Help validate observations

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Sample observation in iNaturalist.org with a Community ID. Not shown is the separate ID of two individuals to agree on the CommunityID shown above.

Verification and validation of bioblitz observations is a critical step in the process of creating a biodiversity database that institutions and researchers trust when doing their analyses, making management recommendations or policies. All it takes is two people who confirm that the observation is the same species and it can get counted as “verified”.

We will need people who are comfortable identifying species to help review the uploaded observations over the April City Nature Challenge window of observations (April 14 to 18th) and verifying those that are correct, and making suggestions for those needing identifications.

Last year during the first year of the challenge, San Francisco and Los Angeles each recorded 10,000 observations in iNaturalist.org. If you are familiar with iNat, you know that each observation record needs to be validated by the community. This year the time frame for observations is shorter, 4 days instead of a week. We may not reach 10,000, be we are still anticipating a large number of observations in Boston for the City Nature Challenge between April 14th and 18th.

If you want to help, please sign up on iNaturalist.org, join our project, and request that you get notified when Boston City Nature Challenge observations get posted. You can choose the taxa that are of greatest interest to you if you wish. You can also consider hosting a City Nature Challenge ID-a-thon with some friends to collaborate on validations!

Please reach out to Colleen Hitchcock with any questions about how to best help.


Here’s what iNat has to say about how experts can help:

Scientists & Experts

Scientists and taxonomic experts can provide enormous value to our community by helping to identify observations. Try checking the ID Please section, searching for observations without identifications, or searching for observations that still need to get down to species. Or search filters allow a bunch of different ways to search, so play around!

You can also subscribe to particular taxa and to places, if you specialize in one group or place. Check the lower left corner of our taxon and place pages and you’ll see “Subscribe” links to click. Subscribing means you’ll receive updates when people make observations of your taxon or in your place of interest.

Researchers interested in downloading iNat data can use our export tool. All our licensed, research-grade observations are also indexed by GBIF, where you can search and download them using their tools.