Searching for observations by uploaded filename

I know that you can now see the original filename of the images in an observation, but does anyone know if it’s possible to search for a given filename? I try and keep my photo archive updated with iNat identifications and comments and sometimes when I come across a photo with doubts, it would be SO useful to be able to track that photo on iNat to check for any updates. If it isn’t possible, I may well post a feature request. Thanks and happy iNatting to you all.

i’m fairly certain that there’s not a good way for regular users to search the metadata that’s captured on the photo pages. if you’ve included the original image filename(s) in your observation’s description field or observation fields, etc. then you might be able to search that way though.

if you go this route, you may want to include a better description of the use case. i don’t really follow the workflow you’re describing in your post.

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Perhaps using the filename as a tag might be the best work round. I’ll give it a try.
If I post a feature request, I’ll be sure to go into the issue in more detail, but in any case it’s actually quite simple.
I have a pretty large archive of images of fauna and flora, all stored with a filename and keywords that give me certain information.
When I get an identification (from iNat or elsewhere), I modify the filename and/or keywords, so my archive is always up to date and easy to search.
Now that it’s possible to view the original filename in the information stored with the observation on iNat, it’s easy for me to find the corresponding file(s) in my archive and update the name and keywords.
But if I have an image file without an identification in my archive, it’s not so easy to check whether I’ve posted it on iNat, or if there’s been a comment/identification that maybe I’ve missed. That’s why it would be useful to be able to search for that filename and find the corresponding observation.
It may well be that this possibility is of interest only to me, so I’ll try the tag route before filing a possible feature request. And thanks again.

I’m in a similar situation in that I have thousands of photos on my computer that I’ve put on iNat. I initially would only upload to iNat after I’d given the photos an initial id with a tag or caption on my local copies. Then when I started taking exponentially more photos I was falling far behind and decided I preferred posting observations within a day or two of taking the photos when they were still fresh in my mind. I switched to making preliminary ids as part of the upload process. Then I try to go back later when I have time, and add the species names to my photo files on my pc. It’s a slow process to do that manually and keep up with it.

I have my local files sorted by date taken and I’ve already tagged any photos with “iNat” before I added them to the site. So I can filter for that tag on my computer and it will show all my iNat photos in correct order. I like to caption my local photos with the same formatting that iNat uses of common name (scientific name). Unfortunately there seems to be some “on the fly” formatting on the iNat website that doesn’t let me copy and paste that and retain the formatting. So, I export a report that I can open as a spreadsheet and use a formula to format the species name column and then more quickly copy and paste from there. I keep the website open as well to reference the observation photos occasionally and make sure I’m not goofing something up.

I initially planned to use EXIFTOOL and the spreadsheet report to batch update the captions of my local photos, but the iNat report doesn’t indicate observations with multiple photos or what the original filenames are so that doesn’t really work. Often I will have photos in one observation that aren’t necessarily sequentially timestamped also. Like I’m taking photos of a bird, then take a photo of a different bird that shows up, then go back to taking more of the first bird. Ideally I would be able to generate an iNat report that would include original filenames. If I had a spreadsheet with one line per filename I think it would be fairly simple to run a script to caption my local photos accurately. I never change file or folder names to organize anymore, because that goofs up syncing of backups, etc. Instead I rely on metadata tags to organize the files.

Ideally I would also love to just generate a report with my observations that have been modified since my last report was created to keep up with changing ids. I know there’s a warning on the page that generates the reports that it’s taxing on the iNat servers to generate large reports.

I thought someone here on the forum at one point was working on something like this using EXIFTOOL to update their local photos?

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yes, i tend to agree. these are easy to get and filter, and you can associate multiple tags per observation. they are easy to get along with the observation so that you can do various types of automation, if you like.

ideally, it would be nice to be able to go back and tag your photos with observation IDs, but i don’t think there’s a good way to automate that without first having an easy way to get a list of original image filenames with each observation (which tags could provide the basis for). currently, you can get a list of iNat photo record ids for each observation, but you can’t really get the original filenames for each observation or get a mass list of original filenames for each photo record id.

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Probably the easiest work-around would be to get the date of the photo taken from EXIF and then look up that date in your calendar - unless you have hundreds of observations on a single day.

date might help in some cases, but it’s not going to always going to satisfy the needs described in this thread. even if i have only one observation that day, suppose i take 50 photos and use 2 of those 50 in the observation. in order to figure out if any of the photos taken that day were used in a particular observation, currently, i would still have to open up the observation and look at each of the 2 uploaded photos in detail to figure out which of the 50 image files they came from.

the other complicating factor is that depending on how you upload, often the time that’s recorded in iNaturalist is precise only to the minute (not to the second). so, similar to the situation above, if you’ve taken 10 photos in that particular minute, and you only uploaded 2 photos, there’s still not a great way to automate the association of those 2 uploaded photos to the 10 original photos from your personal collection.

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True. I was thinking of myself, as I am usually not taking a lot of photos for one observation.

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… but it was linking based on time, and apparently suffers from the datetime minute precision issue noted above.

Yeah, those were the posts I was thinking of. I haven’t looked at what’s possible using the iNat API interface because I am so out of date and practice on all things programming. I’m not sure if it would be possible to accomplish semi-automated tasks like these going that route instead of relying on the reports. It’s hard to know what data can be accessed and used. Are the date/times actually stored down to the second accuracy level, but just simplified for display and generating reports? Initially we thought that the original photo filenames were not even stored, but then they added the ability to view those filenames on the individual photo pages. I noticed in the report that there is a field that can be included called “updated at”, which I would think would be when the observation had any changes, or maybe just a change to the community id. The report generator doesn’t let you use that field as a criteria for selecting what to include in a report though, which I think would be super helpful for lots of purposes. There’s also likely more searches that can tweaked by altering a URL’s querystring if you know the right fieldnames to use, but it just isn’t included in the search forms.

The site is pretty flexible and powerful I think, but there are so many different use cases that it’s probably hard for them to know what to focus on. Some users are very concerned about GPS accuracy levels, which is of little interest for someone like me who makes 95% of their observations from home!

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