logo Calflora Plant Observation Entry   HELP
With the Plant Observation Entry application (POE) you can view, enter or edit a plant observation record. Every record has a point location. A record might also have
  • one or more photos of the plant at the location;
  • a shape (line or polygon) describing the area occupied by this plant population;
  • observation history, or an association of the record with previous records of the same plant at the same location.
Here follows a description of the application and suggestions for how to use it for various purposes:

If you are having any trouble using this application, please contact Calflora support.

: Ron Vanderhoff's record of
Lycium californicum, California boxthorn,
Orange Co.

Adding a New Record

1. Press NEW RECORD.

2. Choose an Organization. The choice of organization determines which projects are available. If you choose the Independent organization, three projects are available: Simple data collection, Advanced data collection, and Rare plant data collection. If you are part of a Weed Manager organization, other projects will be available.

3. Choose a Project. Choice of project determines which dynamic form appears in Section 3. The SIMPLE DATA COLLECTION form is the default, and is adequate for many purposes.

4. Press Point Location to open the popup.

    A. Move the map to the general location of the plant, and zoom in. Click -- your next click on the map will become the point location of this record, indicated by .

    B. Alternatively, if you have exact coordinates from another source, press Enter coordinates as decimal lat/long . Then enter the coordinates and press .


5. Choose a plant by typing a few characters into either Scientific Name or Common Name, and selecting a plant from the drop down.

The values of Observer and Observation Date will already be filled in. If necessary, change these values, and fill in any other values of fields in the dynamic form, Section 3.

6. To add a shape, press Shape to open the popup. Then press start drawing, and click on the map to set the vertices. Press stop drawing when you are finished. Press Shape to close the popup.

7. To add a photo, press Add a photo (Section 4, lower left) to open the popup. If the photo is already on the web, paste in the URL, and press ADD THIS PHOTO,

Or, check Upload a file from your computer, then press the Browse button. When you have selected a file from your computer, press UPLOAD. When the file has been successfully uploaded to Calflora, the popup will close.

You can add many photos to a record. You can also change the Credit and Caption of a photo at any time -- click on the photo to edit these values.

8. Fill in values for any of the other fields in Section 4. If you drew a polygon, press calculate next to Gross Area.

9. Press SAVE. Required values are indicated by *. If any required field values are missing, the application will let you know.

Adding a New Assessment of a Previous Record

  1. Start viewing the previous record (for example mx123) in this application.

      Here is one way to find the previous record, if it is already published:

    • Open Observation Hotline, enter the name of the plant, move to the general area where the record is, zoom in, and press .

    • Look for the record either by clicking on the colored markers on the map, or by scrolling through the table.

    • When you find the record, click on the ID (for example, mx123). In the menu that appears, click edit, which will bring up this application viewing the record.

  2. Press . Choose New assessment of mx123 from the menu.

  3. A new record is created, and the following fields are copied from the previous record:
    Scientific Name Point Location
    Location Description Plant Identification
    Ownership Elevation
    Shape (if any)
    Management Status is set to verified. The other fields are left empty. You can change any field values if you need to.

    When you save this new record, it will become part of the observation history of the original record. So for instance, if the original record is mx123, and mx123 is the earliest record of this plant at this location, then the new record will be associated with mx123.

    Going forward, if you view either record in POE, both records will appear in the observation history list, and you can easily jump back and forth between them. This is handy if, for instance, both records have a polygon, and you want to see how the population is changing over time.

      NOTE: Please do not publish a new assessment of a previous record unless you have actually visited the site of the previous record, and either verified that the plant is still there, or determined that the plant is no longer there.

      If you want to make a comment on some aspect of someone else's record, go to the RECORD DETAIL page for the other person's record, open COMMENTS, and add a comment.

: one of the MCOSD Restoration Crew's records of Aegilops triuncialis, goatgrass,
Marin Co.

Viewing a Record (how the page is organized)

The right side of the page is devoted to a map. The left hand side is scrollable, and organized into four sections.

Header: The record header shows what the application is doing at the moment (viewing an existing record, editing an existing record, or adding a new record).

Section 1:   Record ownership and control
Organization The organization responsible for this record. If you are a member of any Calflora groups, they will appear here in a drop down during editing. The default organization is Independent.
Project The default organization, Independent, offers a choice between three projects:
    Simple data collection,
    Advanced data collection, and
    Rare plant data collection.
Each project is associated with a dynamic form, which appears in Section 3 (below).

