Question: iNat API Usage for Identification Practice Tool

Hi there, sorry if this isn’t the right place to ask, but I figured I’d pose the question here before I try to reach out to support or submit a ticket. And if you could point me in the right direction I’d greatly appreciate it!

I’ve been working on a simple web app that uses the iNaturalist API to grab a random research-grade observation (tailored by a customizable set of settings), and allows the user to fill out a series of autocomplete inputs (powered by the iNat API taxa autocomplete search), to basically test their identification knowledge and quiz themselves using photos from observations around them. It was originally a tool i made for myself, but now that it’s functional I’d love to share it with more folks. It uses only public data from the iNaturalist API, so there’s no login/signups, and I make no money off it.

My question is: if I were to share this with local nature enthusiasts and it were to be used, would that be considered a valid usage for the iNat developer API? Should I reach out to iNat support to confirm before I put it out into the world? Also wondering if I should apply to create an iNaturalist app (, even though I don’t need any personal user data or direct interaction with iNat. I really love this tool and I just don’t want to accidentally misuse it. Thanks for your time!


It sounds like you are making unauthenticated API requests to fetch data from the iNaturalist API, which is a perfectly valid thing to do. You do not need become an app owner if you aren’t interested in making authenticated API calls. If you’re showing observation photos, it’s always a good idea to be mindful of the photo license and to cite the observer/photographer.

Sounds like an interesting tool. Folks here might be interested to try it out if you want to share a URL. Thanks for checking about usage. All sounds good!


@meltknuckles I routinely use the identify interface for identification practice by changing “Quality Grade” to “Research Grade” instead of “Needs ID”.

I’ve frequently wanted more knobs to turn, like has multiple pics or observations for this month last year. I think it would be super useful to help level-up identification skills.

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Thanks for such a quick reply! I’m still working out some final touches before I release it, but I’ll definitely make a post with a link when it’s ready.
I’ve made sure to include photographer citations with all observation photos, as well as links to the original iNat observation page :+1: Glad to know I’m on the right track!


Those are some great ideas, right now I only have filtering by location (with custom radius) and filtering by specific taxonomy to include/exclude, but a multiple pic filter & time range would both very doable to implement and could provide a lot of additional value. Thanks for your response!

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I’d be very interested in using this! I teach several natural history courses where students have to learn to ID hundreds of species, and this would be very helpful for them.


Also see:

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In regards to

You should be able to use the existing Date Observed filters in Identify to do this. You can select specific months (any year) or use the date range filters to specifically choose a month in any year (or any range).

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