Using iNaturalist for a tree app

Hello Everyone!

I’m a computer science major working for one of my professors over the summer developing an app. Our team is working with some members of the biology department to build an app which stores data about local trees.
It stores basic information like common and scientific name and location, but for many trees it also stores information like how much it saves in energy costs, and how much it improves air quality.

The thing is, we want users to be able to add new trees to a database, and we aren’t expecting every user to correctly identify every tree, so we are trying to find an already-available site for data curation which we can use for tree identification. The members of the biology department specifically mentioned iNaturalist as a good site. Currently in the add tree feature we ask users to upload a picture of the whole tree, as well as one of the bark and one of the leaves. We also require the gps coordinates of the tree.

The app is not for financial gain and will likely only be used locally, if that’s relevant for copyright.

Does anyone have any experience with this sort of situation, or any insight on if this is even possible/allowed, short of people manually uploading tree observations?

Thank you for your time.

1 Like

Hi @joz55! Sounds like a fun project. Please check out the documentation for developers:

Using the API to post to iNaturalist is, if done thoroughly, no small undertaking, and the team definitely needs to understand how iNaturalist works and what it’s all about from the user perspective. I recommend a high priority for the team should be posting many observations using the existing iNaturalist app first.

There also may some useful things you can do with the iNaturalist API for your project that don’t involve posting observations, so I recommend that as a starting place. :-)


Thank you! That’s very helpful.

That additional info you’re providing is quite a neat feature.