How to use iNaturalist for NYMS
Joining and using iNaturalist for your own and the club’s benefit is easy. iNat can be used on your phone or on your computer. Both methods have pros and cons and many members find themselves using a combination of both.
Step 1: Sign up for iNaturalist
Either download the iNaturalist app and create a user id and password on the app, or Sign up via their regular website https://www.inaturalist.org/signup.
Step 2: Join the club’s projects
NYMS has two projects on iNat:
- Fungi of NYC – New York Mycological Society
- Fungi beyond NYC – New York Mycological Society
Once you’re registered and logged in on iNat would be great if you could join these projects. This will allow you to add your finds to our collective database that helps us track what members find on – and off – our walks.
Joining a project on the app (iPhone)
Click on ‘More’ at the bottom right hand corner of the screen, then click on ‘Projects’ on the next screen, then search for our projects (see above). Click ‘Join Project’.
Joining a project from a regular computer
From the main page navigate to Projects, which is under the Community tab
Search for and click on one of the above projects. Then click on ‘Join this project’. You are now a project member.
Step 3: Documenting a find
Via the iNaturalist app
Best for documenting finds right there in front of you. If you’d rather upload your finds later (or manipulate your images before uploading) you can do that with the app too or on a regular computer.
- Find a mushroom
- Open the app
- Click on ‘Observe’ – the camera icon
- Take a picture with the green button
- Take another picture (eg of the underside or back) by clicking on the plus sign
- Look at the species that the algorithm suggests under the “What did you see?” field. If nothing looks right, type in the name of the species that you think you’ve found. If you’re not sure what it is, type in something more general like ‘fungi’ or ‘polypore’ and choose the option that pops up. The location data will be added automatically.
- Then click on ‘projects’ (towards the bottom, just above the green Share button).
- Slide the slider next to the project you want to add to to the right
- Share your find with the green ‘share’ button
Documenting your finds at home via the app
This is the best option if you like the easy interface of the app but don’t want to burn bandwith by uploading a lot of pictures in the field, or if you prefer to upload observations later, not while collecting. It also allows you to crop or otherwise edit your images before uploading.
Take pictures of the fungi you find with your phone’s camera. Once at home open the app, click ‘Observe’ but instead of taking a picture with the green button click on the picture icon on the bottom right and import one picture after another from your phone’s camera roll.
Documenting your finds at home via a desktop computer
Log into iNaturalist.com
- Click on the green Upload button on the top right
- Drag and drop or choose a picture of a mushroom that you want to upload
- Add another picture via the Add button on the top left.
- Click on ‘Select All’ then ‘Combine’ to combine both images into a single observation.
- Click into the field next to the loupe icon to see what species the algorithm suggests. If nothing looks right, write in what you think it is, or write something general like ‘fungi’ and choose it when it pops up.
- Submit your observation by clicking on the green submit button at the top right.
Tapping into the power of iNat
- iNat lets you keep track of your finds, so it’s easier to memorize what you saw and what it looked like.
- It will help you re-find interesting places where you collected interesting (or tasty) fungi in the past.
- When you click on the name of a mushroom it will show you a map of its distribution, the time of year it’s found, how often it’s been found and images from other people’s finds.
- If you put a name on something you find, people can either confirm it and make it ‘Research Grade’ or they can provide a different or more specific name and improve the quality of your entry. A great feature for entries where you are not sure what you’ve found.
- You can search specific areas for specific fungi, by writing in a name (eg ‘morchella’) into the Explore box and it will show you all morels in the area of your search sorted by recency.
- You can follow other users – or a location, or a species. They’ll show up in your home page if you access iNat via desktop (not the app).
- Visiting the club’s project pages you can see what has been found most recently, or most frequently.