November 04, 2021

News Round Up - Some articles you may have missed

We've brought together some articles that we think will be of interest to iNaturalistUK users.

iNaturalist Updates

New Vision Model Training Started

iNaturalist have started training on a new model, which will be its first model update since July 2021.

iNaturalist Mobile App Development News

An update about recent development decisions made for the iNaturalist mobile app.

Using Data

‘Precision’ citizen science

Two projects led by UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) are providing information for wildlife recorders to help them choose where to record – based on where records are most valuable. Both projects invite your feedback and involvement.

Using citizen science for early detection of tree pests and diseases

New research, published recently in the journal “Biological Invasions” by NBN Trustee – David Slawson – and his colleagues Nidhi Gupta and Andy Moffat, shows that tree health surveillance capacity can be increased by engaging and training citizens.

Want to Learn More?

Want to Study Wildlife?

Small bursaries available for taxonomic courses

New MSc programme in citizen science at UCL

This new MSc, the first of its kind in the world, provides students with theoretical and practical experience in creating and managing citizen science projects across a range of disciplines from astronomy to zoology.

Posted on November 04, 2021 07:51 by giselle_s giselle_s

October 12, 2021

Licensed to Share!


What are licences and how do they work?

When you join iNaturalist you are presented with a “Yes, license my photos and observations so that they can be used by scientists” checkbox. Checking this adds a default Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC) to your content.

A licence is an agreement you make with someone who wants to use your property. By law in most places, content like photos are a kind of intellectual property and you have the right to control how your photos are copied in certain situations. Creative Commons (CC) licences are a bit different: they are licences you apply that allow anyone to use your intellectual property without having to negotiate with you individually and without having to pay you, as long as the terms of the licence are respected, e.g. that they give you credit. This provides content authors with some legal controls while allowing content users to utilize and remix that content without fear of a lawsuit.

iNaturalist offers users a number of licence options including ‘No licence (all rights reserved)’.

What licence should be used for UK observations?

In line with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility’s (GBIF) approach to data licensing (see this article from 2014) the NBN Atlas and iRecord require that all iNaturalist data shared to them are on one of three licences:

The NBN Atlas is the UK node for GBIF and with the agreement of its data providers it regularly shares records from UK-based datasets with GBIF. Please note that the NBN Atlas does not accept Share-alike (SA) or No-derivatives (ND) licences. You can read more about data licences on the NBN Atlas Help Page.

It is possible to license observations separately to your sounds or photos. Neither photos or sounds are transferred to iRecord or the NBN Atlas so you may, for example, want to license your observation as CCO and photos as CC-BY-NC.

Why does it matter?

If your observation is not licensed with one of these three licences it can’t be pooled together with other UK data sets allowing us to build up a full picture of the UK’s biodiversity. It will also not be passed to GBIF by iNaturalist as part of their regular exports.

The ideal is that all observations are licensed as CC0 or CC-BY. However, we recognise that this may not be appropriate for all users for all observations.

How to check which licence is attached to your observations

Log into iNaturalistUK: Account Settings > Content and Display > Licensing

On the iNaturalist App: Settings > Default Licenses

How to edit individual observation licences

To edit photos on an individual observation

Within iNaturalistUK:

  • Select an observation > Edit
  • Click ‘View Original’ under your photo
  • Click on Edit Licence next to ‘Attribution’

On the iNaturalist App

  • Click on observation and click the edit icon
  • Within Edit Observation click on the image
  • Click the three dots
  • Select Edit Photo License

To edit the licence of an individual observation including sounds

Within iNaturalistUK:

  • Go to observation
  • Click on the drop down arrow next to 'Edit' and select Edit License. You can also edit the licence that applies to all your other observations through this route.

On the iNaturalist App

  • Click on observation and click the edit icon
  • Within Edit Observation click on the three dots
  • Select Edit Observation License

Further Reading

Licensing milestone for data access in

iNaturalist Licensed Observation Images in the Amazon Open Data Sponsorship Program

iNaturalist Blog – photo licences

You can also find more help and guidance within the iNatForum


Posted on October 12, 2021 10:41 by giselle_s giselle_s

September 21, 2021

iNaturalistUK User Group - September 2021


The first iNaturalistUK User Group meeting took place on 8 September 2021 (see original news story) and was attended online by around 25 people. The first part of the meeting was an introduction to the NBN Trust by Lisa Chilton, NBN Trust CEO. (Find out more about the NBN Trust by exploring the NBN Trust website further.)

