(WILDLIFE CONSERVATION) While most people use GoogleMaps for finding their friends house or looking at prospective property, iNaturalist.org has found an innovative way to use the device to observe the wild. iNaturalist lets you discover new species and record them, creating a tracking guide for all living creatures. Not only is it a fun way of trotting the globe, the website also lets you to contribute to conservation efforts globally with just a few clicks. Read on to learn more iNaturalist and their initiative. — Global Animal

Spectacled Owl found using INaturalist.Org Photo Credit:Chris, some rights reserved (CC BY)
A spectacled owl found using INaturalist.Org. Photo Credit: Chris (CC BY)

is a place where you can record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers, and learn about the natural world.

From hikers to hunters, birders to beach-combers, the world is filled with naturalists, and many of us record what we find. What if all those observations could be shared online? You might discover someone who finds beautiful wildflowers at your favorite birding spot, or learn about the birds you see on the way to work. If enough people recorded their observations, it would be like a living record of life on Earth that scientists and land managers could use to monitor changes in biodiversity, and that anyone could use to learn more about nature.

That’s the vision behind iNaturalist.org. So if you like recording your findings from the outdoors, or if you just like learning about life, join us!

A little history

iNaturalist.org began as the Master’s final project of Nate Agrin, Jessica Kline, and Ken-ichi Ueda at UC Berkeley’s School of Information in 2008. Nate and Ken-ichi continued working on the site, along with Sean McGregor. Ken-ichi began collaborating with Scott Loarie in 2011, when they organized as iNaturalist, LLC and began expanding the site through numerous collaborations. Scott and Ken-ichi currently maintain the site as co-directors.

A whole lot of thanks

We wouldn’t be able to make iNaturalist without many, many wonderful open source projects, open datasets, and public APIs, including (in no particular order): Catalogue of Life, uBio, Ruby on Rails, jQuery, Google Maps, Mark James’ Silk Icons, and many more we’re probably forgetting. We’ve also been helped by many people along the way, including Coye Cheshire, Andrew McDiarmid, and, of course, all our awesome users!

Watch the iNaturalist video below.

More iNaturalist: http://www.inaturalist.org/taxa

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