Time of day searching

Is there a way for me to search observations by the time of day that they were observed? So for example, I want to only see observations taken after 10 PM at night. This could be rather important to evaluate observations for nocturnal behavior. Thank you so much!

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I don’t believe so, there doesn’t seem to be any URL parameter, nor is there a filter for this. You could make this into a #feature-requests.

Currently, you could download data from iNaturalist into a spreadsheet and do a bit of programming on the spreadsheet to filter for the time of day.


Might get a little muddied due to time zones, especially when the device the photo was taken with does not have the correct one set


this is similar to a couple of previous discussions:

as others have noted, there’s a data quality issue, since there’s data that is recorded without time or at the wrong time zone / offset.

you’re going to have to do some manual / custom filtering to get data by time of day.

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I’ve tried to do this a bit to find observations of diurnal organisms active at night. I downloaded data and sorted/filtered/looked through manually, but it was still a bit of a mess. iNat really doesn’t do a good job formatting/standardizing time zone data, so you have to pick through. I was able to find some nocturnal observations, but I’m also sure that I missed others that were mistakenly coded as being during the day or ones lacking specific time info altogether (date only).

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My observations seem to usually upload as UTC but occasionally it seems to take the time in UTC and mark it as if it were the local time zone so it would look like the sun was out at 3am or something. No idea why or how often that happens but I’d be unlikely to notice or fix it as long as the day was correct. Not even sure its a problem with the site, it might just be some artifact of how I processed that particular photo on my phone/computer. One thing that seems like it might have some use is an accuracy setting for the date/time similar to the setting for the location, which could make sense for people say uploading old photos that aren’t timestamped by modern gps devices.

you should check your default time zone setup in your account settings in the website. just looking at a few of your recent observations, it looks like observations you load via the web are getting UTC as the time zone but with local time (suggesting that UTC is your default time zone), while observations loaded via the iOS app maybe getting the proper time zone from your device.


Ok, so it must actually be a bug with the web uploader itself then. For example, I just tested uploading this observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/99648232

with the first picture being a jpeg with the date-relevant metadata lines
kMDItemContentCreationDate = 2021-09-06 18:07:46 +0000
kMDItemContentModificationDate = 2021-09-06 18:07:46 +0000

which as it indicates is the correct time at +0000 UTC. When I open naturalists page for the image itself at https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/166158958, it shows the line

Date time 2021-09-06 12:07:46 -0700
which is the correct local time of 12:07 in MDT but confusingly the listed offset of -0700 is for MST. However, the date of the observation itself parses to

2021/09/06 12:07 PM UTC

which is not correct or internally consistent with anything else. My account settings on the website appear to have defaulted to UTC-12:00 for whatever reason, which makes no sense but I don’t see how it would be influencing this.

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