iNaturalist is a global online system for collecting wildlife observations. It uses a crowd-sourcing approach to provide help with species identification, and can also suggest identifications on the basis of image-recognition from photos. Use of iNaturalist in the UK has been growing, and in April 2021 a UK portal for iNaturalist was launched:
The NBN Trust is working with BRC and the Marine Biological Association to steer this project and make the records available more widely. As part of this we are reviewing the options for importing iNaturalist records into iRecord so that they can be verified and made accessible to national recording schemes, county recorders and local environmental records centres, and on to the NBN Atlas.
In 2018 and 2019 we carried out initial trials of a process of bringing iNaturalist records into iRecord. Feedback was mixed, and highlighted a number of issues, with requests for better two-way communication between the two systems, and a clearer understanding of how the different approaches taken by the two systems can be integrated. As a result we switched off the import at the end of 2019, and said that we would review this when opportunities arose to make progress and improve the links.
The new UK implementation of iNaturalist provides such an opportunity for further development in this area, and we are now working towards re-starting the iNaturalist import to iRecord later in 2021. Watch this space for further news of how this will work and when we can start the import process running.
Further information on the project as a whole is available on the NBN iNaturalistUK page.