SWSEIC and iNaturalist
iNaturalist is a global wildlife recording website and app. It has particularly been gaining in popularity, particularly amongst less experienced recorders due to the helpful community and rich features of the site. It is used for the international City Nature Challenge, an annual global biodiversity recording and awareness event – see the 2021 UK results here.
Earlier this year, a collaboration between some of the UK’s wildlife recording organisations led to the launch of iNaturalistUK – a UK-focussed portal for the site and the start of closer ties to the UK wildlife recording network. Further information about this is development and what it means to iNaturalist users is available on the NBN website.
In recognition of the growth of iNaturalist, SWSEIC has created a ‘project’ on iNaturalist to showcase the sightings and latest activity in SW Scotland. You can visit the page here: uk.inaturalist.org/projects/swseic-inaturalist. Anyone can see these records and summaries – there is no need to be an existing logged in user.
If you are an existing iNaturalist user what can you do?
- Affiliate your account – If you are an existing iNaturalist user, you can affiliate your account with iNaturalistUK via your account settings. You can also access the iNaturalist website via the UK portal link – uk.inaturalist.org – to see updates and announcements from iNaturalistUK on your dashboard.
- Update the default license for your records – On iNaturalist, you can choose a specific license for your records – the default license is attribution (must acknowledge the provider) and non-commercial, which unfortunately means that records may not be usable for some of the work that local environmental records centres such as SWSEIC do. If you plan to use iNaturalist and want your data to be used fully in research and local decision-making, SWSEIC would encourage you to set the license for your records in the ‘content & display’ section of your account settings to the ‘attribution’ license (CC-by) so that data can be used fully by your local LERC.
- Become a member of the SWSEIC iNaturalist project – If you are an iNaturalist user you can also become a member of the SWSEIC project – as well as supporting us, you will have the opportunity to allow SWSEIC access to more detailed information for any sensitive species/locations which might otherwise be blurred.
Are iNaturalist records shared with SWSEIC and other organisations?
At the time of writing the flow of information between iNaturalist and UK wildlife recording organisations is, broadly speaking, is in its infancy. Some local environmental records centres (LERCs) access records directly from iNaturalist but the situation varies from area to area and from species group to species group. The new developments means progress on data sharing is being made, and iNaturalist records are now flowing through to iRecord for expert verification and will be available for all LERCs and recording schemes and societies through this route (subject to the data license, see 2. above). This relationship should continue to mature and should see better use of higher quality iNaturalist records .