01 de diciembre de 2021

Changes to which species are automatically obscured in Canada

On the iNaturalist Canada Portal, the iNaturalist Canada Steering Committee has announced a change to both how the list of automatically obscured species is generated in Canada and which species are listed. The changes will come into effect December 6, 2021.

The details of these changes are posted here: https://inaturalist.ca/pages/geoprivacy-canada

The list is available here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wq43zwZIzsNqEteZlVVvXOE2P8qTIY6EtMI9AUrG9FM/edit?usp=sharing

If you’d like to ensure you get future updates from iNaturalist Canada, you can set your iNaturalist affiliation to iNaturalist Canada by going to Profile -> Edit account settings and profile -> Account and then choose "iNaturalist.ca" from the dropdown menu.

Publicado el diciembre 1, 2021 12:10 MAÑANA por mikeburrell mikeburrell | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

25 de octubre de 2019

Making your observations more valuable for conservation - location uncertainty

We've been busy reviewing records in the project and have to say we're blown away by the number of people submitting so many observations that can be used to update the provincial record - thanks to all of you for your hard work!

For now, we wanted to share some tips for improving on two common issues we have encountered when reviewing records: location uncertainty.

Location uncertainty is really important because it tells us how accurate the reported location is. Most handheld GPS units (including phones) can record locations up to about 10 m accuracy. The more accurate the location, the better our ability to ensure the correct location is identified as being important to a species.

Issue 1: no location uncertainty reported

You can create a record in iNaturalist and record the location perfectly, but in some cases there will be no location uncertainty attached to it - just a location and coordinates. In these cases we don't know how accurate/inaccurate the reported location is which makes it hard to assess the record, and especially whether the location is important for conservation (e.g. is the species in suitable habitat or likely just passing through an area). Some times, phones can't get a GPS signal and use triangulation from cell towers to estimate a crude location (or just report the location of the nearest cell tower). The most common cause is taking a photo and then importing it into iNaturalist.

When you take a photo with a camera or phone that geotags the photo, it records the location, but not the location uncertainty. So whenever possible use the iNaturalist app to take the photo, or, bring the photo into iNaturalist right away, and then manually use the app to calculate the location (and location uncertainty). If you're someone who takes photos with a camera that geotags the images and then later imports them to iNaturalist, consider using the app in the field to create the record (without the photo) and then import the photos later when you're on a computer. Alternatively, review your records and manually add in the location uncertainty.

If you'd like to see your records in the NHIC Rare Species of Ontario project that are missing location uncertainty, use this url and replace "username" with your username. You can manually edit these records to add a location uncertainty value if you can estimate it on the computer map.


Issue 2: very low location uncertainty reported

Very low location uncertainty (depends on the species/location but generally anything over 1 km) records are difficult for us to use because they are hard to evaluate their importance for conservation and also because they may "swamp" records of higher precision.

In some records we've come across, the uncertainty distance is very large (kilometres or even tens/hundreds of kilometres). This could be the result of bad GPS signal or you genuinely don't know exactly where the record is from (common with older records). Sometimes this is done on purpose by a user who thinks they are protecting the location by reporting a made up location with a big uncertainty distance.

In the first case, if you can refine the location by looking at a map - great, please do so. Usually when we've asked people they are able to estimate the location when looking at maps (imagery and trail maps are very helpful for this!). Please don't guess at this though - the location uncertainty should reflect the area you are sure about.

In the latter case, there is actually a really great feature of iNaturalist that lets you obscure the location of a record, while still maintaining the exact location. This is called geoprivacy. When you set the geoprivacy of a record to anything other than the default (open), only you, people you trust, and curators of projects you have given permission to (like this project) can see the exact location; everyone else sees a randomized point somewhere within the same ~20x20 km square as the actual observations (for obscured records) or nothing at all (for private records). Please note that for most rare species in Ontario, the geoprivacy is already set for the species as a default.

We'd encourage everyone to review your records with low location uncertainty and edit them if you can. Here's a link you can use to search for your records with uncertainty greater than 500 m (be sure to replace "username" with your username).


Thanks everyone, keep those rare species reports coming!

The NHIC team

Publicado el octubre 25, 2019 03:39 TARDE por mikeburrell mikeburrell | 16 comentarios | Deja un comentario

22 de octubre de 2018

Entering plant records? please read this!

Two issues have come up in our review of vascular plant records in iNaturalist and with a small amount of extra effort for some observations you can help us better track the occurrence of rare species in Ontario.

Some plants (and other groups) are difficult or impossible to identify unless key identification features are clearly visible in the photo(s) provided. When documenting difficult to identify plants (e.g. many sedges, grasses, rushes, aquatics), please take multiple photos including photos of critical identification characters. Provide notes on identification features observed but not documented in the photos (e.g. fragrance). Include comments on how your identification was made (e.g. what features were used to distinguish the plant from similar species?).

NHIC only tracks presumed natural populations (i.e. not deliberately or accidentally introduced by humans) of species native to Ontario. Some records being submitted to the NHIC iNaturalist project are of cultivated plants. These should have the “Organism is not wild” box indicated as yes. Other observations are of naturalized individuals or populations well beyond the native range of the species; common species in this category include Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans), Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos), and Redbud (Cercis canadensis). More difficult are observations of species which may have escaped cultivation or been deliberately planted (e.g. in prairie restoration/revegetation projects) within or close to their native range.

