26. add metadata to an observation in an iNaturalist-controlled way rather than relying on the free-for-all that is observation fields

[code]annotations are key /
value pairs associated with observations, so kind of like observation
fields, but controlled, i.e. the site admins determine what kind of
annotations can get added to avoid the giant duplicative mess that
became of observation fields. A type of annotation, e.g. "Life Stage",
has a bunch of potential values, and types and values can be
associated with different taxa, so "Life Stage" is currently
associated with everything, "Life Stage = Adult" is only associated
with Animalia, and "Life Stage = Pupa" is only associated with
Arthropoda. Most annotations can only have one value per type per
observation, but some, like "Plant Phenology," can have multiple.
Currently we can't associate a type with more than one taxon, or
provide exceptions (e.g. "Plant Phenology = Flowering" for all plants
except bryophytes or something), but we're hoping to build tha

Actually to be honest I'm thinking of quitting again, since this really irritates me. There are so many very interesting pictures in iNaturalist and I can't even filter on plumage/ age/ sex/ observation method.
There are tags and fields, but there is no good way to filter on them or search on them.
And everybody is using new fields and new tags since they are extremely hard to find (even more difficult in the new observation screens).
You really can't expect me to make hundreds of separate observations because the system can't handle making a single simple observation: Mallerd: 3 pulli, one adult male, one male eclips, 3 adult female.


So in 2017, iNaturalist introduced annotations 4, which is a way to add metadata to an observation in an iNaturalist-controlled way rather than relying on the free-for-all that is observation fields. We wanted to start out with some basic ones, such as Sex and Life Stage, as well as Plant Phenology (which, I know, many botanists have argued should be Flowering Phenology) and there were many other requests 2, but the subject died down without anything else being added by iNat, aside from some taxonomic tweaks.

I’d like to revive that discussion here and see if we can add at least a few more annotations to iNaturalist and reduce some observation field confusion. So please reply with a request, if you have one. It would be best to define the annotation, possible values, and which taxa it would be applicable to.

Please keep the following in mind:

Annotations should be attributes that can be independently determined from an image or sound and are useful in the places where we use annotations, eg the taxon page charts and the taxon page photo browser.

We want to restrict annotations to qualitative values, so annotations with numerical values will not be added. Values should not be arbitrary, either.

These are not photo-level annotations, so the annotation should describe the observation as a whole.

In general I’d prefer that the annotation not be of very niche use but can be used for a good number of observations.

We can’t promise your suggestion will be added, especially until we implement a user interface that will not display15 annotations on an observation’s page all at once.

I’ve submitted a GitHub issue 1 to make observation field search results be ranked by the number of observations a field has been used with, to at least bring up the more often-used fields from a list of fields with duplicative functions. I’m hoping this will cause some to be more used than others.

I’ve also posted an Annotations topic 4 in General as a way to get some more standardized metadata fields available for certain taxa. I know this is something we dropped the ball on in 2017.

I’ll add your requests for better Obs Field search options to our team document for our planned upgrade of Search.




Anotado por ahospers ahospers, marzo 20, miércoles 13:09


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