Tips for using the iNaturalist phone app while in the White Mountains

You may just wish to save your photo observations until after the workshop, and then upload them via the web uploader at at your convenience. I use the web uploader 99%+ of the time -- much easier and more functional for me.

You are also encouraged to use the phone app during the workshop if you wish. For best results, I recommend the following:

1. If you have a strong cell signal or wi-fi connection, then go for it, and ignore the rest of these suggestions! Once you leave the bottom of Owens Valley, however, you will likely have neither of these (except possibly slow wi-fi at night at the Research Station).

2. Go into the app settings, and set Auto Sync to OFF. That way your phone won't waste battery and resources trying to upload without a signal, or end up with broken observations due to signal interruptions. There is a button to manually upload your accumulated observations whenever you have a reliable signal, and have finished adding IDs or other information to them.

3. Put your phone in Airplane Mode. This will again keep your battery from draining while trying to find a non-existent cell signal.

4. If possible, run a GPS app of some kind in the background. I use "GPS Status" but there are many others you can download for free. Or you can run something like Google Maps, though the battery drain might go up a bit (make sure it doesn't try to take you out of Airplane Mode though!). PURPOSE: any of these will help keep your phone's GPS actively obtaining satellite fixes, so that every picture you take has a good accurate location embedded in it.

5. If super-accurate locations are a concern at any time, note that you can manually "obscure" any or all of your observations. You will still see the true coordinates, but all other users will see a random point within a large rectangle about 22km x 22km. Or you can make location completely private, and no location of any kind will be visible to other users. For the scientific value of the observations, I recommend not obscuring locations unless necessary for your own privacy, or for the privacy of the organism you observed!

6. Got a great signal, ready to upload accumulated observations again? Just tap the manual Sync Observations button. No need to go back and change your app settings. In fact I recommend just leaving Auto Sync off permanently, so that you always have control over when things upload.

Posted by jdmore jdmore, July 10, 2019 20:28


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