What happens to Flickr-linked iNat obs when I'm gone?

I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve made a huge mistake. I have thousands of observations in iNat, most of them linked to photos on Flickr. What will happen to these observations when my Flickr account reverts to Free instead of Pro? That will happen when I kick the bucket and stop paying my bill (if nothing else). As I understand it, Flickr now deletes all but the most recent 1000 photos when an account reverts to Free. My iNat observations for the deleted photos become image-less, right?

Is there an automated solution to convert photos from Flickr-hosted to iNat-hosted? Or is that iNat’s worst nightmare? iNat didn’t even have the option to host images itself when I joined and brought over everything from Flickr. And even if it had, uploading all of that data manually would have been prohibitive (and even more so now).

One workaround is an In Memoriam Flickr account. But that relies on me to write a digital will, somebody to execute it (sending Flickr a copy of my death certificate), and Flickr to implement it, any of which might not happen. And, of course, it relies of Flickr’s In Memoriam policy to remain the same in perpetuity.

I would like to think that the natural history observations I have accumulated over my lifetime are useful, in some small measure, and I can’t bear the thought of them all going poof. How have others dealt with this issue? And do admins have anything to offer?

Many thanks,


you’re okay. when i asked earlier, i was told that inat keeps its own copy, independent of flickr.


Whew! That’s great news. Many thanks for the reply.

@tiwane, if you could confirm, that’d set my mind completely at ease. If an individual photo is deleted, it leads to a photoless obs, but if the account as a whole goes non-Pro, iNat detects that condition and fills the photos in from a cached copy?



We’ve made local copies of photos from external sources because over the years we repeatedly had trouble with the images becoming inaccessible at the source (often due to changes to external image urls or permissions). So, if you lose most of your Flickr photos, your iNaturalist observations should be fine. You can check some of your older observations and see that there are iNaturalist urls for the images: e.g. you can see your first observation photo originally from Flickr has an iNaturalist url: https://static.inaturalist.org/photos/66372/original.jpg?1444437341

My first observations were from Flickr photos too, so I tested changing the visibility of one of my Flickr photos. Now you can’t see it on Flickr, but you can still see the photos on iNaturalist.

Super! Many thanks, Carrie.

1 Like

At the original image resolution, or down-sized like all other iNat image uploads?

Down-sized like all other iNat images.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.