What's the fastest way to identify 'Unknown' obs?

So I’ve decided that something useful I can do is to go through some older ‘Unknown’ observations and add the kingdom. I’ve noticed that when I do that, I get notifications of other people going to the same observations and adding much more specific IDs, so it’s obviously getting older obs onto the radar of people who can identify them.

When I go to the ‘Identify’ tab, I filter for ‘Unknown’ and for older dates. I can see all the thumbnails, and I have to go into each one individually to identify it as Birds, Plants, etc. It only takes a few seconds for each, but it’s still a long time when I’m doing lots. Is there a faster way to mark them as a particular kingdom, like a Batch Edit, where I can click the thumbnails and make them all Plants etc.?


What device are you using to add IDs?
When I use my iPad and open the identify page, I can click on an observation to bring up a pop-up screen. From that screen, I can click on an arrow on the screen pointing right or the arrows on my keyboard to quickly move through everything on that page.
Are you already using that function?

no, you’d have to use your own tool of some sort to do some additional automation. some related discussion: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/bulk-identification-tool/5029/34.


Yes, I’m already using that (or the pc equivalent). It’s just a slowish process when you’re doin lots of them one at a time. I was hoping there was some sort of ‘Batch Edit’ function, to speed it up.

A few seconds isn’t really a very long time to spend on an ID…
If I’m consulting resources, checking keys, etc. it takes much longer.

I would honestly prefer that people look carefully at observations before entering IDs rather than using a tool that allows them greater efficiency but may miss important details. Correcting mistakes is more difficult and time-consuming than avoiding careless errors in the first place.

It is important to actually open observations and look at them before adding an ID. The observer may have left a note about what they are interested in, or they may have accidentally uploaded photos of different organisms in a single observation, or there may be some organism off to the side of the photo that has been cut off in the thumbnail, or any number of other things that may affect the ID.

Or you might find that if you look at the photos and the location you can sometimes provide an ID that is more specific than kingdom. IDing quickly may feel productive, but fewer, high-quality, thoughtful IDs may actually result in a more streamlined ID process in the long run, because it requires fewer additional users to look at the observations.


Notes or placeholder text from the observer. Unfortunately iNat destroys useful placeholder text when any ID is added. Info is gone forever.

Multiple pictures all of the same subject - or does it need to be split?

Should those 3 obs be combined because they show the field marks that add up to an easy ID? But only when the pictures are combined.

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