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iNaturalist 2018 Competition

The 2018 competition is part of the FGVC^5 workshop at CVPR.

Please open an issue if you have questions or problems with the dataset.


June 23rd, 2018:

  • Un-obfuscated names are released. Simply replace the categories list in the dataset files with the list found in this file.

  • Thanks to everyone who attended and participated in the FGVC5 workshop! Slides from the competition overview and presentations from the top two teams can be found here.

  • A video of the validation images can be viewed here.

April 10th, 2018: Bounding boxes have been added to the 2017 dataset, see here.


We are using Kaggle to host the leaderboard. Checkout the competition page here.


Data Released February, 2018
Submission Server Open February, 2018
Submission Deadline June, 2018
Winners Announced June, 2018


There are a total of 8,142 species in the dataset, with 437,513 training and 24,426 validation images.

Super Category Category Count Train Images Val Images
Plantae 2,917 118,800 8,751
Insecta 2,031 87,192 6,093
Aves 1,258 143,950 3,774
Actinopterygii 369 7,835 1,107
Fungi 321 6,864 963
Reptilia 284 22,754 852
Mollusca 262 8,007 786
Mammalia 234 20,104 702
Animalia 178 5,966 534
Amphibia 144 11,156 432
Arachnida 114 4,037 342
Chromista 25 621 75
Protozoa 4 211 12
Bacteria 1 16 3
Total 8,142 437,513 24,426

Train Val Distribution


Click on the image below to view a video showing images from the validation set. Video


We follow a similar metric to the classification tasks of the ILSVRC. For each image , an algorithm will produce 3 labels , . We allow 3 labels because some categories are disambiguated with additional data provided by the observer, such as latitude, longitude and date. For a small percentage of images, it might also be the case that multiple categories occur in an image (e.g. a photo of a bee on a flower). For this competition each image has one ground truth label , and the error for that image is:


The overall error score for an algorithm is the average error over all test images:

Differences from iNaturalist 2017 Competition

The 2018 competition differs from the 2017 Competition in several ways:

Species Only

The 2017 dataset categories contained mostly species, but also had a few additional taxonomic ranks (e.g. genus, subspecies, and variety). The 2018 categories are all species.

Taxonomy Information & Obfuscation

The 2018 dataset contains kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, and genus taxonomic information for all species. However, we have obfuscated all taxonomic names (including the species name) to hinder participants from performing web searchs to collect additional data.

Data Overlap

The 2018 dataset contains some species and images that are found in the 2017 dataset. However, we will not provide a mapping between the two datasets.

Scoring Metric

The 2018 competition allows for 3 guesses per test image, whereas the 2017 competition allowed 5.


Participants are welcome to use the iNaturalist 2017 Competition dataset as an additional data source. There is an overlap between the 2017 species and the 2018 species, however we do not provide a mapping between the two datasets. Besides using the 2017 dataset, participants are restricted from collecting additional natural world data for the 2018 competition. Pretrained models may be used to construct the algorithms (e.g. ImageNet pretrained models, or iNaturalist 2017 pretrained models). Please specify any and all external data used for training when uploading results.

The general rule is that participants should only use the provided training and validation images (with the exception of the allowed pretrained models) to train a model to classify the test images. We do not want participants crawling the web in search of additional data for the target categories. Participants should be in the mindset that this is the only data available for these categories.

Participants are allowed to collect additional annotations (e.g. bounding boxes, keypoints) on the provided training and validation sets. Teams should specify that they collected additional annotations when submitting results.

Annotation Format

We follow the annotation format of the COCO dataset and add additional fields. The annotations are stored in the JSON format and are organized as follows:

  "info" : info,
  "images" : [image],
  "categories" : [category],
  "annotations" : [annotation],
  "licenses" : [license]

  "year" : int,
  "version" : str,
  "description" : str,
  "contributor" : str,
  "url" : str,
  "date_created" : datetime,

  "id" : int,
  "width" : int,
  "height" : int,
  "file_name" : str,
  "license" : int,
  "rights_holder" : str

  "id" : int,
  "name" : str,
  "supercategory" : str,
  "kingdom" : str,
  "phylum" : str,
  "class" : str,
  "order" : str,
  "family" : str,
  "genus" : str

  "id" : int,
  "image_id" : int,
  "category_id" : int

  "id" : int,
  "name" : str,
  "url" : str

Submission Format

The submission format for the Kaggle competition is a csv file with the following format:

12345,0 78 23
67890,83 13 42

The id column corresponds to the test image id. The predicted column corresponds to 3 category ids, separated by spaces. You should have one row for each test image. Please sort your predictions from most confident to least, from left to right, this will allow us to study top-1, top-2, and top-3 accuracy.

Terms of Use

By downloading this dataset you agree to the following terms:

  1. You will abide by the iNaturalist Terms of Service
  2. You will use the data only for non-commercial research and educational purposes.
  3. You will NOT distribute the above images.
  4. The California Institute of Technology makes no representations or warranties regarding the data, including but not limited to warranties of non-infringement or fitness for a particular purpose.
  5. You accept full responsibility for your use of the data and shall defend and indemnify the California Institute of Technology, including its employees, officers and agents, against any and all claims arising from your use of the data, including but not limited to your use of any copies of copyrighted images that you may create from the data.


Download the dataset files here:

  • All training and validation images [120GB]
    • Links for different parts of the world:
    • Posterity Caltech link. Warning this will be slow.
    • Running md5sum train_val2018.tar.gz should produce b1c6952ce38f31868cc50ea72d066cc3
    • Images have a max dimension of 800px and have been converted to JPEG format
    • Untaring the images creates a directory structure like train_val2018/super category/category/image.jpg. This may take a while.
  • Training annotations [26MB]
    • Links for different parts of the world:
    • Posterity Caltech link
    • Running md5sum train2018.json.tar.gz should produce bfa29d89d629cbf04d826a720c0a68b0
  • Validation annotations [26MB]
  • Test images [40GB]
    • Links for different parts of the world:
    • Posterity Caltech link. Warning this will be slow.
    • Running md5sum test2018.tar.gz should produce 4b71d44d73e27475eefea68886c7d1b1
    • Images have a max dimension of 800px and have been converted to JPEG format
    • Untaring the images creates a directory structure like test2018/image.jpg.
  • Test image info [6.3MB]

Pretrained Models

A pretrained InceptionV3 model in PyTorch is available here.

Previous Competitions