comment that I fully support your effort. I’m not sure how/if it can be added to iNat but I agree that it’s something worthwhile

The iNat devs have said they wish to keep iNat to living (or recently dead) things because otherwise thise already very ambitious project becomes just impossibly complex. Admittely since soils are promarily living organisms, it is a bit of a grey area. However what I would do would be to record a plant or invertebrate and use a field to systematically record the soil type. Then you can over time start to build up connections between species and soils. If you are systematic with your naming you can eventually generate data like this:
I of course always want to record weather, geology, and just about everything else I see… there are in some cases and some areas apps somilar to iNat that do this.


In general, new suggestions for features should be submitted via the feature request section of the forum.

However, as has been stated above, a request to add soil observations is not likely to be approved.

Hi Charlie, what are the best observation fields to use (preferably Darwin Core ones)?

No harm in asking though :) The request probably won’t be approved but public data are available for surface geology so it’s not completely crazy. But if it won’t be approved then what are the best options for those of us who care about soils? I have a feeling observation fields are the best way, for now, but unless they’re consistent it won’t make a difference.

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I would imagine the most likely way that soils might be included is if iNaturalist were to offer other selectable base map layers over which to view observations, beyond the default Google Maps, and if there is a suitable, consistent global map layer of soils available for this sort of use. But this might be technically daunting to add to the site, I don’t know.

also this thread


Those layers are not available ? I was so surprised they include Infrared, Height and Soil nowadays.
These used to be very expensive

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welcome to the community.

soil is such a complex thing, with so many attributes. for example, do you care about salinity, or pH, or carbon content, or sand content, or something else?

if you’re trying to capture soil information within iNaturalist, i think it’s fine to do something with observation fields, as one option that has been mentioned:

but from a workflow perspective, i think collecting soil information is better done separately from iNaturalist observations because that’s probably how you would actually do that in the field. you might collect only one soil sample in the same area that you make 20 iNaturalist observations, or you might make one observation of a tree, and take 3 different soil samples from around the base.

if you like the general structure of the iNaturalist system to collect data, and you want to build your own system for collecting soil data that has a similar flow, separate from the systems of agencies already collecting this data, you could take iNaturalist’s open source code and adapt it for your own purposes (though it might be easier to build your own system from scratch).

if you’re trying to merge existing data with iNaturalist data, that can already be done any number of ways. there are tons of local and worldwide soil datasets available. so if you just want to visualize observations on top of your choice of soil map(s), dianastuder mentioned one way to do it:

if you want to do something more complicated, like actually associating each observation with a particular soil type or various soil attribute(s), you can also do that in various ways, depending on how the soil data is provided.

if you wanted to create a third-party application that brings together iNaturalist and soil data somewhat dynamically so that anyone can access it, you could just build an app using iNaturalist’s API. for example, i made a page that can map US iNaturalist observations on top of a USGS elevation map and also show the elevation in feet or meters at that particular location (according to USGS), if you click on the observation: