Question from a newbie - Can I use both iNaturalist and iRecord?

I’m a relative newcomer and amateur, but have become interested in a site local to me for which I’d like to record biodiversity to build the case against developers moving in. So I’m using iRecord so that findings are officially recorded with the statutory authories, but using iNaturalist to try and identify my findings first so I can accurately report them to iRecord. Does it matter that I’m using iNaturalist to id my findings, and then using iRecord to report them, thereby duplicating observations between the two systems?

Also a secondary question, I’m aware that identifiers spend time helping me, but would they find it annoying if I thanked them in the comments section?


I can’t answer the question about iRecord, but as a volume IDer I am mixed on "thank you"s. One every once in a while, or if I have added a comment or some particular expertise, a thank you is good. There are other cases where I get a bunch of notifications of generic "thank you"s - these don’t mean as much and are more just distractions.

So, from my own point of view, I would say if you have something specific to thank someone for, go for it! If you’re just typing “thanks”, especially if it is repeats for the same IDers, maybe just do one and then that’s good enough.

A great way to “thank” IDers is to pay it forward…by adding some IDs of your own to others’ observations! This helps everyone out and makes iNat a better place in general.


I’m not familiar at all with iRecord. What is it?

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@mgodfrey - Until this year it did not make a difference as the NBN did not download data from iNaturalist and the two systems were separate. However, earlier this year the NBN became a node on the iNaturalist network and observations which have reached “Research Grade” are now downloaded by the NBN and put through the UK data validation process via iRecord. Consequently, entering the same data into both systems will mean that when the NBN downloads the iNat data that duplication occurs which then puts a hugely increased onus on UK validators to catch and remove. I would suggest entering the same data in both systems is not a good idea. You can enter all of your data into iNat and when it reaches “Research Grade” it will be downloaded into the iRecord validation OR you could use the iNat entry web-page to identify your finds and then delete the records and enter them (with names) into iRecord.

Hope that helps. If you have more questions then please do shout. Also see here:


Putting your records on iRecord makes them available to the statutory authorities but don’t assume that your local planning authority or the staff of your statutory conservation agency will go to the trouble of looking for your data. And you can be fairly sure the environmental consultants employed by the developer won’t go looking for information on iRecord. If your records make a case against the development, you need to put in a formal objection and include your data in your objection.


It would be rather unfair to use iNaturalist for getting the identification then delete the observation.


I agree it would be inappropriate to fully log, have community interaction then delete.
But I think @SteveMcBill just means use of the autosuggest.
A lot of people seem to use it without actually fully logging the observation.


It’s main purpose in this context is as a gateway to the national UK database NBN.
It allows recording schemes and expertise to verify records before they are logged as datapoints.

It’s still not ethical to do that to then upload it to another database.

Hm. Not ethical sounds a bit strong to me!

It’s certainly not ideal and not what I would personally prefer.
But for example Seek uses autosuggest and users have option to upload or not.
There is also the CV demo page.

Overall I would rather a datapoint gets logged somewhere than not at all.
I would also rather people in UK become more aware of iNaturalist.
If their route into it starts off with just using the AI then that’s better than nothing in my book
But yes, I agree its suboptimal.

The current implementation of the iRecord bridge makes things quite difficult for UK users in some regards (but better in others), so I also feel a degree of compromise and understanding whilst the relationship is being configured is no bad thing.


Well, there’s difference between just checking the id for yourself and getting the id to then upload it somewhere else where iding is also happening, I think first is totally fine.

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Thanks for that feedback @cthawley, I will take that on board!

Actually uploading the observations and deleting after you get an ID is unethical as most identifiers probably don’t want to provide IDs for observations that will just be deleted. Instead why not use Seek if you just want the algorithm? It doesn’t even require an internet connection. If the duplication is just for a small number of IDs it’s probably better just to duplicate. Or it sounds like uploading to just iNat will send the records where you need anyway so maybe just skip iRecord.

