iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you while generating data for science and conservation. Get connected with a community of millions scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! What’s more, by recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create research-quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature. So if you like recording your findings from the outdoors, or if you just like learning about life, join us!

iNaturalist is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in the USA (Tax ID 92-1296468).

Vision: iNaturalist's vision is a world where everyone can understand and sustain biodiversity through the practice of observing wild organisms and sharing information about them.

Mission: iNaturalist’s mission is to connect people to nature and advance biodiversity science and conservation.

What is iNaturalist?

iNaturalist is a lot of different things, but at its core,

iNaturalist is an online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature

It's also a crowdsourced species identification system and an organism occurrence recording tool. You can use it to record your own observations, get help with identifications, collaborate with others to collect this kind of information for a common purpose, or access the observational data collected by iNaturalist users.

What it isn't

Since people occasionally misunderstand iNat's purpose, here are some things iNaturalist is not:

It's NOT a repository for external data

Our approach towards advancing biodiversity science and conservation is to focus on supporting a large healthy community using the platform to generate, share, explore and curate data rather than focusing on accruing data. As such, iNat is not a data repository and isn’t a good place to drop off external data not generated on the platform. Please check out GBIF as an appropriate repository.

It's NOT a way to backup your photos

We resize and reprocess all the photos directly uploaded to iNat. And while we do archive photos from 3rd party services like Flickr, do not rely on us to keep the original information in photos you add to iNat. Maintain good backups on your own hardware, or use one of the many cloud-based backup solutions out there.

It's NOT a tool for mapping everything

It's not even here to map all ecological phenomena, like rocks, trash, water features, etc. iNaturalist is for recording observations of individual living things, particularly things that can be tied to a species name. It's certainly not here to map your friends, security camera, recycling bins, etc. If you're interested in those kinds of things, try a photo-sharing site (many of them include maps), Open Data Kit, or another mapping platform.

It's NOT a way to collect secret information

iNat is fundamentally about sharing information. If law, local policy, personal preference, or the particularities of your project require that you keep information hidden from public view, posting to iNaturalist may not meet your needs. We do perform some limited obscuration of coordinates for sensitive species or by your choice on individual observations. For personal privacy concerns, we recommend Seek by iNaturalist which by default only stores observations on your device.

A Little History

iNaturalist.org began as the Master's final project of Ken-ichi Ueda, Nate Agrin, and Jessica Kline at UC Berkeley's School of Information in 2008. Nate and Ken-ichi continued working on the site after graduation, with some additional help from Sean McGregor. Ken-ichi began collaborating with Scott Loarie in 2011, when they organized as iNaturalist, LLC and began expanding the site through numerous collaborations. In 2014 iNaturalist became an initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and a joint initiative with National Geographic Society in 2017. In 2023, iNaturalist became an independent non-profit organization. Internationally, iNaturalist partners with several different organizations through the iNaturalist Network to provide a localized experience along with greater reach and impact.

Revised on June 01, 2024 02:04 AM by kueda kueda