We’ve passed 100,000,000 verifiable observations on iNaturalist!

If you made 1,000 observations a day, every day, it would take you 274 years to generate 100 million observations. This milestone shows what people can do by working together. The iNaturalist dataset is something we’ve all made together, but it’s larger than any one of us. We hope everyone is as proud of this accomplishment as we are. Together, the iNaturalist community has created a unique window into life on Earth and hundreds of thousands of species with whom we share the planet. Thank you!

We know that even more potential for iNaturalist lies ahead. To fulfill our mission of connecting people to nature and advancing science and conservation, we’re working on a strategy to reach 100 million naturalists by 2030. This requires investing in technology improvements, so we’re now searching for two new software engineers to join the iNat team. Please spread the word to help us find great candidates.

100M observations across time

The graph below is a slightly different perspective of how these 100M observations have accumulated over time. The spiral begins in early 2015 when we reached our first million. Each band on the spiral represents another 1M observations (here's links to earlier posts about the 5M, 6M, 25M and 50M milestones). Each revolution represents a year. You can see the major patterns in the graph: the number of observations growing over time and the bands becoming closer together, the seasonal cycle where the spiral is thinner in the northern hemisphere winter, and the City Nature Challenge annual bioblitz bulge in April.

100M observations across species

Just as these observations aren’t evenly distributed across time, they are not evenly distributed across species. If we sort observations by species in descending order, we can count how many species it takes to cross 1M observations. A group with the top 5 most observed species cross the 1M threshold alone (Group 1), as does a group with the next 8 species (Group 2).

The graph below continues descending with groups of species needed to cross 1M observations through all 372,327 species. In other words, each colored square represents a group species and ~1M observations. Species number 372,327 is reached in the 75th group and the remaining ~25M observations are identified at coarser ranks than species (genus etc.).

Note that with each descending group more and more species are needed to cross 1M observations. For example, group 50 consists of 378 species each represented by 724 to 836 observations. Group 72 consists of 10,854 species represented by 77 to 111 observations. Because our computer vision model includes species for which we have around 100 observations, this is the point where species become too rare to be included in the model yet. The last group consists of 65% (243,544) of all the species observed on iNaturalist, each represented by only a few (1-15) observations. In other words, the top 5 species on iNaturalist have about as many observations as the bottom 243,544 species.

100M observations across space

These observations are also not distributed evenly in space. In some places, such as the area around Austin, Texas, the density of observations is high with about 88 observations per square kilometer. This means that a 60 km radius circle with an area of 11,310 km2 contains 1M observations.

In other parts of the world, the density is much lower, meaning that circles encompassing 1M observations are much larger. The map shows 100 example circles each of which contains 1M observations. All together, these circles encompass 100M observations. Many circles across much of North America, Europe, and places like Taiwan and Cape Town are small, reflecting high densities like those found near Austin, Texas. But in other places like west Africa, western Australia, and eastern Russia the circles are very large, reflecting the low density of observations (as low as 0.02 observations per km2 in eastern Russia). Note: The circles aren’t projected perfectly in the figure so they might not exactly encompass 1M observations as drawn.

While every observation on iNaturalist represents a meaningful contribution, these seasons, species, and parts of the world with underrepresented numbers of observations are opportunities for the iNaturalist community to make outsized contributions towards bringing the natural world into focus through the iNaturalist dataset.

If you’re inspired to donate in celebration of the 100 million observation milestone, you can donate in dozens of currencies to support iNaturalist. iNaturalist is a not-for-profit joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, and all donations are received by the California Academy of Sciences (Tax ID: 94-1156258).

Donate to iNaturalist

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this milestone! We look forward to the next 100 million observations.

Publicado el 27 de mayo de 2022 a las 10:27 PM por loarie loarie


Here’s to the next 100 million!

Anotado por kemper hace cerca de 2 años

Amazing what this community of naturalists can do. Such a good community to be a part of. As @kemper said, here's to 200 million, and beyond! :)

Anotado por pinefrog hace cerca de 2 años

This is awesome! Great graphics too. It is amazing just how much iNaturalist has grown. I look forward to seeing where iNaturalist grows from here.

Anotado por nathantaylor hace cerca de 2 años

but who has the link to the 100,000,000 observation??? I want to know which it was

Anotado por sunguramy hace cerca de 2 años

Not sure if this technically qualifies as the 100 millionth observation, but here is the observation with the number 100,000,000: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/100000000

Anotado por nathantaylor hace cerca de 2 años

Hmm that was posted Nov 2021 so I don't think it was that one, I thought we were close more recently; I figured it would be from this week?

Anotado por sunguramy hace cerca de 2 años


Anotado por roysh hace cerca de 2 años

Yeah, the 100,000,000th verifiable observation was added sometime on the 23rd of May, 2022, but there are 135,697 observations posted on that day. I'm not really sure how one would sort through them to find the exact observation. :-)
The observation number for the URL includes non-verifiable observations and, presumably, observations that have been deleted.

Anotado por nathantaylor hace cerca de 2 años

Next we would like to see a Southern hemisphere bulge on that spiral graphic for the Great Southern Bioblitz in September / October!

Anotado por dianastuder hace cerca de 2 años

Well done, everyone!

Anotado por vandalsen hace cerca de 2 años

What are the main factors of getting the current speed? Is it the last (2021) CNC that gave that big push? Because if it stays that way we will be celebrating not the next 100m, but a billion, very soon.

Anotado por marina_gorbunova hace cerca de 2 años

Amazing! Been waiting for this and will be waiting for 200 million!

Anotado por yayemaster hace cerca de 2 años

Yippee, factor of 10! ;) Really exciting to see the exponential growth of iNaturalist -- I especially like when I'm in public wearing one of the iNat shirts (https://inaturalist.threadless.com/), and folks say "Oh! I love iNaturalist." Me too, neighbor. Me too. :)

Anotado por sambiology hace cerca de 2 años

Let's hope the servers can keep up! Identifiers too

Anotado por frontyardscientist hace cerca de 2 años

Amazing! And awesome data visualizations too. :)

Anotado por catullus hace cerca de 2 años

Awesome! Here's to many millions more!

Anotado por salmonadder hace cerca de 2 años

At what stage will iNaturalist become so big that we need to join Google Earth or NASA to keep it functioning?

Anotado por tonyrebelo hace cerca de 2 años

I hope we never have to join Google for any reason truth be told..

Anotado por kemper hace cerca de 2 años

Felicidades amigos!!!!
Lets hope there will be 100's of millones more and this will lead to take action to preserve our natural world and its amazing biodiversity!
Looks like we need to improve participation on some areas, for us in mexico, looks like northwest and southeast could do a little better!!!
Is there something similar to the circles but with species?
Again: Felicidades to the whole commuity!

Anotado por aztekium hace cerca de 2 años

This is incredible, Congratulations to the Inaturalist team, and all the observers and identifiers. And of course all the supporters.

Anotado por ram_k hace cerca de 2 años

Thanks for this amazing tool!!! You are the best!!!

Anotado por gustavo_de_jesus hace cerca de 2 años

Outstanding!! A huge thanks goes to the iNat staff that built us this wonderful tool, and keep upgrading it so our community can keep getting bigger. You rock!

Anotado por jon_sullivan hace cerca de 2 años

We will take part of this!

Anotado por alejandroro hace cerca de 2 años

Please, upload this in instagram and facebook!

Anotado por alejandroro hace cerca de 2 años

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