What is happening? iRecord and iNaturalist .... or iSpot?

Having been encouraged to use iRecord many many years ago it now gives some important information about the NBN data collection software: CLICK → irecord.org.uk/linking-inaturalist
There appears to be a deprecation of iSpot. Which is a pity, as it is the most user friendly of the current packages (we don’t mention Recorder 6! :scream: )

Does anyone else have a view on the best online wildlife recording package to use now?
Can we ‘trust’ iSpot to stay actively involved with the recording community in the medium term future?

Concerned of Brighton and HoveEco21st.com


I see no mention of iSpot there - where do you see the deprecation>

It is rather unfortunate that iRecord asked ispot not to submit observations there because there were too many of them and then some time later encoraged iNat to submit records there even though iNat has lots more records which all seemed rather odd. I think iSpot will send in records to iRecord in some batches as we need to check the accuracy of iSpot records - we did this many years ago and the accuracy was very high but need to check again.

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Coming back to the original question, I think that eBird is the best app for recording bird sightings. But I use iRecord for everything else. If iSpot were to start automatically putting records onto IRecord, I would have a lot of duplicates as I usually check sightings on iSpot before I put them on iRecord unless I’m very confident of my ID.
One of the problems with uploading all iNaturalist RG sightings to iRecord is that the reviewers for most taxa are way behind (sometimes years) if they are active at all.
I sometimes use the AI on iNaturalist but often find it extremely vague.

Wondering where you have been recording your finds until now.
I have used quite a number of sites to share my observations and was invited to join iSpot (southern African community) in 2012. It works for me, while a lot of the other sites have fallen by the way, changed their rules and/or restricted numbers.
Best thing about iSpot is that it’s a friendly community.
AND lots more …-
Try it and see for yourself - please don’t dump images and move on expecting someone to do the work for you - it’s fun to try to find out more about your observation and rewarding to see how much one can learn.
I still have some when I can only comment ‘ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA’
But the iSpot community are not judgemental.
Hoping to see some of yours soon. I must check to see if I’ve missed any.


four likes is rare here and well deserved!

Ha… :smiley: Just replied to all the comments above as e-mails!

Comment on please don’t dump images ??? Not sure what this refer to.

If you click on marlandza above the quote, you will see (be taken to) the whole quote.
She means (please) don’t just upload images without comment or description

No organisation can guarantee your records will be safe in perpetuity. Any organisation can lose its funding. Biological records have a high status now but it wasn’t always the case and things could swing the wrong way again. Given that iRecord is run by the national Biological Records Centre, I think it is the best place to lodge your sightings. I’m not sure if it routinely shares its data with the NBN. Having the data in both places reduces the risk of total loss.

I expect that if data go from iSpot to iRecord, they will be transferred to iRecord’s dataset rather than just a link to iSpot’s dataset. So once that transfer has happened, data wouldn’t be lost if iSpot was to disappear.

That’s great, thanks John. It has been interesting looking at the responses so far.

My conclusion is ‘Belt And Braces’ for records you don’t want to see disappearing.

Perhaps the elves at iSpot can help to ensure the data transfer to NBN is happening fully? Reviewing safe arrival of a sample dataset to ensure 100% replication may be reassuring to us humble naturalists. John [eco21st.com]

Ah. ‘please don’t just upload images without comment or description’. Surely the images will just be ignored if there is inadequate additional information. Someone posted a photo of a glass jar with a fuzzy insect larvae inside it last year… :face_with_hand_over_mouth: shouldn’t laugh really :joy:

Yes, there are many thousands of those in iSpot. VERY firm, but maybe unpopular, Curation is required. Remember this is low level citizen science. I suspect quite a few observations are made by ‘children’ or by people with NO idea of how to observe and by registered users who NEVER return to look at results.
Would you like me to list a few hundred?

On the point of

Errors of Identification occur here. Even with the ‘Likely Banner’ and agreements, we sometimes get it wrong. There seems not to be a mechanism to confirm the ID.
Of interest, when researching Global occurrence or presence using GBIF, I often EXCLUDE records added via iNaturalist (with a tick). They are commonly unreliable.

iNaturalists marks something as ‘research grade’ when it has three agreements. But there’s no telling how experienced the people who make the observations may be.

Yes bad enough. But iSpot (usually) gets the Likely Banner confirmation before there are any agreements
There are thousands of incorrect IDs here with the Likely Banner, plenty of them have agreements, a few from badged experts

… and some where the badged expert’s ID isn’t given the ‘likely’ banner because the original obs. was made by a 5-star general. Is there a case for making ‘experts’ 6-stars?

I started on iNaturalist but had two mayfly larvae misidentified (genus extinct for almost 100 years but common in America) so didn’t feel safe with their identifications and Craig Macadam advised changing to iRecord. Very happy with iRecord for some years but vast majority of my fungi records were ignored and they didn’t “do” birds, so changed to iSpot. This site has a similar group of erudite experts but the comments section offers an absolute mine of information, exchange of insightful views and discussion thus creating an interesting and supportive community which I value. Isn’t “best” what we want from a site and what suits our individual needs most?

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Glad to see you posting @jonono. I must admit never to having used either iNaturalist or iRecord, but have looked at both sites. Neither seem to be very keen on fun and enjoying the whole idea of finding, identifying things you can see and find.

iSpot is nevertheless a record of observations, and I know that some of them are picked up and end up in the NBN. The comments sections are often full of entertainment.

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To be fair, I think that iRecord has a different function. It is essentially a filter to make sure that observations are vetted by an acknowledged expert before they are put on the national database (whichever that is!). But as @jonono (Joyce) says, there are some taxa such as spiders, birds, fungi, plants that don’t ever seem to be reviewed (for Surrey, at least). I think that there are at least two issues : a) the difficulty in finding enough experts to verify the records and b) the fact that some experts don’t like iRecord and won’t have anything to do with it. Birds are a bit of a special case as the British Trust for Ornithology have a well-run and long-standing system for garnering and archiving huge numbers of bird records.

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Yes, and the same applies to plants and fungi. The BSBI and the BMS run their own systems of collecting, verifying and storing records which are largely independent of CEH (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, which runs the national Biological Records Centre including iRecord) so there is no great onus on them to do verification for iRecord. The situation probably isn’t helped by iRecord’s reluctance to allow downloads of data.

I’m surprised to read that. I had no prob. downloading data - although admittedly, I was only downloading my own records. I don’t have any ‘status’ within iRecord. It’s one of the things I like about iRecord. It’s a handy place to store all my records of hoverflies, ladybirds or whatever - but not moths or birds, for which I use my own spreadsheet and eBird respectively.