To help tackle this second issue, we've created a new data field (Native_status?) to track that status - please fill this in if you know the status at this site. If you don't know the status, please leave the field blank or select "Unknown". Some other tips to help distinguish between native populations and naturalized populations (i.e. introduced to the area by humans or vehicles and spreading) it is very helpful if observers provide some habitat information. Was the observation along a road or railway? Was the plant occurring in a natural plant community away from human habitation and travel corridors with native associated species or was it growing in a disturbed situation with non-native or weedy associates? Comments such as these will greatly help us determine whether or not your observation came from a native population or if it arrived at the site through deliberate or inadvertent human transport.

Publicado el octubre 22, 2018 06:45 TARDE por mikeburrell mikeburrell | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de mayo de 2018

Species list updated

We have updated the species list for the project to incorporate changes to species' rankings over the last several months. This resulted in about 275 taxa added and 40 removed.

If your project settings for private/obscured location details are set to "Yes, no matter who adds the observation to the project." then any future records you enter will be added to the project automatically.

If you want to quickly check and add any records of the newly tracked species, just follow these steps:

  1. go to the project page
  2. scroll down and click the "add from your observations" button.
  3. At the top of the new screen, click the "batch edit" button, then click select "all", then click "add to project" and select the NHIC project. This will add all of the records that meet the NHIC project criteria. You may have to do a few batches depending on how many suitable records you have!

Thanks everyone for your help in tracking Ontario's rare species!

Publicado el mayo 2, 2018 04:45 TARDE por mikeburrell mikeburrell | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de mayo de 2017

Special note for those adding bird records

Bird records are treated differently than many other taxonomic groups at the NHIC because they often are observed at somewhat random locations away from breeding or concentration sites (i.e. at sites that are not important for the conservation of the species).

To help us document which records truly are the most important, please add a value for the field "Breeding Bird Evidence" to all bird records , even if it is "none". Without this field filled out, we cannot use the record in most cases.

In addition, if you are also entering your bird records to eBird, please try to indicate this in the submission to iNaturalist to help us sort out duplicates later on. One way to do this is to add the eBird checklist link using the "associated observation" data field.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us.

Publicado el mayo 1, 2017 05:57 TARDE por mikeburrell mikeburrell | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de abril de 2017

How to ensure all of your future observations are added to project

If you'd like to join the project and then sit back and let iNaturalist do its magic, please follow these steps. By doing so, all of your suitable observations will automatically be added to the project.

  1. On the project page, scroll down and click "your membership" (below members).
  2. On the new page that opens, under settings there is a question "Do you want to make your private/obscured observation coordinates visible to the project curators?" click the first option "Yes, no matter who adds the observation to the project."

That's it! From now on, whenever you enter a record that is a provincially tracked species to iNaturalist it will automatically be shared with the NHIC project!

Publicado el abril 7, 2017 05:29 TARDE por mikeburrell mikeburrell | 14 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de abril de 2017

What records are eligible and how can I quickly add them to the project?

This project is solely intended to collect records of provincially-tracked species. These are listed in the project species list. You must join the project before you can add records to it.

Please ensure you set your membership to allow project curators to view the private coordinates of your observations no matter who adds the observation to the project, so that when one of the project curators (or the system) adds your record, we can access the private coordinates. This is really important for us since we can't use obscured records for conservation and all of the species in our project will automatically have their coordinates obscured since they are provincially rare.

UPDATE 2020-October iNaturalist changed the way some of this works, so here's the updated way to add existing records to the project:

You can quickly add all of your eligible observations to the project by doing the following:

  1. Make sure you're signed in to iNaturalist.ca (if you prefer iNaturalist.org, then alter the url in step 2, below to use inaturalist.org).
  2. Use this url, replacing "username" with your iNaturalist username: https://inaturalist.ca/observations/username?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=&search_on=&quality_grade=any&reviewed=&geoprivacy=&identifications=any&captive=false&place_id=6883&swlat=&swlng=&nelat=&nelng=&taxon_name=&taxon_id=&day=&month=&year=&order_by=observations.id&order=desc&rank=&hrank=&lrank=&taxon_ids%5B%5D=&d1=&d2=&created_on=&site=&tdate=&list_id=&filters_open=true&view=table&has%5B%5D=geo&list_id=570739&not_in_project=nhic-rare-species-of-ontario
  3. At the top of the new screen, click the "batch edit" button, then click select "all", then click "add to project" and select the NHIC project. This will add all of the records that meet the NHIC project criteria. You may have to do a few batches depending on how many suitable records you have!

Here's the old way (in case it goes back):
You can quickly add all of your eligible observations to the project by doing the following:

  1. go to the project page
  2. scroll down and click the "add from your observations" button.
  3. At the top of the new screen, click the "batch edit" button, then click select "all", then click "add to project" and select the NHIC project. This will add all of the records that meet the NHIC project criteria. You may have to do a few batches depending on how many suitable records you have!
Publicado el abril 3, 2017 02:23 TARDE por mikeburrell mikeburrell | 9 comentarios | Deja un comentario