Tips for using the iNaturalist Observations Update tool?

I’ve recently got into some serious IDing, mostly Unknowns and broad IDs in Italy (my adopted country) and GB (my birth country), going further into detail where I can. I’m finding it quite a challenge as I’m pretty obsessed with avoiding errors and tend to get disproportionaly stressed when I make mistakes, so I try and keep up with notifications as best I can, not always easy with a somewhat dodgy internet connection.
To help out with this I’ve recently started using the excellent “iNaturalist Observations Update” tool and it’s now become an indispensable part of my daily routine.
I’m wondering though if there is a way I can customize it to make it even more efficient for my particular way of working.
Firstly, is it right that I have to go through the authorization process every time I run it? Not a big deal, but I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong, as the opening page specifically specifies “The first time you go through this process, iNaturalist will ask you to authorize…”.
Secondly and more importantly, I’d love to be able to customize the resulting table (as is possible with the sister Identifications Search tool) by modifying the base query, for example, limiting the results to “Needs ID”, or to a particular user. I’ve tried simply adding the query terms to the base query url, but it returns “{“error”:“Unauthorized”,“status”:401}”. Is there another way or can this simply not be done?
Many thanks in advance for your advice and for any other tips you may have on how I can make the tool even more efficient in picking up my possible errors.

There was some feedback on the original post.
Authorisation each time was related to your security? A deliberate choice by pisum?

just to clarify, this is a 3rd party developed tool that helps to get notifications resulting from updates to observations such as identifications and comments.

i don’t think you’re doing anything wrong yourself, but i do think there is something wrong in the workflow. however, because it’s such a small problem (just a suboptimal workflow, not an actual security issue, as far as i can tell), i haven’t spent much effort trying to track down the source of the problem. i suspect it’s somewhere in iNat’s implementation of their authorization process, but it would be hard for me to troubleshoot that without setting up a development instance of the iNat system. see if you’re interested in more details.

the parameters at the top of the page are all the filter parameters made available by the iNat API. so any additional filtering would have to happen via some kind of second pass filtering (on the client side, rather than on the server side), which is technically possible but sort of ugly to do – so i’d be reluctant to implement something like that, unless there’s a compelling reason to do so.

however, the code for the page is public, and anyone with some coding skills is welcome to adapt it for their own purposes or to offer improvements to the code via the GItHub repository.

really though, the best solution should come when iNat finally releases the new notifications system that they’ve been working on, hopefully making this 3rd party tool obsolete. see


Firstly, thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks @pisum for your commitment, knowledge and hard work. Can’t repeat enough!

I love “meddling” and have always wanted to learn at least enough about coding to play around with such things, but I just have no idea where to even start, so for now it looks like I’ll be relying on the goodwill and skill of others.

Indeed the stuff dreams are made of :roll_eyes: :thinking: :grinning:.


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