Workflows for bulk(ier) uploads?

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Jennifer Drummond

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Oct 2, 2016, 9:54:26 AM10/2/16
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Hi, everyone! First post to the Google Group. I've lurked for a little bit, and searched the archives to see if this has been discussed before, and not come up with anything. I apologize if I'm bringing up something that's already been discussed extensively in some other context.

First of all, I've only been doing iNat for a few weeks, but I'm really impressed with the software end of things so far. Clearly there have been bugs and glitches over time, but it looks like they generally get worked out, because it's been smooth as silk for me (iPhone and Windows/Firefox).

Now for the request. I'm interested in helping other local people who are way better naturalists than I am (so far) to get their many, many observations uploaded with as much useful and timely info as possible, as efficiently as possible. Since the uploader will already read captions into the description field, are there any plans to allow reading of EXIF for other crucial basic information such as taxon name?

I can imagine an "iNat" namespace that would allow advanced users to edit photos with an EXIF editor (which they may already be doing to add comments or after-the-fact geotagging), and insert their putative taxon name and tags for reading during upload. This would bypass the enormous utility of the taxon autocomplete, of course, but in general we would be talking about advanced users coming in from, say, a bioblitz, with their hundredth observation of a given species, as opposed to people who are still guessing. You might end up with a few unrecognized placeholder names due to typos or temporary brain cramps, but the sorts of high-volume, high-quality users I'm thinking about would go in and fix those afterwards. If data consistency were a concern, you could even strip the iNat EXIF tag upon ingesting the photo, so that anyone downloading it a year later wouldn't get a piece of metadata that's nonstandard and may by that time have been superseded by ID changes.

The only other way I can see to do a truly efficient upload of, say, a hundred observations is with the CSV upload. But, crucially, that doesn't take photos. It seems like you get one or the other -- you either get to submit a photo, or a taxon name. If you want to do both at once, you're stuck with one-by-one uploads. And bulk editing post-upload through the web is a bit clunky, compared to what one can do with a desktop app or a batch script.

I want to stress that I have no quarrel with the existing web interface, as far as it goes -- like I said, it's been rock-solid for me, and does exactly what I need it to do. But as a big-data scientist (my iNaturalist ID is "jennformatics") and former web developer, as soon as I have to do something more than four or five times in a row, I start looking for an API!

So, am I nuts? Am I missing something? Thanks!

-- Jenn Drummond // Houston, TX, USA

megatherium

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Oct 2, 2016, 3:36:05 PM10/2/16
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Hi, welcome! 

I think the default uploader already does the taxon naming that you want-- I use desktop exclusively and it automatically adds date, time, species name, tags, and geolocation, if available.  I first import all my photos into Picasa/Lightroom, where I add tags including species name, which the program adds to the EXIF. When those files are dragged into the uploader it checks through the tags and if something matches a taxon it auto fills that for the name.  So a photo I have tagged "Hyde Park, eastern grey squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, feeding, acorn" or whatever, it takes the first tag recognizable as a species name and uses that. 

Does that cover what you were looking for?

sk

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Tony Iwane

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Oct 3, 2016, 12:37:29 AM10/3/16
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Same with Sea Kangaroo, I add taxa names, among other tags, as keywords in Lightroom, as well as geotagging photos. When I upload them, iNat is quite good at finding the species name, date, time, and location data.

What program are you using for working with the your photos? And are you sure you're exporting metadata when you export your photos? That's gotten me before...

Jennifer Drummond

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Oct 12, 2016, 2:17:50 PM10/12/16
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That's fantastic; I had no idea! That's what I get for thinking about it too hard -- I didn't put taxa in the keywords, because I "knew" there was a "better" place for them. I've just started using Lightroom (yay Creative Suite subscription), so doing the tagging isn't a problem at all.

However, it seems to leave the taxon keyword in both as a tag and as part of the description. If I don't want redundant information everywhere, I have to go in to each observation, delete a tag, and edit the description. See screenshot below, if you don't want to have to go make your own test case. How do y'all get around that?

I'm a big fan of the clean and simple upload interface, but maybe a link to a help page specifically for uploading wouldn't go amiss. Sophisticated keyword and tag handling is a fantastic feature, and shouldn't be kept a secret! :D  Or maybe I'm missing something in the FAQs and help.

(Also I'm sorry not to have responded sooner -- I thought I had email updates turned on, but apparently didn't.)


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Tony Iwane

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Oct 13, 2016, 1:17:10 PM10/13/16
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Glad it's working for you, Jennifer!

Personally I've never had my keywords show up in the description when uploading to iNat. Can you take a screenshot of what your keywording looks like in Lightroom?



On Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 6:54:26 AM UTC-7, Jennifer Drummond wrote:

Mark Rosenstein

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Oct 17, 2016, 11:39:12 PM10/17/16
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I use a similar workflow.  I just tried to attach screenshots to this, but Google won't allow it.  So I'll describe the process.

In Lightroom I add keyword tags to each photo in Library mode with Command-K.  The keywordsd include the scientific name, common name, location, and a few other things I like to track. 

I also set the GPS coordinates.  With my previous camera, I did that by hand with the Map settings in Lightroom.  My current camera has built-in GPS and automatically adds this to each photo as it is taken.

When I export the photos as JPGs to use in iNat, Metadata is set to "Include all Metadata".

Then to add them to iNat, select "Import Observations", but don't use that screen.  Click "From Photos" in the upper right, and on that screen drag the JPGs in.

-Mark

Jennifer Drummond

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Oct 19, 2016, 9:55:50 AM10/19/16
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So you just leave the scientific and common names and locations in iNat as keywords, even though they're redundant once the upload is done? Not attacking the practice, just asking what the implications are and whether it bothers anybody in other contexts. If not, then that would be my workflow exactly!

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Tony Iwane

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Oct 19, 2016, 10:27:44 AM10/19/16
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Tags are pretty benign things, there's no reason to delete them, IMO. They can aid in search. 

Here's the iNat FAQ answer about tags: http://www.inaturalist.org/pages/help#observations6



On Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 6:54:26 AM UTC-7, Jennifer Drummond wrote:

Jennifer Drummond

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Oct 19, 2016, 11:19:19 AM10/19/16
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Okay, thanks. I'll work on getting over my fussy data-hygeine instincts. :)

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