Russia - iNaturalist World Tour

Today we’re featuring on Russia on the World Tour . What can we do sustain the rapid growth we’re seeing in Russia?

Here’s the GADM Level 1 and Level 2 places we’re using. Do these look correct? Are both levels familiar and widely used?

The site looks to be more or less fully translated into Russian on both the Web and Mobile. What is the experience like using the translated site and apps? Do they work or could they be improved? If so, how?

What could we do to improve outreach in Russia?


Hi everyone,

Administrative units of the first and second levels are widely accepted and used in Russia.

Level 1 administrative units are generally correct except Moscow City / Moscow Oblast border which was subject to change in 2011. Nonetheless, all provinces borders are too generalized. Therefore, we uploaded more precise polygons as places in some cases. For general Russian public, it might be wise to introduce Russian names of administrative units due to presence of the Russian interface and vernacular names for species. Magadan Oblast has false name and therefore could not be find through the search.

Level 2 administrative units, or rayons, are also generally correct (once again, in Moscow City and Moscow Oblast they were slighly changed). Introduction of the Russian names of rayons could also be a great improvement.

As for translation, there are some bugs and/or minor errors in the Russian terms. Few months ago, Moscow University staff member @antennaria send @katya a list of some improvements, but as far as I know they were all rejected. The main problem with the Russian language is the presence of a complicated system of grammar cases with a variable endings of the words. So, species might be вид, вида, виду, видом, виде, виды, видами, видах, видов, depending on context.

There are some problems with the Russian vernacular names. The first letter of the epithet is capitalized on iNat, but this practice is really never used in Russia, except for species named after people. I would say, that this could be regarded as a grammar error. For instance, Chelidonium majus is “Чистотел большой” in Russian, not “Чистотел Большой” as indexed in iNat. Some names are very old-fachioned (like “Кашка” for some Trifolium species, instead of “Клевер”).

For the Russian vernacular names of vascular plants which are still missing, we could help using Moscow Digital Herbarium database. Just send me a list of accepted vascular plant species, genera and families with missing Russian names as xls or csv, and we will try to fill it in automatically. It might be wise to add a current number of observations to start a manual inserting of names from the most popular species.

To improve iNat outreach in Russia I would suggest to start a regional extension like NaturaLista, but I do not see anyone who can do this task in near future. So, may be one trick - to change a logo from “iNaturalist” to “яНатуралист” in the Russian-language version. Why not?


Thanks very much for all the insight apseregin
I’ll follow up on the place boundaries, the translation, and the outreach ideas soon, but regarding vernacular names. Here’s a spreadsheet of Russian vernacular names on iNaturalist for all the taxa currently observed within Russia:
global means the prioritized Russian name, local means the prioritized Russian name associated with Russia (when these both exist and are different ‘match=FALSE’).
Any user can add new Russian names. Only curators can change existing names or alter the priority of names. If you have bandwidth to help with Russian vernacular names, have you considered becoming a curator?

Apparent issue with the national borders evidenced here

Dear Scott,

A list of additional Russian vernacular names is here:
The list contains only taxa with no Russian names in the original file. All together, 3,919 entries.
In the Moscow Digital Herbarium, we hold Russian names for global flora, not only for species occurring in Russia. If you send a list of global plant names without Russian translation in the same format, we can add them easily as well.
Hope, this helps.

Once again about computer vision. Uploading tons of plants from Russia, I noticed that it is hard (or almost impossible) to train the system to understand plants from Eurasia if there are closely related (and look similar to) North American relatives. This is mostly due to the great number of North American pics which were used to calibrate the network. So, dozens and hundreds of sedge pics (genus Carex) from Russia are already uploaded, but still these species are not listed in top-10 suggestions where North American sedge species predominate. The same is true for some other groups.

For instance, Russian hybrid Aronia mitschurinii (or x Sorbaronia mitschurinii) sometimes is listed as a suggestion among other aronias but only with a “Seen nearby” tag. How many pics of Aronia mitschurinii do we need to see one day “Visually similar”?

So, I want to suggest more intensive use of geographical filters at least on continental or macroregional scale. Another suggestion which could play a vital role in precise geographical filtering is to include all GBIF-data for “Seen nearby” suggestions. This could be very helpful in larger countries sparsely sampled by iNat users or for tropical regions where the diversity is very high.


One concern with using GBIF data is you are introducing 40,000 datasets with varying degrees of quality control and no ability to do anything about the mistakes. I’ve seen more than my share of records from GBIF that are clearly incorrectly identified. My main focus is dragonflies here, but I assume the problem is the same in other areas.

If the name is already there, any load should just ignore it, duplicates are not allowed, so no reason to need an existing list, just build from what you have.

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