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My problem with reporting directly to iRecord is that if there’s not an accurate id the record gets rejected, so I use iNaturalist to try and work out what things are.
Sometimes the autosuggest is good enough, in which case I don’t need to record the observation on iNaturalist, and just report it directly to iRecord. But iRecord gives me email feedback that my records have or haven’t been accepted by the County recorder, which gives me a degree of comfort.

@jhbratton I take your point about not assuming that developers and environmental consultants may not go out of their way to look for information on iRecord, but if it’s there, it can at least be pointed out, and I am ready to do that when development plans become detailed (it’s potentially a road through a wood, but not sure yet which route it will take).


This seems like the best answer in regards to iRecord. If iRecord imports RG iNat records, then there’s no need to add separately to iRecord - just add to iNat and let it go!

I also think this process is much for likely to lead to a correct ID than just using the AI/CV, either via Seek or the CV demo page. The AI, while useful, definitely gets a fair amount wrong too, especially in the case of rarer species which may not be included in the CV model - and of course these may be among the most important for making decisions on land protection, etc.

I’m not sure how the county recorder aspects works for iRecord, but an RG ID arriving through iNat may be less work/easier for them than a separately IDed observation that they then need to verify. So upload to iNat with auto-import of RG to iRecord may be a more efficient workflow all around.


I would certainly agree with the principle that if you are making use of iNaturalist functionality and the expertise of the community then in my opinion deleting the observation is ‘not right’. Ultimately for recording in the UK as Steve has suggested just use one or the other (if you don’t want to leave records on iNaturalist then as already suggest Seek for the AI or the UK’s iSpot (which provides identification support) are both alternatives.

On getting your data used for a planning objection then data on iNaturalist is not currently a good place to try to get an observation used;

  • I have checked your profile/observations and they are licenced not for commercial use. In the UK common practice and standing advice is that observations licenced for not commercial use (an iNaturalist default) cannot be used to inform development
  • The link between iNaturalist and iRecord is new and in effect still a trial. Transfer of records is therefore not instant and there is currently a large backlog.
  • Verification of records from iNaturalist on iRecord is not carried out by all verifiers. Some will not engage with iNaturalist observations
  • iRecord does not have verifiers for all groups so some taxa will not be verified even if transferred.
  • Once on iRecord observations may or may not be accessed and used in the decision taking process. LPA’s them selves are very unlikely to check iRecord, consultants similarly may avoid iRecord due the aforementioned licencing issues. Your county record centre may or may not download iRecord data to inform local planning and strategy.

So ultimately as jhbratton mentions above contacting the case worker or responsibly authority direct will be your most effective option. You might also consider contacting your Local Environmental Records Centre (LERC) they cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland and most of Scotland and most have links directly with local planning authorities and/or local conservation NGO’s as their function is to use biodiversity data to shape local strategy and inform planning and conservation. They should be well placed to advise you on how your observations can be most effectively logged to evidence local decisions.


so you have to allow others to sell and profit off of yoru data if you are to use it in court? Maybe i am misunderstanding that but that sounds awful.

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Hi charlie, there’s a lot of discussion elsewhere on this in the iNat forums so i’ll not re-hash it all here but where a development is a profit making enterprise observations licenced as CC-BY-NC can’t be used to inform it because that is seen as profiting from the data. If you as the observer were to present it then that would be different, you would in effect be re-licencing. But as a LERC, we aggregate significant amounts of species data. If i was to provide that to a commercial consultant who used it as part of their paid work to inform environmental constraints on a development then the end use is commercial which is a breach of the NC restriction.

so you have to allow others to sell and profit off of yoru data if you are to use it in court?

You might also say that if commercial developers are using your observations to inform development then they are already profiting from your data.

(as an aside this it not my personal position, i got slammed for it in another thread, it is the position of the NBN as a result of consultation between UK statutory agencies and their legal advisors)


Yes, it’s the same as Wiki use, but I think if they need the record, they can contact you so either they have your allowance or you can change the licence on the particular observation, totally better than allowing everyone to use your stuff for ads, etc.

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