Temporary limitations on places and taxon changes April 24-May 6

Similar to the last few years, we’re limiting a few processes during the City Nature Challenge to minimize disruptive events. The limitations are identical to last year.

In preparation for increased iNaturalist activity during the upcoming City Nature Challenge , iNaturalist will implement some temporary changes. From April 24 to May 6, we will temporarily restrict some processes on iNaturalist that are more demanding on the infrastructure. Most users will not notice these changes because they do not directly impact observations, identifications, comments, or projects.

Large places cannot be created or edited
Starting on April 24, any new or edited places must contain fewer than 10,000 observations and be smaller than roughly the size of West Virginia (~24,000 square miles or 62,361 square km). If you try to add or edit a place above these thresholds, it will give you a warning message.

All places added or edited during this time may experience extended times to reflect the edits or collect all of the observations. If you can delay adding or editing places, please do so.

“Search external providers” disabled
If you enter a taxon name that can’t be found in iNaturalist, normally you can “Search external providers”. This feature will be temporarily disabled to prevent the addition of new taxa that cannot be curated during this time period (see below).

Taxon changes & ancestry edits paused (applicable for curators only)
No taxon changes or edits to taxon ancestry (including grafting taxa) can be implemented starting April 24. If you try to do this, you’ll get a message that such changes are temporarily unavailable. You can still draft taxon changes and save them to be committed after the restriction.

These temporary limitations will be in place through May 6, which includes the observation period of the City Nature Challenge as well as the upload/identification period.

Other activities that are not restricted but should be deferred if possible:
-csv uploads: If you are uploading a csv of observations, expect considerable delays. Do not attempt the same upload more than once.
-csv data downloads: If you are trying to download a csv of observations, expect considerable delays. Do not attempt the same download more than once.

Thank you all for your patience with these temporary restrictions.


If you do want to download iNat data during that period, downloading via GBIF should be unaffected (and for many uses is actually preferred anyways).


This freeze just came as a surprise to me today when i tried to make a taxon swap on a group of creatures that i’ve been steadily working through curation over the past several months.

Really, what i’m saying is that I missed the notice of the pending freeze. Is the only notification for those like myself this single post in the forum from just four days ago, or did I miss other notifications? I only check the forum discussions intermittently.

Sorry to catch you by surprise, @sjl197. We didn’t announce it more widely this year. Your feedback is appreciated so we can rethink our approach next year.

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Well, @charlie, it’s not a 15-year taxon freeze, but it’s a start, eh? :slightly_smiling_face:


15 hours anyhow, haha


As planned, the limitations were removed yesterday. Thanks for your patience, everyone!