Project - identifying the same tree/plant by two observers - does the software acknowledge it

If an observer identify and post in iNaturalist say a White Ash tree on Day 1 later that evening a iNaturalist member verify it as White Ash. Then a day or two later another observer comes to that same spot and identify and post in iNaturalist this same tree but as Green Ash or White Ash – does the software acknowledge that this tree has already been identified?

no, the system has no inherent way to automatically match 2 observations of the same individual. as an identifier, though, you can look around on the map to see if, say, there other observations similar to one that you’re looking at.

there has been at least one request for new functionality to allow observations to be linked (, but i think it would still be the case where people would have to link the observations, not some sort of computer algorithm. either way, i don’t think creating such functionality is anywhere near the top of the list of priorities for iNat developers.


Just to add, I don’t think that it is possible to automatically detect observations of the same individual in this way (in most cases - it might be possible for organisms with unique patterning). GPS coordinates vary a lot in their precision and most species are found in numbers >1 in a location.

If data users are concerned about duplicates, there are some ways that they could address this when analyzing their data. However, in general, observations of the same individual (even by the same user) are fine for iNaturalist, as long as they aren’t posting the same photo as someone else without permission or making multiple observations in a short period of time (eg, <1 day).


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