My work flow with iNaturalist... Aka "How to be inefficent but extremely accurate!"

So, a few folks have asked me how I get lots of observations up in no time. Well, "no time" is relative. I spend lots and lots of hours on iNat every day (time well spent!)... But it also inspires me to spend more time outside to go out and explore more! :) So here's my workflow from the time I step out the door...

  1. Take camera and some extra camera batteries and memory cards
  2. Look for a place that I haven't been before -- a park usually, or at least different areas/places in a familiar spot
  3. Take pictures of EVERYTHING! I try to just get the plants with flowers or fruits, but any bugs or birds or fungi, I do try to get. iNat has dramatically changed me in this way. I used to be solely focused on plants that I would be oblivious to all other things... With iNat as a tool, I feel like I'm truly exploring the complete ecosystem. :)
  4. Get worn out and go to AC or water -- exploring can wear me out!
  5. Crop pics on camera -- @gcwarbler yelled and yelled and yelled at me to crop stuff, so now I do it all the time! :)
  6. Get home to and transfer pictures to computer.
  7. Use the old photo uploader (sorry @kueda @tiwane @loarie -- I'm a creature of habit!)
  8. Manually put in location and narrow down accuracy circle to around 4 m. I don't use the GPS on my camera as I've had some trouble with it before -- and when I photograph a bird waaaay far away, I want the observation to show exactly where the bird was. Anyways, old school, but I just manually put in my location. I rarely obscure observations, especially when in a public park. If I'm on private land, of course I obscure, but I'm not a big fan of the obscured observation -- they end up making my map look messy.
  9. Put in a little narrative on the observation of where and why I was there. This doesn't have any scientific value, perhaps, but it does personalize my observations. I like that. :)
  10. I don't always add a specific ID right away -- I feel that it's ok to not know exactly what it is that I saw before I upload it.
  11. "Save and add another" -- rinse and repeat! I'm usually up to about an observation a minute or so... So, 50 observations uploaded in an hour, give or take.
  12. Work on ID'ing! I sometimes upload stuff first, and then come back to it later on to work on ID's. I'm super thankful for all of those that help me out with ID's. I try my best to reciprocate that for others. I do mis-ID a lot, but I'm continually learning too. In the big scale of things, I think engagement is more important than being "correct." :)

So, that's pretty much my regular work flow when it comes to uploading observations. It's definitely not super efficient, but I like that it's pretty dang accurate.

Posted by sambiology sambiology, 18 September, 2016 00:36


Sam, have you used this workflow for GPS tagging?

Posted by tiwane about 6 years ago (Flag)

I think #9 on your list can hold a lot of value and should be much less neglected.

Posted by briangooding about 6 years ago (Flag)

I wish you had cropped this journal post more... ;-)

Posted by gcwarbler about 6 years ago (Flag)

Thanks for taking the time to write this post & to help others learn. :-)!!!!!

Posted by mustardlypig about 6 years ago (Flag)

No. 3 !!! I got the exact same case for me!!!

Posted by aztekium about 6 years ago (Flag)

@tiwane, you just cut my workflow by about a third. I've been manually entering geolocations into LR (cut-and-paste from Garmin BaseCamp then "fix" the data format). It'll help in the field, too. My habit was to take a set of photos then drop a mark on the GPS unit with the frame number of the last photo. Had the keypad entry process down pat. Well, I can forget that now. Thanks so much for mentioning the video!

Posted by stevejones about 6 years ago (Flag)

So you can crop in your camera? I her heard there are cameras out there that do that. Must be nice. That is probably longest part of my process. Uploading to LR, crop, adjust for exposure, save as jpeg, repeat then upload and geotag. Which explains why I have months of observations not uploaded yet. Mostly for days when I took most photos, was out longest, I.e. Tandy Hills Bioblitz. Someday I'll get caught up, I hope.

Posted by brentano about 6 years ago (Flag)

Sam, thank you for the post as well as a number IDs you have provided to me. I am new to this and am trying to do my part to help others out with IDs as well. Thank You !!

Posted by ellendale about 6 years ago (Flag)

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments