Umbrella collection project questions

Looking for some guidance from gurus.

I have been on iNat for several years, uploading my own observations and even creating my own event (bioblitz) last year. This year, I’m stepping it up a notch with Dragonfly Detectives - volunteers will gather dragonfly exuviae (shed larval exoskeletons) from all over southeastern Vermont, giving me their collection jars with data cards (time, date, location), and I’ll work to identify them to genus and possibly species in some cases.

What I did was set up a polygon to capture the basic area we’ll be working in, name the collection project (, but now I need to get more technical.

I think I want this to be an umbrella collection, since there will be a couple of discrete areas that will be included in the larger SE VT region (the VT Institute of Natural Sciences, for instance, has its own project page for the VINS campus). I want to include any dragonfly observations posted to the VINS project page in the larger SE VT umbrella project, but I don’t see how to select Anisoptera as the desired taxa filter for my umbrella project?

I am NOT very computer-savvy, and would really appreciate someone advising me as if I were a 4-year-old. :-)

I’m sure to have other questions as we go through this process. If someone would be willing to either “school me” here or via email, I’d be grateful.


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You can’t choose any taxa for umbrella project, it exists only to gather other projects, so you choose the needed taxon for each other project.

Thank you! Any suggestions, should I delete this collection project and try a different approach? Start with a different template, and choose to only collect Anisoptera when setting it up?

I wonder if you really need a project? You’ve set up a place and the tab “observations” shows all observations from that place, Southeastern Vermont: If you scroll to the bottom of the observations, there is a clickable link “show more observations from Southeastern Vermont”.

That link takes you to the map of those obs: Note that your place is designated as place 148179.

Then click on the Species tab to get:

Finally, in the Species search type in Dragonfly or Anisoptera, click on the correct dropdown and you will get all the Dragon species to date: It won’t matter if any of those observations are in other projects.

You can also use the filters box to only include “Research Grade”, or a date range, or a particular person. And at the bottom right corner of the filters box there are choices to Identify or Download.

You can bookmark the URL and run it whenever you might want an update. If I’m understanding what you wish to do, this gives you the same data you would get in a collection project. Sorry if I’m totally misunderstanding…

Thank you - so if I’m understanding you correctly, I can go to “Observations” from my place page, and that brings up every photo observation within my polygon. If I want to just see dragonflies, I should be able to ‘search’ on the species tab? But it comes up with a message “This place has no check list.” I keep thinking I set this up incorrectly…

You didn’t set up a project, just a place. A place’s species list, unlike observations’ species, shows species only if someone specifically sets up lots o’ species that are expected to be seen in that particular place. Unless it’s a huge place, like the United States, or specific administrative unit it’s not worth the trouble, and the info on a places page is limited.

For what I think you want to do, just go to There will be more options using observations. If the place polygon is what you intended, you can now disregard the place page and work with obs.

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I think you need a project anyway, people who help you would like to join it probably, but yes, you haven’t started one yet, sorry, I didn’t notice the link you posted.

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Are you wanting ALL anisoptera obs, or just the ones posted for exuviae that are collected? If the latter then a traditional project with manual adding to the project might be better

Thank you; yes, I’ve put together a traditional project (Dragonfly Detectives) that I want to use to post all current-year observations that will be made by members of the project but also capturing Anisoptera observations made within the project boundary by people who might not be members of the project. I’d like to also have Dragonfly Detectives pick up historic observations within the project boundary, made last year or earlier. Is that even possible?

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