Required observation fields in project

I had hoped to be able to start a project with required observations fields. This didn’t work, and I came to realize, that I was supposed to contribute 50 whatsoever observations, first. I find this restriction rather disappointing. I am already taking part in a number of local citizen science projects. My hope for inaturalist was that here I could finally be able to place and discuss observations of a certain kind of migratory birds in the necessary international context. It looks like to be able to filter and match the observations that you are collecting in a meaningful way, I need to have a project with required observation fields. Unfortunately, I can’t present 50 of my own observations, yet: My interests concern a kind of migrating birds, that only show up for a short period of time. You say, that you want people to know that inaturalist is about observation and identification. This is also my plan, but this kind of bird is rather difficult when it comes to observation and identification. People have to be able to share their observations and information that goes with them in a more specific way and this from the very beginning. I am not sure that this website is very helpful if you need your activities to be slightly more organised, systematical and specific.

Hi @spyr, those 50 observations do not need to be of your migratory bird, they can be of anything: weeds growing out of the pavement, bugs, other, more common birds, etc. I can see you’ve got 19 observations already, so you just need 31 more. This should be achievable relatively easily in a small distance from your house (or even in your backyard if you have one). Just remember they have to be verifiable observations (so casual observations won’t count).

You can read about why this is a requirement for starting traditional projects here:


As you don’t even need different species, you can photograph weeds in front of your house for 2 mins and get that amount of observations.

50 observations is a pretty minimal bar. It can be met in 10 minutes of wandering around, or simply going through past photos you have saved on your computer or phone.

I would not object to more stringent requirements for setting up projects, or some sort of brief questionnaire prior to having a project approved.


Thank you for your answer and the link. I had read this blog (see my quote from it). I guess what I still don’t really understand is the over all goal of iNaturalist. On the “What is it”-Website I read that one of its goals was to generate “high quality biodiversity data”, and of course, that this was about to build and keep going an “online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature”. I just didn’t expect to have to add 50 random “observations” of weeds first! iNaturalist seems to have 2.5 millions of active users. They all had to add 50 random “observations” first, before being allowed to continue with a more specific project. Could this mean that this community and social network hopes to map just about every single living being in this world? Meaning that this would be an extremly open archive for “anything - anyhow”? I believe that this wouldn’t be such a good basis for a more structured analysis of the data assembled by this community. Looking at observations that others have published here before, I just think that there must be more to this platform and social network than those random 50 weeds per person…

to be blunt, if you aren’t engaged enough in the platform to enjoy using it, and it is a chore to add just 50 observations (i have over 1000 times as many!), this probably isn’t the place for you to be managing a project. If you don’t like iNaturalist, you’re not going to have much luck encouraging others to do so for your project.


This number is set so you learn the website, how are you going to manage a project if you didnt learn yet everything about uploading and using different website features? It’s not the easiest website, I see projects set up by new users, they always make mistakes in them vs. what they actually want, surely they would do less of them if they learnt more before starting a project. Why do you ask about “every single organism” if all you’re asked about is 50 observations, not 50 000? iNat is a network that needs time and practice, even if it sounds pretentious – it’s the truth.

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That was suggested as the easiest way for you to do it. Another suggestion was to pick 50 of your archived photos - then you can bring what interests you (not the weeds)

You can also spend some time helping to ID the existing backlog and find people who share your interests. Plenty of birders here. Bring another 30 bird pictures.


A lot of people use iNaturalist because they want to record and identify the organisms that they encounter. Those users usually don’t need or want to create projects to accomplish their goals on iNat. I don’t know how many projects there are, but I’m sure it’s several orders of magnitude lower than the number of active users.

As someone who went through the adventure of setting up a first project earlier this year, I suggest using the observations you need to make to think about what the submission requirements and process will be for your project. What information must an observation have to be included in your project? Is there information that would be nice to have but isn’t essential? Can some/all of this information be filled in after the fact? If so, you may be able to search for older observations and add them to your project. In my experience, this is a good way to connect with observers who might be interested in joining your project

EDIT: Another thing to think about is whether your project might help people identify or learn more about the organisms they’re observing. This can be an incentive for people to join your project


List of first 10 000 of projects ends on projects starting with “b”, there’re not millions of them, but a lot.

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Thank you @bugbear for your interesting and helpful thoughts.

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