Observations that are Photos of iNaturalist Observation Pages

I’m starting to see observations that are photos of iNaturalist observation pages. How are they supposed to be treated?


What about accounts that add them? Are they valid? Is metadata there the same one as original observation?
In my opinion it’s reasonable to flag such screenshots for copyright.


No, the photo metadata is not the same, and neither are the dates and times of “observed” and “submitted.”

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Then I think it’s safe to assume they don’t have anything to do with observation and stole it, whether with bad intentions or just to show “similar to what I saw”, anyway not acceptable.


Do you have an example?

yeah, I saw a few of those too from North America. Photos not even of observations, of taxon pages too. I mean, if you are already on the iNat page… you know what the organism is… and it’s easy to look at specific photos and their observations too…???

edit: on the swiper app. also, please do not link to specific observations, flag them instead.


Specific observations and accounts can’t be linked to per forum rules


Here is a related question: I sometimes come across observations that have images of images, e.g. an image of a computer screen that displays an image of an organism or an image of physical photograph of an organism. I find such observations problematic because I can’t be certain that the observation date and locality are correct or that the observation was made by the observer rather than someone else. I am inclined to flag them in the data quality assessment (though I have rarely done so). I feel the observer has an obligation to explain why their observation is not original, otherwise the community should assume the data quality is questionable. Or the practice should be banned altogether.

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In case you try to avoid these while identifying, I also realized yesterday that the symbols that indicate a screenshot often don’t appear on the observation photo in Identify, although they are visible after hitting “View.”

Check https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/screenshot-photos/20812
Date should be correct (not one in exif of photo of the screen), otherwise I don’t agree it should be banned, I posted quite some of them when I had no access to computer for a week, all that is needed is to change date, set up location correctly, and then change it with normal pic, but most of such observations are from new users who e.g. have no idea there’s a website.

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I will use screenshots from videos, because I cannot upload my video to iNaturalist. The screenshots do not have any data, of course, so I enter the time, date, and location manually.


I often see photos of an organism that are a photo on a computer or the back of a camera as well. But I don’t agree that it impacts the data quality. Only one of my cameras, for example, has a built in GPS and I add the GPS location later. I sync my photos using my Garmin GPS track logs and my photos using lightroom (lightroom matches the time of the photo with the time in the gps log). I have 15 years of GPS track logs saved… I don’t think it impacts on the data quality. Besides only one of my current cameras even has GPS so I’m not sure what else to do? That said, I agree that I’d be dubious of a photo of an iNat observation

I would not even put that in the same category as these other situations. If it is an iNat observation, then it has obviously already been uploaded, so the reasons people gave for doing those other things do not apply. I would flag it for copyright infringement, unless for some reason you know that it is someone’s photo of their own observation (i.e., the username matches).

The strangest situation I ever encountered was a photograph of a page from a seed catalog. It was zinnias. Yes, I flagged it.


Me, too. I used screenshots from videos and carefully noted time and location. Perfectly valid, it seems to me.

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Back when I routinely questioned those photos of a screen, observers would tell me that they took the photo with one device and then photo’d the screen to upload the photo. So I stopped worrying about it.

Among those November observations from students in northeast Iowa were many, many copies of the same photos, getting smaller and smaller with copy generations. I didn’t flag them but there was a real problem there. (Including inadequate supervision of the class projects.)

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