iNaturalist records on the NBN Atlas

There is considerable interest in sharing iNaturalist records on the NBN Atlas. As a trial, to help us understand the process and the type of information available, and to see whether our members generally support having iNaturalist records on the NBN Atlas, we recently added a dataset of iNaturalist records from Northern Ireland to the Centre for Environmental Data and Recording’s (CEDaR) data provider page on the NBN Atlas.

We only shared ‘research-grade’ records from iNaturalist. Identifications are verified by the community on iNaturalist; research-grade records are those where the community (more than 2 out of 3 identifiers) has agreed on a species-level identification. In addition, research-grade records must have a date, latitude/longitude coordinates, photos and or sounds and isn’t of a captive or cultivated organism. More details on the data quality assessment on iNaturalist can be found on the website.

Licensing on iNaturalist

As on the NBN Atlas, iNaturalist records have individual licences. We could only include records with licences that the NBN Atlas supports (i.e. CC0, CC-BY and CC-BY-NC) and where the taxon name matched a name in the UK Species Inventory. Finally, for the trial we also excluded records where the location had been blurred for sensitivity reasons, so that the NBN Atlas does not compound a location generalisation. Going forward we may remove this restriction.

Each iNaturalist record on the NBN Atlas has a link back to the original record on iNaturalist where the image can be viewed.

Identification verification

We flagged the majority of the records in the dataset as unverified; only records from experts known to CEDaR were set as verified. If we are to share more records from iNaturalist on the NBN Atlas in future, we will need to be able to make a clear distinction between verification methods and we are, therefore, considering changing the identification verification statuses that we currently support on the NBN Atlas. These will better reflect the type of records that are on the NBN Atlas and are as follows:

  • Expert verified
  • Crowd/community verified
  • Unverified – plausible
  • Unverified – not reviewed

We welcome any comments and feedback our members have on these changes.

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