If you are a member of a Weed Manager organization, your organization will have certain projects defined, which appear here in a drop down during editing.

Access by others
published The public (any Calflora user) can see this record.
unpublished Only the owner (or members of the group, if this record belongs to an group) can see the record.
private Same access as unpublished. Set the value to private if you intend to keep the record out of the public eye for an extended period of time.
History An observation record describes a population of a certain plant at a certain location. Some plant populations have been tracked over time by multiple assessments -- for instance, documenting how the size of the population has increased or decreased. When viewing an observation record, open History to view any precedent or subsequent records of the same population described by the current record.

Once Scientific Name has a value, you can search for nearby observations of that plant, also in the History panel.



At the bottom of Section 1 are control buttons. If you are viewing your own record, press the EDIT button in order to make changes.

If you are a contributor, press the NEW RECORD button to add a new record.

Section 2:   Shape and Point Location

If a shape (polygon or line) is defined for this record, a red oval appears. If a point is defined for this record, a blue point appears.

Note that on the map, the blue point indicating the location of the record is independent of the map cursor, . You can move the map cursor without changing the location of the record.

Section 3:   The dynamic form associated with the current project

The dynamic forms that appear in this section correspond to the dynamic forms available in the Observer Pro phone application.

For instance, suppose you make an observation with Observer Pro with the Independent organization and the Advanced data collection project, which uses the ADVANCED DATA COLLECTION form. When you view that record with this application, the same form will appear here in Section 3.

For records that have no project, this application uses a default dynamic form which has the same fields as the earlier Calflora observation entry applications.

At the top of this section, the name of the form is written in green. Dynamic forms differ from one another as to which fields they contain. However, all dynamic forms start with these four fields:

Scientific Name The scientific name of the plant observed. During editing, typeahead is enabled -- type the first three letters, then choose the name from the popup list.
Common Name The common name of the plant observed. During editing, typeahead is enabled -- type at least three letters, then choose the name from the popup list.
Observer The person(s) who observed the plant. When adding a new record, this field is filled in with your name.
Observation Date Date the plant was observed, in the form YYYY-MM-DD. For example, 2016-12-31.

Other fields which may be present in a dynamic form include:
Phenology In which stage of life is this population? Is it blooming?
Number of Plants * An estimated range of the number of plants at this location.
1+ is a special value meaning at least one plant.
0 is a special value meaning no plants, or absence.

* indicates that a field is required.
Section 4:   Photos and other fields not included in dynamic forms
Photos Any photos of this particular population. During editing, you can attach a photo to a record by uploading it from your computer. Or, if your photo is already on the web, you can paste in the URL.
Management Status The earliest record of a population has no management status. A subsequent assessment of that same population will be automatically assigned a management status of verified.

Suppose you are looking for a particular plant population at a precise location that was recorded in a previous year. If you do not find it, you could enter a record for that plant at that location and specify the management status as searched for but not found.

If the population is being treated, you can specify the management status as under management / treatment. If the treatment is successful, you can specify the management status as extirpated.

Or, if you are doing a survey, and did not find a particular plant in the survey area, you could enter a record for that plant in that area and specify the management status as searched for but not found.

Natural Status Was the observed plant growing wild, or was it planted by a human? Note that only records with a Natural Status of wild are included in search results from applications such as Observation Hotline.
Collection Use this field to divide your records up into various collections. Or, include search terms in the value of this field that will make it possible to categorize records later.
Region For some Weed Manager groups collecting data with the Observer Pro phone app, the value of region will be automatically assigned to the name of one of a set of pre-defined regions. If you are using POE as an Independent, you can ignore this field, or use it to describe the general area where you observed the plant.
Ownership (AKA National Ownership) A broad classification of who owns the land where the plant is growing.
Plant Identification The primary method by which the observed plant was identified. (If you are entering a record and are not sure of your identification, choose uncertain.)
Elevation The elevation at the point location of this population. During editing, once a point location has been chosen, press lookup elevation to find the elevation.
Location Accuracy An estimate of the accuracy of the location coordinates, expressed as an area in square meters. For instance, if the location accuracy is set to 100 square meters, then the idea is that the real point is somewhere within that 100 square meter area.
Gross Area The size of the area where the population was observered.

