State of iNat development in relation to feature requests

I’m updating some old posts about iNat features (eg the 2019 retreat post and the explore page revamp discussion), but I also wanted to make a post here about the general state of iNat development and list some other features and improvements that have been implemented on iNat in the four years since the iNat Forum launched.

First I wanted to thank everyone here for sharing their requests and their thoughts on how iNat can be improved. Every day we at iNat are reminded that iNaturalist because of the passion and dedication of the community, and it’s always a bummer to me when a promised feature is delayed (like notifications and explore rewrites).

A lot of development resources are still currently focused on rewriting our mobile app, which is a really big undertaking but we’re making steady progress. We’ve also improved our discussion and prioritization process for adding functionality and fixing non-urgent bugs on the website, which led to recent changes like the ones made last month. I’m hoping we can keep up a steady rate of changes like those. Big changes like the notifications and explore page rewrites will have to wait, unfortuntely.

I’m going to try and keep up with feature requests better as well, look for a post in #forum-feedback about that soon.

In no particular order, here’s a list of some notable features and functionality added to iNaturalist in the last four years or so:

  • Lots of behind-the-scenes work to keep iNaturalist running well as it scales

  • Computer vision model now updated monthly

  • Support and tools for markdown formatting on observation pages.

  • Redesigned the Account Settings page

  • Recorded changes to taxa in taxon history and and on the Status section of the taxon page

  • Made life lists “dynamic”

  • Made the filter by place setting more visible on taxon pages

  • Automatically apply time zone based on observation’s location

  • Added a sound recording option to the iOS app

  • Made the Year in Review page

  • Added live ID suggestions to Seek

  • Map zoom level can now be locked on the Identify modal

  • “Project members only” setting added to collection projects

  • Added a mandatory explantion field for user suspension and reinstatement

  • Raised the limit on Species tab in Explore from 500 to 1000

  • Added rectangle and circle drawing tools to Explore page

  • Added link to Macrostrat on observation pages for elevation and other information

  • Search functionality added to Messages

You can check out past monthly updates or all the old News and Updates posts for more updates.


Thanks Tony. That’s a helpful post. While we all keep asking for new features, I appreciate the huge effort that’s gone on behind the scenes just to ensure that iNaturalist continues to work well with such a big ongoing growth in users and content. Monthly updates to the computer vision sounds like a similarly audacious job. Getting new features on top of this is icing on the cake.