New to All This?

This post is for people who are new to iNaturalist or new to making identifications on iNaturalist. Both groups of people might be feeling a little confused right about now and I'm hoping to give you some pointers on how all this works. Please feel free to ask questions at any time; the easiest way to ask is just to comment on this post.

New to iNaturalist
The New England Botanical Society has been kind enough to advertise this identification blitz to its members - thank you, NEBS! - so I suspect some of you may be new to iNaturalist in general. If so, welcome! I recommend you read over iNaturalist's Getting Started materials here: and watch one or two of their video tutorials here: Note that iNaturalist has both an app and a website; the website has many more features than the app, which was created to make taking and uploading observations easy. We'll be making identifications on the website. After you've looked over the introductory materials, poke around on the website, click on buttons and observations, and meander amongst everything iNat has to offer. You can't break it! Then, go outside and try making and uploading an observation or two yourself, whether from your smartphone or a camera. Don't feel stupid if you can't figure it all out right away; there is quite a learning curve to iNaturalist and I'm still learning about parts of the whole system after using it intensively for more than four years.

New to Making Identifications on iNaturalist
I'll confess that one of my ulterior motives in running this project is to get more people comfortable making identifications for others on iNaturalist. So, if you're new to making IDs, hooray! The whole iNaturalist system really runs on the volunteer efforts of all of the identifiers, in my opinion. As more and more people join iNat and make observations, we need more and more identifiers.

You really don't have to be an expert to be an identifier for iNat (I'm certainly not an expert!). You don't have pass some exam by stern botanists with Ph.D.s and 30 years' worth of experience in New England plants. You can just start by IDing easy plants: "Hey, here's an observation where the observer called it Chicory and it certainly looks like Chicory to me. I'll click Agree" and boom, you're an identifier!

One of the great things about making identifications (and observations, too, for that matter) is that the process prods you towards being a better botanist. Whether you ID "easy" plants like Chicory or prefer to puzzle out more difficult plants like Potamogetons or sedges, there will always be a challenge waiting for you on iNat. Plus, when it's a dreary February, see-sawing between early spring and late winter, it's really fun to look at photos of blooming hepaticas and Marsh Marigolds.

As to the mechanics of making IDs, I'll point you to the (long) (sorry about that) journal post I made last year for this project: These instructions use the Explore tab in iNat; you can also use the Identify tab, which will definitely speed things up, but I recommend new identifiers start in the Explore tab.

I'll be back soon with more on how to filter to get down to manageable chunks of observations to work on. It's only three and a half days till we start!

Julkaistu helmikuu 21, 2023 04:15 IP. käyttäjältä lynnharper lynnharper


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