On October 15, Greenapps&Web made a review of the web app and mobile app iNaturalist, designed to collect information on biodiversity through citizen science. The article generated several comments on the basis of which various corrections were made. However and since there were still some doubtful features, Greenapps&Web contacted CREAF. This public research center in terrestrial ecology and analysis of the territory located in the Autonomous University of Barcelona manages iNaturalist jointly with the GBIF-Spain (National Node of Global Biodiversity Information Facility sponsored by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, managed by Spanish National Research Council) in the said country.

This article, which aims to correct some errors of the original review, is the result of a conversation held on October 26th with Bernat Claramunt, a researcher in this center, to whom Greenapps & Web appreciates his cooperation. The gratitude is also extended to Francisco Pando, of GBIF Spain, which has had the courtesy to review the initial draft of this publication.

First, it’s necessary to specify that the forms created and assigned to a specific project can be customized by adding the fields that may be required. This work must be done through the web application since the mobile devices only allow data entry and display of some elements. Users who subscribe to these groups can synchronize these specific forms in their mobile app. This correction cancels therefore the assertion that there are differences between the data sheets in the web app and the mobile app.

Regarding the quality of data and its possible use for scientific study, Claramunt emphasised the important work carried out by the “curators”. In this regard, also he noted that when there is controversy in the identification of a species, if ⅔ parts of the people who comment a sighting are inclined towards one possibility, the system modifies the sighting regardless of the name under which it was updated to the system. The iNaturalist observer, however, can cancel this possibility in the profile. Only the sightings discussed and agreed are added to the GBIF databases, that are recommended for scientific use.

Claramunt also confirmed the opinion expressed in the original article regarding the chaos in the projects. This is because there are numerous initiatives or tests abandoned. The projects are really a way of grouping data and their aim is not so much to be found and to add volunteers like serving as an “umbrella” for a group of people who come together from the beginning to carry out a concrete initiative.

Image: Christo de Klerk CC BY-NC 2.0


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Técnico de medio ambiente, community manager y content curator especializada en temas de medioambiente - Environmental technician, community manager and content curator specialised in environmental issues