One of the first things I wanted to do when I began using iNat was to find out what species had been seen in various conservation areas I wanted to visit. I used the Explore page and searched for Onkaparinga River National Park, which returned an over-sized rectangular Bounding Box around the park that also included observations from lots of other areas I wasn’t interested in. I tried the same for Scott Creek Conservation Park and it returned a Bounding Box far smaller than the park. This wasn’t quite what I was after.
iNaturalist has some built-in locations that can be searched. These are “Standard Places”. For example, enter “South Australia” into the search location box and you can select that standard location from the down-down list. However, many local places are not listed at all. This is where the “Community Curated Places” come in. Any user (with at least 50 observations) can create their own place, with any boundary that they choose, and save it to the iNat database of places. These places can then be used by any iNat user through the search filters, or the place can be added to a Project. To search or add Places, click the “More” drop down menu in the iNat page header and select “Places”. (https://www.inaturalist.org/places).
How to Search Community Curated Places
The Community Curated Places don’t appear when typing the place name into the location box on the “Explore” page. This appears to be restricted to the Standard Places. To search for a community curated place, on the “Explore” page open the “Filters” box, click the “More Filters” button to expand the filtering options, then in “Place” type in the community curated place name and select it from the dropdown list.
After creating the necessary community curated places, I could now use the above search/filter method to return observations from much more accurate locations.
Which Species Have Been Seen?
Using the above search will return a full list of observations, in date order, from within that place. To see a summary list of which species have been observed, select the “Species” tab below the search boxes (shown below). This will return a grid list of the species observed in the place in order of frequency seen. Provided the place has a good number of observations, this can provide a guide as to what you are most likely to see when visiting the place.
If you have a particular interest area, further filters can be applied to narrow the search to particular taxa, i.e. Lepidoptera in Onkaparinga River National Park
Further the URLs can be manually modified to filter in increasingly complex ways. This URL shows only Pterostylis and Caladenia Orchid species recorded during Spring months in Onkaparinga River National Park and Scott Creek Conservation Park: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?month=9,10,11&place_id=137877,70310&taxon_ids=83401,140838&view=species
Currently Existing “Places” in SA
Finding that many interesting places in SA were not listed, I set about creating places I wanted to be able to search, and then creating places I wanted to visit, eventually putting many of them together in a single Umbrella Project covering the Protected Parks of South Australia. Each of the places in this project are now searchable using the above filtering methods. There are also a growing number of local marine and coastal places being added to the iNat places database and used in various projects. There are presently 554 places listed within South Australia.