iNaturalist database not up-to-date?

Hello everyone, I am working with the data about the Kingdom Animalia from iNaturalist. The website suggests to use GBIF for better data sub-setting and export. I notice that there is a vastly inconsistent number of occurrences between the two databases:

  • In iNaturalist, there are 30m+ occurrences that satisfy Research Grade quality
  • In GBIF - iNaturalist Research-grade Observations: there are 21m+ occurrences
    I double-checked the corresponding time frame where the dataset is collected, and still find the same inconsistency. Does anybody know why this happen? Any suggestion to correct for the inconsistency?
    Thanks in advance!
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According to the description of the iNaturalist dataset, observations in the GBIF archive must meet "the following requirements:

You can view observations meeting these requirements at

I’m guessing the inconsistency is due to licensing?


I just checked, and you are indeed correct!
I would assume then I cannot download the full occurrences dataset of all licensing types from GBIF then.
Thanks for your help!

Correct. GBIF only supports observations shared under CC0, CC BY or CC BY-NC, so iNaturalist are only sharing those with us. I’m not sure how many exactly that leaves out…

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