This was followed by a brief outline of iNaturalist and iNaturalistUK. There is more information in the iNaturalistUK pages on the NBN Trust website. View the PowerPoint presentation.

A brief recap of the aims of the group were set out:

  • Establish how iNaturalist / iNaturalistUK is currently used in the UK
  • Establish what organisations want to use it for in future
  • Identify how the NBN Trust, as the UK lead, can help you make best use of iNaturalistUK
  • Discover what general improvements users would like to see

User Group Survey

Ahead of the meeting iNaturalistUK users who were interested in being part of the User Group were asked to complete a short survey to gain headline information on how they use iNaturalistUK and what improvements they would like to see. View a summary of the survey.

Initial discussions

The group were asked for their initial views and ideas and the following themes were raised. They were, in no particular order.

1. Use of Research Grade Observations

iNaturalist uses the term 'research grade' for observations that reach a community consensus.

Observations become "Research Grade" when

  • the community agrees on species-level ID or lower, i.e. when more than 2/3 of identifiers agree on a taxon (See iNaturalist Help page)

This is different to how species are verified in the UK. Some of the group said that they would like to see a ‘research plus’ rating or the use of a tag by the person suggesting the ID to indicate their expertise. The group thought that this could save iRecord verifiers work in being able to be confident that a research grade observation is correct.

Issues around ‘Research grade’ are not just confined to the UK. Search the iNatForum to see that this topic has prompted lots of discussion. Managing this issue will need much more discussion by the community.

2. Data Flow

A common theme from the survey and in the discussion was how data could flow from iNaturalistUK to the data users including Local Environmental Record Centres (LERC’s), National Schemes and Societies (NSS) and the NBN Atlas.

The Biological Record Centre (BRC) are working on confirming the process to ensure data does flow through iRecord and, where possible on to the NBN Atlas. Detailed information will be shared once available. An update on this has been added to iRecord see iRecord and iNaturalist help page.

3. Feedback to iNaturalistUK recorders

An ideal scenario would be that when a record is updated in iRecord feedback could be provided to the original observer in iNaturalistUK through an automated process. Unfortunately, this ability is not available. BRC have discussed the possibility of this with the developers of iNaturalist and a resolution is currently not available. iRecord will contain a link to the original iNaturalistUK record to allow manual updates. BRC will continue to look at this as a future option.

4. AI improvements from iRecord photos

It was suggested that photos added to iRecord be used to help with AI learning where they were on an appropriate licence. The BRC have done some limited research with this. In addition, iNaturalist have recently released a New Computer Vision Model.

For note iNaturalist state “Accuracy outside of North America has improved noticeably in this model. We suspect this is largely due to the nearly doubling of the data driving this model in addition to recent international growth in the iNaturalist community. We’re continuing to work on developing a better framework for evaluating changes in model accuracy, especially given tradeoffs among global and regional accuracy and accuracy for specific groups of taxa.”

5. Licences

Data users would like to see more data on open and therefore usable licences. Understanding which licence to use and why is something the community need to promote.

The default licence set when logging into iNaturalistUK is CC-BY-NC. This is set the same internationally and we are unable to have a separate UK default.

To check and update your licence on the website go to your Dashboard and then Settings > Content and Display. Within the App select Settings > Default Licenses

More detail is available within the Content and Display section under your profile on the website. See also this recent iNaturalist Blog post regarding licensing of photographs. Further reading: Creative Commons guide to licences.

It would be helpful to have user stories to demonstrate the benefits of open licences that can be shared.

In Meeting Poll

Attendees were asked what they wanted most from the iNaturalistUK user group and for one specific need. View the poll results. The main responses were to improve data flow and ensure data is verified and useful. There was also a need to provide resources for UK specific audience and promote iNaturalistUK’s place as a recording tool.

Next Steps

It was proposed that we have further meetings on a quarterly basis and use them to discuss the main issues that have arisen from the initial meeting. Details will follow. If you wish to be part of the user group or simply want to be updated on the meetings please add your name to the mailing list.

Posted on September 21, 2021 10:01 by giselle_s giselle_s