Päiväkirja-arkisto kohteelle marraskuu 2021

marraskuu 20, 2021

Let's talk about identifications

Now that it's mid-November, my desire to go out hiking every possible day has quieted down a bit, plus I've had a couple of weeks here and there without a car, for various reasons. Thus I've been working on making identifications of other observers' observations. A LOT of identifications. And I have a few things I want to say about that.

First, it feels as though I am barely making a dent in the ever-growing flood of observations coming into iNat from New England, so I'd love some company. I know, I know, you feel as though you don't know enough, that you're not an expert, that you'd just embarrass yourself. Well, get over that. Anyone who is reading this (meaning people who follow me on iNat, I would guess) knows enough to be able to take a mushroom that's currently labeled Unknown and move it into Fungi. In fact, I bet almost all of you can ID a blooming Purple Loosestrife, or a decent photo of a Wood Frog, or even a Monarch caterpillar. I mean, I'm not an expert and I can do that!

So why did I start making IDs on other people's observations? Well, it occurred to me that the fact that other people were making IDs on my own observations, back when I started on iNat, was definitely one of the reasons I kept going and got so into hiking new places and making lots of iNat observations. I want other people, particularly people who are new to iNat or even new to looking at the natural world, to have that same sort of positive feedback. Plus, I think that the dataset that iNat observers are assembling is simply extraordinary and will become even more useful with climate change. So I resolved to make as many IDs for other people as I made observations of my own.

Second, I want to emphasize to observers (and you, dear reader, probably don't need this advice, but here goes anyway) that there are a few "rules" about making good, useful observations for iNat. Learning to use iNat has a bit of a learning curve, and it's easy to miss learning some of these rules.

iNat is primarily for wild organisms. Not pets, not garden plants, not zoo animals, not humans. If you do observe something that's not wild, mark it as such when you post it.

You can take several photos of an organism and include all of them in one observation. Conversely, each organism should have its own observation. In other words, don't photograph a squirrel, a tree, and a mushroom, and post all three photos as one observation. In such cases, no one can ID your observation properly.

When you post an observation, make sure it has an identification, even if it's something general like Animal or Plant or Fungi. Otherwise, it's labeled as Unknown by iNat and somebody like me has to go through and guess at what you observed. The easiest way to check if your observations have any ID at all is to look at the website after you upload photos. I think that it's pretty easy to forget to add an ID to an observation when you're using the phone app, as the app will upload observations whenever it has an internet connection, before you've had a chance to add an ID.

Here's a URL filtered for my Unknowns: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&user_id=lynnharper&iconic_taxa=unknown You can substitute your user name for mine and see if any of your observations aren't IDed. Note that Unknowns include bacteria and observations labeled Life, where no one knows has a clue about even what Kingdom was observed.

Once you've uploaded some observations, come back in a day or so and see what other people have added as IDs. If someone has added a more precise ID, that's a learning opportunity for you! Or if other people disagree with your ID, they might be right; again, that's a learning opportunity - or maybe you just made a mistake. I think I've IDed my Sweet-Fern (Comptonia peregrina) photos as Sweet Fern (Pteris macilenta) several times, for example, and I always appreciate being corrected.

When in doubt, go re-read iNat's Help documents here: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/help Or ask me questions - I'm happy to help.

OK, enough preaching to the choir - back to work making identifications!

Julkaistu marraskuu 20, 2021 03:11 IP. käyttäjältä lynnharper lynnharper | 5 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti