Project for multiple-species observations?

I’d like to see a project where we can assemble observations that have multiple photos that each show different species. Maybe some day we’ll get to separate the species, and some of them will be hard to find. I mean, sometimes the observations are labeled “Life” but sometimes they’re all plants or all insects, and I just saw one that was two taxa of the goose genus Anser. I’m not sure how to set up a project like that.

I think we can consider separating these observations into separate, single-species observations as consistent with the observer’s intention to post them and get them identified.

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See this related feature request

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We could have a field that we apply, to mark them as “multi-species observation” = Yes, then when the time comes we could just search on that field and value.

An observational field called “count” can be used to help narrow down multi-individual observations of the same species. There is another field called “multiple species” that can be used too. I think it would be cool if iNaturalist users can add fields to others’ observations.

Then I think a project could be created that looks at observations with these fields “count” and “multiple species” and (based on the unique observation ID number that every iNaturalist observation has attached to it), a new observation could be created and somehow attached to the same data collected by the owner, that allows the community to look at that new observation and go from there in IDing it.

I have a picture of a Western Honey Bee. It is on top of a flower in my photo observation. I submit my observation for the bee but do not for the flower. Someone could then go in and say, “Hey, that observation has a flower in it - that is a different individual that could be identified!” and then uses (what I think could be a newly developed technology on iNaturalist) to create an observation attached to that observation saying, “Look at the flower!” and allows the community to make ID attempts of that too.

I think it is important to identify and recognize the relationships between different individuals and species. The presence and act of a species/individual near another can tell us a lot about behavior and influence. I believe that a multi-species/individual observational tool in iNaturalist can and will foster curiosity about how organisms interact with the world around them.

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I think you can. My understanding is that the “fieldspace” is a free-for-all. Tags on the other hand can only be applied by the observation owner. At least, this was the case when I started, it may have changed since. But because it is literally a free-for-all, it would only work if there was concensus on what field name would be used, and a degree of consistancy in it’s application. I’m thinking back to how I implemented the “similar observation set”, only to discover some time after that the idea had been already implemented as “observation group” by someone else (and to be honest, I think it was from having seen that implementation subconsciously that led to my coming up with my own version much later!). In that case it didn’t matter, because both kinda work independantly.

I don’t think it is possible to have a collection project pick up on fields and their values, so we would be looking at manually adding to a traditional project. So it would be either doing it by a field/value OR dong it by manually adding to a traditional project. Remembering the idea is just to “group” the observations somehow to make them easy to find when some future means to process them comes up.

I’ll just add, that they don’t have to be processed. Someone made an observation, and it doesn’t fit the model that iNat goes by, but it doesn’t break the system to just treat it as if it never was made in the first place! Of course, if these “not quite right” observations can be made valid it is better, but I don’t think we need to stress about it too much. We are better off focusing on the value of the observations that DO fit.

The analogy that I like to use here is of wanting to collect a container of rainwater. We can set up a tarp between two trees and direct the rain into the container, and assuming of course there is enough rain, we don’t need to catch EVERY SINGLE DROP! I think iNat observations are a literal torrent these days, compared to when I first joined!

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