You installed iNaturalist. Now what? This quick video takes you through the basics of making mobile observations.

When you add an observation to iNaturalist, knowing the location where you saw the organism is important for a few reasons. The location helps to get an accurate identification, because many organisms live in specific regions. The location is also important to researchers (many of them your fellow Macaulay students!) who will perform data analyses using iNaturalist observations. If an observation does not have a location associated with it, it will not be able to reach “research grade” status on iNaturalist.

However, Macaulay and iNaturalist take your privacy seriously. For that reason, you have three options for setting your location:

  • Open: anyone can see exact coordinates of the observation.
  • Obscured: you can see the exact location of your observations, but other users will see the general vicinity. This is enough information for the research community, while giving you more privacy.
  • Private: only you can see location data for your observations. This makes your data’s use more limited for the research community, but maintains stricter privacy for you.
  • Some projects have specific privacy settings, and some taxa (such as rare or endangered species) are automatically made private by iNaturalist.

More about geoprivacy on iNaturalist.

Depending on the settings of the phone/camera you are using to take pictures, the geolocation will usually be embedded in the image file. If it is not, you may add it in iNaturalist, and still control the privacy level.

It is easy to change the privacy of your observations at the time you add them, or later. Here is how you can do that.

Changing iNaturalist Privacy Settings and Adding Locations on iOS

Changing iNaturalist Privacy Settings and Adding Locations on the Web

Changing iNaturalist Privacy Settings and Adding Locations on Android