Whats up with iNaturalist Places

Hi everyone,
This is my first post on here and I thought that a I’d discussion the “iNaturalist Places” page.
Why don’t people use it? I’ve been on a few little holidays around Australia recently and have looked on national park websites, and other itinerary sites to find interesting places to explore. Imagine having iNaturalist members build their own places, with photos and species attached that have been seen there.

For example I could make a “place”, suggesting South Wollemi National Park on Putty Road as an amazing place for nature-lovers to visit. I could include trail information, photos, and perhaps some GPS locations of waterfalls or rock formations etc. Even different habitat types which could help scientists track species potentially moving into different habitats.

Now, this seems to be what the “Places” is (https://www.inaturalist.org/places). But… nobody uses it.
I live in NSW Australia and in the future it would be amazing to see 20-30 posts that I can view on a map, and potentially fit into a holiday.

It would be amazing to hear what you all think!
Cheers, Lucas Lennon.

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Everybody uses places, you create one, create a project and write everything you wish about it in a project journal. https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/browse
Main places page just show you some examples of what places may be, they change each time you load the page.
And there’re many projects to explore in NSW, you can create new ones for reserves, if you check and see there’s none yet.
With 2 pages of places that use NSW, many more localized don’t have it in their name.

Welcome to the forum!

iNat has a list of standard places sourced from administrative boundaries and the like. There are also Community Curated places that users have added (and you can do this too if you wish). Places have checklists somewhat automatically generated for them based on observations appearing there, but you can also make a project for a given place if you wish. Many users’ motivation for adding a place is to make a project around it.

You can see some info on iNat places here:

And some info on how to make places here:


Thanks for introducing me to Places!!
Now that I know about this feature, I’ll be using it. I have previously thought I would have to add tags or create a project to see all of my observations in a locality.

Now, I just need to know how to map the boundaries of an area to create a custom place.

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If you want to create a place for everyone to view you have to use a KML file.

Go to google earth and click projects on the menu.
Once you have clicked project click ‘new project’ on the top right corner.
Once you have clicked new project click ‘new feature’ right under the title in a blue box.
Click ‘draw line or shape’ and draw your place.
Once you have drawn your place click the arrow on the top left corner and name the project.
Once you have done this click the three dots on the top right corner and click ‘export as kml file’
After doing all of this you can finally log onto inaturalist and go into places and upload your place.


Just a note to everyone, a lot of people have already created a lot of custom places on iNaturalist. To avoid unnecessary duplication and overlap, I recommend searching for existing places that might be sufficient for your needs, before creating a new one. You can search by place name, but a more reliable way to see what already exists is to pick an existing observation in the location of interest, and under the map on the observation detail page (like https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/37518256), click Details. This will show you all of the existing Standard and Community Curated places containing that observation. (Make sure the sample observation has open geoprivacy, or you may not see a complete list.)


When you land on this page, it shows you just 5 random places from the many thousands of places that exist on iNaturalist, either as Standard Places or community curated places.

Here’s an example of a place page from an active area: https://www.inaturalist.org/places/district-of-columbia-us

As you might guess from the design, the “Places” landing page and the individual place pages were one of the very earliest parts of iNaturalist and they haven’t been updated in many years. A major update is needed but not yet planned. In the meantime, there may be some modest changes possible to the text to the places page that would at least give a better impression of what already exists.


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