Opt out of taxon ID autofill from photo filename on upload

As per the discussion in this Bug Report thread, can there please be a Yes or No option in user account settings for iNat to automatically identify taxons using info in the photo file name. But still allow AI to suggest species from the image itself.

FYI @jon_sullivan

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Personally I find it easier to add species names in the photo tags (keywords) and have iNat’s upload pick them up from there.


But don’t you need to know the species name first to tag before you upload the obs? What if you don’t know the species? I just uploaded a number of observations with the photos file name Matuku Link (a wetland restoration project location), and every obs was automatically identified as Australasian bittern (Maori name for the bird is Matuku). I even try to beat the metadata upload by quickly typing in the correct species ID, but that gets kicked out and overridden by iNat’s ID from the photo file name. Very frustrating.


Ah, yes, thanks. I can see how that would be frustrating. I’d want to turn that off too. I don’t change the names of my files from my camera so I’ve not yet had iNat interpret a filename as a species name.


Neither do I. But it also picks up two and three-letter combinations from the file names, and if those are associated with an organism then the observation gets labelled with that organism.


In general we try to not add more user settings. Are there commonly-used words that result in species guesses?

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Could it be a workable compromise to simply not allow matches on any word of 3 or fewer characters?

The few times that would force me to manually type in a Poa name, for example, would hardly be noticed.

EDIT: and/or require that at least one of multiple words in a potential match group be 4 characters or longer, even if others in the group have 3 or fewer?


Thanks for the explanation. I can understand how that gets frustrating.

Just for completeness, when I don’t know the species in a photo, I still tag it with whatever taxonomic level I’m confident of before uploading to iNat. That could just be kingdom Plantae, or phylum Magnoliophyta for flowering plants, or Insecta for an insect I don’t know.

I just tried a test photo that I called “Senecio vulgaris.jpg” but which had the photo tag “Solanum laciniatum”. iNat’s uploader correctly identified the photo as Solanum laciniatum, ignoring the contradicting file name. When I then removed the tag and tried again, it identified the photo as Senecio vulgaris.

So one solution here is to ensure that there is an appropriate taxonomic name in the photo tags and iNat will override any matches in the file names.


the place name Puerto Rico in the file name will result in an observation of an owlfly of the genus Puer …


I just tested that and it doesn’t… If you make it “Puer Rico” it does…

Can you please add the word ‘bay’ to the list. I uploaded obs today with Armour Bay (location) in the photofile name, and all the obs were automatically IDd as Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis). Thanks.


Forced to rename photo files ‘Her rings Cove’ (location; note gap in word herrings) otherwise all observations at this location are automatically IDd as 'Herrings (Order Clupeiformes).


Maybe a better approach would be to only load scientific names from filenames… ignoring vernaculars…


Yes, that has been mentioned before, I think by @tiwane during the discussions about photo file names.