Your thoughts on eMammals, please

I would be interested to hear from any iNaturalists who have experience with eMammal. Do you find it useful? What does it do that iNat doesn’t do better? What shortcomings or difficulties do you see?
I ask because the organization for which I work is considering using it, and I’d like to better understand the utility of it in relation to iNaturalist.
Thank you.


I enjoyed participating in a project using eMammal. It’s a bit more focused than iNaturalist which can be used with no real goals in mind for the data. eMammal is more closely tied to specific research projects, the protocols are stricter, and the procedure takes some more of a time commitment. There was also a hardware requirement for the project I joined, not sure if that applies to all eMammal projects. Had to borrow a project camera trap since I didn’t have a suitable model. One nice thing about the projects is that you can see the resulting scientific articles.


I have pretty strong opinions about the downsides of ‘reinventing the wheel’; and really dislike the highly fractured landscape of biodiversity data platforms. That said, I’m open to the idea that some platforms can provide real additional value to the core features provided so well on iNaturalist (eBird is a good example).

To be convinced though, I would want to hear a very compelling answer to this question: “What does it do that iNat doesn’t do better?”
And by ‘very compelling’ I mean not just one or two reasons, nor trivial improvements.

I look forward to reading more comments in this thread!


Is it actively supported/developed? e.g. their last project update was in 2018, all these links are broken, and the last social media posts were in 2019. You may want to reach out to the project coordinators to get more info on the anticipated longevity of the project.


I think they’re transitioning over to Wildlife Insights and will be shutting eMammal down.


Yes. As best I understand it, they will become a subset of Wildlife Insights, but are not there yet.

@dlevitis - call me! I can tell you all about Wildlife Insights and the One Tam camera project. I’m actively on the most recent WI a lot and planning the return of our volunteer program Happy to share how it’s going.

To @leptonia’s point…I’m also not a fan of reinventing the wheel and use iNaturalist for our projects as the platform of choice, with this notable exception. What’s the deal with eMammal and Wildlife Insights and why is a tool like this needed?

  • eMammal is out, WI is the new platform that has had a ton of investment from Google and Conservation International.
  • Both are specifically built for camera trap data
  • Camera trap datasets are yuuuuuuuge and have a high percentage (60-85%) blank images. WI has computer vision integration that allows for more efficient processing
  • Data management with camera trap projects can be a real headache. WI is specially built to efficiently manage those data.
  • Many (not all) camera projects implement methods to derive occupancy estimates and indices (like the Wildlife Picture Index), WI is specifically built to derive those metrics automatically in a dashboard.

I should add that my perspective is largely informed by being an early adopter of Wildlife Insights. It has been a very long road, very rough at times, but I am feeling optimistic about its future. Happy to comment on Zooniverse and why we didn’t go that route too.


Thank you @ten_salamanders ! I will call you. You are the first WI user I’ve heard from that (if I understand correctly) sees it as ready-to-use, rather than ready-to-put-data-into-so-that-some-day-it-will-be-useful. I’d very much like to hear more about your experience.


sure thing! happy to give you a tour of our Wildlife Insights. And yes, I see it as ready to go. Again, this view is shaped by having spent 2 years as an organizational beta tester and before that as a user of the desktop version.


And just to add another bit of info about Wildlife Insights- there are active conversations about cross-platform integration with Zooniverse. That would combine the AI and analytical advantages of WI with the community-building tools and training modules of Zooniverse. For anyone curious…we are on track to launch the next evolution of One Tam’s wildlife camera project in early 2022

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