Common Collection Project Use Cases

Modified on Tue, 30 Jan 2024 at 08:11 AM

This tutorial describes common Collection project uses and basic principles for setting them up.  It assumes that you are familiar with iNaturalist and have read the Projects page. You can read more about specific Collection project requirements here.


Keep in mind that these are just basic templates, and you can add or remove other project requirements to tailor your project to your specific needs.


Collecting Observations made in a Place or Places


One of the most common use cases for Collection projects is to display the observations made in a place, such as a park, reserve, campus, state, or country. 


You can only use iNaturalist Places when restricting a Collection project geographically, so if the place you're intrested in doesn't exist, you'll have to make one yourself. Or, you can include multiple existing Places if you like, such as several countries, or several parks. 


Here's how to set up a Collection project that only shows obsevations from a selected place (or places). Lets say I want to see all observations made in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.


  1. On the project's Edit page, scroll down to Observation Requirements and, under Include Places, I'll type in Golden Gate Park.


  2. I'll select the place I want to use, which is the top one. It will now appear under Include Places (red arrow). I can remove it by clicking on the X button. I can also search for and add other places to the project, if I'm interested in that. Note that you can also exclude places as well (red circle).


  3. If I make no more changes and save the project, I will see all verifiable observations, of any taxon, indexed as being in Golden Gate Park.


That's basically it!


Note that you can add further restrictions as well, such as only including certain Taxa like birds or fungi, or only including observations made by certain users, or observed with in a date range. You can also choose to include Casual grade observations, in addition to the default Research Grade and Needs ID ones, by checking the Data Quality boxes.


Keep in mind that observations which are obscured, or observations with large accuracy circles, may not appear in your project. See an explanation here. If you want to track observations in a very small place, like a yard or garden, it's probably best to use a Traditional Project.


Collecting Observations for a group or class


It's possible to make a Collection roject that only includes observations made by a specific group of users.


There are two ways to restrict observations in a Collection project to a set of users - please only choose one of these methods.


  1. Under Include Users, search for usernames of the accounts whose observations you want to include in the project, and select them. They'll be listed under the search field, like example_user is here.


    Once one user is selected, the project will only include observations made by the users shown under Include Users. Users listed here do not have to be members of the project in order to be included in the project. If you don't want to restrict your project observaitons to specific users at all, just leave this area blank. This method is best for projects that have a limited number of members, and for project owners who want complete control over whose observations appear in the project.

  2. Check the Project Members Only box.


    If this box is checked, the project will only include observations made by accounts that have joined the project. If your project will likely include a lot of users then we recommend this method, so you don't have to manually enter and manage a list of users whose observations should appear in the project. Just ask prospective members join it via the website or app. However, this also means that users whose observations you might not want in the project can join it. To remove those users' observations from the project, use the Exclusion Filters:


Again, please choose only one of these methods. If you have users listed under Include Users and check the Project Members Only box, the project will only use the Include Users list and disregard the Project Members Only box..


Once you've restricted the project's observations to certain accounts, you can also add more filteres and requirements, such as date ranges, taxa, places, etc.


If you're a teacher: before using iNautralist with students, please read the Teacher's Guide, become familiar with iNaturalist, and decide if you really want to manage your students on iNaturalist. The vast majority of bad data and offensive content on iNaturalist comes from students being assigned to use iNaturalist.

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