If you have drawn a polygon, press calculate area to calculate the area of the polygon.

If you have specified a Radius as a buffer around the point, press calculate area to calculate the area of the implied circle.

More critically, Gross Area is the area of ground covered by the patch of plants, if you drew an imaginary line around the outer boundary of the patch.

If Percent Cover is also recorded, then Infested Area can be calculated as

    Infested Area = Gross Area X Percent Cover
Herbarium If a specimen of the plant was taken and sent to an herbarium, the name of the herbarium.
Fields Populated when a Record Comes in from Observer Pro

Access Set to unpublished.
Index Date Set to the moment when the record is added to the database.
Observer Set to the name of the person who is logged into Observer Pro, if it does not already have a value. Typically, the value of Observer will be the name of whoever is using Observer Pro. On some dynamic forms, this field is exposed, and the user can enter a value.
Observation Type Set to undirectedsearch if it does not already have a value.
Documentation Type Set to reported.
Natural Status Set to wild if it does not already have a value.
County Set to the name of the appropriate county if the point location of the record falls within the boundary of a California county.
Organization This will be the Organization chosen by the user when entering the record in Observer Pro. If the user has selected a default group for new observations in My Calflora / Preferences, then, when the user enters an observation as Independent in Observer Pro, Organization will be set to the selected default group.
Management Status If Number of Plants is 0, Management Status is set to searched for but not found.

Otherwise, if there is a value for Treatment Method, Management Status is set to under management.

Otherwise, if the record is a new assessment of an existing record, Management Status is set to verified.

Region Some Weed Manager groups have a set of regions defined (polygons of management areas). If the record belongs to one of these groups, and the point location of the record falls within one of the defined regions, Region is set to the name of the region.
Location Accuracy (square meters) If the record coming in from Observer Pro has a value for Error Radius (in meters), then Location Accuracy is set to the area of the implied circle. Inside Observer Pro, Error Radius is obtained from the GPS system at the moment an observation is made.
Location Quality Set to an appropriate value (LOW, MEDIUM, HIGH) depending on the value of Error Radius. (Records coming from Observer Pro are almost always HIGH.)
Gross Area If Radius (in meters; a buffer around the point) is present in the dynamic form and has a value, then Gross Area is set to the area of the implied circle.
More Information

See also About Contributing Plant Observations FAQ

Plant Observation Entry is part of the Weed Manager system.

For more information about map background layers, see Layer Help.

: Cindy Roessler's record of Streptanthus glandulosus, Jewelflower, Santa Clara Co.


• October, 2016:   v. 4.01: The link to Work Session Entry in TOOLS has been replaced. To edit the hours associated with a record, click on HOURS, and an embedded version of Work Session Entry just for the current record will appear. It shows any hours of work now associated with the current observation record.

If you are the owner of the record, or a data czar for the organization, you will be able to add additional work session entries or change the ones that are there.

• April, 2016:   v. 3.91: When POE is showing a treatment record, the record number at the top of the page is written in DARK RED. This should make it clear that you are looking at a treatment record without having to scroll down to see the treatment fields. Inside of History, the record numbers of any treatment records are also written in DARK RED.

• February, 2015:   v. 3.44: If you are editing a record with photos, and the photos are stored on Calflora, you can rotate a photo clockwise or counter-clockwise by 90 degrees. Click on the photo to open the edit panel, and then click on the arrow for which way you want to rotate.

• December, 2014:   v. 3.27: When you are looking at a Weed Manager record, there is a link in TOOLS called Work Session Entry which goes directly to the work session entry app, already dialed into the organization, project, and date of the record. If work session records have already been entered for this project on this date, you will see them; otherwise you can enter them.

There is a link in TOOLS to Observation Hotline, already dialed into the map cursor location . This is another way to find nearby records.

• September, 2014:   v. 3.13: Coordinates can be typed in directly, in decimal lat/long format. (Open Point Location and then Enter coordinates as decimal lat/long .)

• August, 2014:   v. 3.12: Nearby polygons are displayed. (Open History and press SEARCH to find nearby records of the current plant. If any of the nearby records have polygons, the polygons will appear on the map. Try it with this record: Scotch Broom at Bald Hills, Humboldt Co..)

• July, 2014:   v. 3.01 (beta) released.