Why did I post such a poor out-of focus picture?

Those who view my observations will sometimes find one with an image that is incredibly poor. This can be disconcerting, especially for those who wish to use their identification skills to help me out. Here is how I decide to post them.

I always use the best image I have of an organism for the observation. You can depend on that being the very best image that i could capture that day of that species in that area.

If I have seen the organism before in that habitat, I hold myself to a higher quality of image. I should feel that there is a reasonable chance of identifying the organism using characteristics visible to an observer in the image.

The really really bad images are of organisms novel to me where those are the only image(s) I have of them.

Now the why :)

Organism identification methods make assumptions over the access that the identifier has to the organism. For some groups of organisms, identifying from a photograph can be near impossible using current keys. For others, careful photography can reveal the field marks needed for a secure identification.

An observer who has clocked many hours of experience with a specific organism can recognize a species or subspecies instantly while many of us are still struggling to decide where to start.

iNaturalist has added a third type of identification - computer vision - specifically Fine-Grained Visual Categorization (FGVC). And this is the real reason I add these poor photos.

To be useful to this identification, the image does not have to be in focus but it does have to be exclusively of the organism. If there are enough observations of the organism that have been identified by human observers, an algorithm can identify this type of poor image.

Right now, we aren't there yet for most organisms. As the database grows and the number of research observations increase, this type of identification will become more and more useful.

While I am waiting for that to happen, sometimes I get lucky and even the crappiest photo gets an id from an experienced observer. (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/14361398) In any case, I have a reminder to watch out for a better photograph the next time I see that particular elusive subject. :)

Publicado por marykrieger marykrieger, 28 de agosto de 2018


Fotos / Sonidos



Caballitos del Diablo Suborden Zygoptera




Julio 2, 2018 03:06 PM CDT


Grassy edge of flooded forest



In the case of damselflies, there's a group of species among our most common genus, Enallagma which can't be separated from typical photographs, even great photos. If one can get a very closeup shot of the cerci of the males it is possible, otherwise they have to be caught and examined with a hand lens. Females require a microscope. Submitting poor pictures of these things is a waste of your time and doesn't contribute to science.

Publicado por fishbio49 hace más de 2 años (Marca)

That's a reasonable explanation for posting photos that may be hard to recognize or Identify. Often one poor shot is all we get. It's a bit easier in the province we live in - in midwinter there are only so many options, so the possibilities are narrowed down. Often it's a classic case of proof for others. You know it's the correct ID because you hear the sounds, see the behaviours &etc but I might not. I find it frustrating too, because there are lots of days when I hear multiple birds in the winter, but cannot post those data because I don't have a picture (or a recorder). In many ways, it does not give the full richness of our winter environment.
Come spring/summer, all bets are off the table!

Publicado por mamestraconfigurata hace casi 2 años (Marca)

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