Symbols in downloaded CSV instead of readable data


The data I’m trying to download has a bunch of symbols in it instead of something readable. Would someone be able to help me get useable data?


I have tried downloading a couple of different datasets with the same result. I have also contacted the inat forum help folks via email.

What I’m hoping to do is use data downloaded from iNaturalist along with other publicly available data to plug into machine learning models so that I can answer questions about supporting biodiversity in my urban community. I also might be creating a relational database from the data. I’m fairly new in the data science realm and any help is greatly appreciated.

have a wonderful day :)

Can you give a few more details? Were you using the export tool, the API, GBIF, or some other method of getting data? What software are you using to try to read it?

I have been using the export tool. I have downloaded the data to my PC and then tried to read it into a jupyter notebook using python/pandas. When I looked at it using google sheets, that’s when I realized that I have symbols.

Have you looked at it with a plain text editor like notepad?
If it looks ok in the text editor, can you post the file to something like Google Drive or Dropbox and link it here?

I hadn’t tried opening it with notepad yet. I’m still seeing symbols when I do that though.


Please view the file using the link below

The link is to a file that’s already been interpreted by Google Sheets, which leaves open the possibility that Google Sheets made the error. But if the raw csv is still broken (which it seems to be based on the screenshot), can you post the exact steps you took to download the csv?

Looks like you have a compressed zip file (PK??? as first five characters) with the wrong file extension. Change the extension to “.zip” and extract with windows or 7Zip etc to recover the .csv file as plain text.

That worked! I only had to change the file extension. Now I can move forward. Thank you so much!

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Thank you too for your help, I certainly appreciate it and wish you a good weekend!

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