The Basic Data Model|
The species table contains basic information
about a plant, such as lifeform, and whether or not it is native to California.
It also includes relevant codes to enable links to other systems,
such as the online Jepson Manual and USDA PLANTS.
|calrecnum * |
|category [eg. dicot]|
|status [native, non-native, rare, invasive]|
|USDA PLANTS symbol|
|. . . .||
Calflora follows three nomenclature authorities:
the Jepson Manual, USDA PLANTS, and CNPS.
The nomenclature table tracks which scientific names each
one accepts, and which synonym relationships each one recognizes.
Most names in the nomenclature table resolve to an active species record.
There are potentially several nomenclature records for
each species record. The nomenclature table enables the resolution of
older names to current names for both user searches and observation data maintenance.
|accepted name (if taxon is not accepted)|
|according to (authorities)|
Other species related tables:
The plant characteristics table contains
environmental factors about where the plant likes to grow,
such as soil and water requirements. Much of the data is from
USDA Conservation Plant Characteristics. Range of annual precipitation
is derived by Calflora from occurrence data.
The associated organism table contains
data about pollinators, beneficial insects, pest insects
and other pathogens that are associated with a plant.
The common name table contains common names from several
sources. There are potentially several common names for each plant.
The observation table contains
the who, what, where, and when of a single plant observation.
Note that when a record is first entered,
calrecnum points at an active record
in the species table that corresponds to the value of taxon.
When there are nomenclature changes,
the value of taxon is preserved, but
calrecnum may change to
point at a currently accepted name, following a synonym relationship.
|observation ID * |
|user ID (owner)|
|. . . .||
The checklist table contains
the who, what, where, and when of a checklist
(many plants observed at a single location).
For one checklist record, there are typically many
checklist-plant records, one for each plant observed.
user ID refers to the owner of the record,
typically the same person as the observer.
|checklist ID * |
|. . . .||
The Data Model as it Evolved for Collecting Weed Data|
In 2008 Calflora began a partnership with BAEDN
(and later Cal-IPC) to
collect weed data, which required some enhancements.
The observation table still has the
fields mentioned above, but now has additional fields
for weed work.
The access by other users field gives the owner of
the record control over whether other Calflora users
can see the record, or not.
This represents the way that occurrence
data is stored in Calflora as of June, 2013.
|. . . .|
|access by other users|
|number of plants|
|ownership (of the site)|
The photo table has photos
of the plant observed in the observation record. It contains
the URL of the photo (either on Calflora or some other
web location), credit (usually the same as the observer),
and a caption.
For one observation record, there can be many photo records.
The shape table has
lines and polygons either drawn by a user or uploaded
from desktop GIS software.
An observation record has at most one associated shape,
but a shape record can be used by
more than one observation.
|shape ID * |
A shape is an optional
attachment to an observation record.
Every observation record has a point (latitude and longitude).
Some records also have an attached line or polygon which contains the point.
(Note that this arrangement is different from GIS software where a record can have
either a point, a line, or a polygon.)
The OATS Model
OATS is a term coined by Sonoma Ecology Center to describe
a data model for weed data collection.
Very simply put, OATS signifies four record types:
O is for occurrence,
which indicates the name of the plant, a point location,
and other relatively atemporal aspects of the immediate environment
such as habitat.
(An alternative name of this data model is ROAST, which includes the R for Region.)
A is for assessment, meaning an evaluation of a patch
of weeds done at a particular time.
An assessment may indicate time specific attributes such as
the size of the patch (gross area + infested area, or an actual polygon),
density of the patch (number of plants, abundance),
T is for treatment, which indicates what was done
to a patch of weeds, and when.
S is for survey, meaning an organized effort to find
certain plants in a certain area.
There is arguably some overlap between what fields
should be included in
an occurrence record and
what fields should be included in
an assessment record.
The observation record currently in use
by Calflora, as enhanced by BAEDN and desribed above, is a sort
of combination of the two:
it is an occurrence
in that it includes a point location and a plant name,
and it is an assessment in that it includes
temporal evaluative factors such as
the size of the patch and phenology.
However, in a real OATS model system, the data collector
is able to build up a picture of how a patch is changing
by doing multiple assessments of the patch
over time, and linking them all back to the original occurrence record.
The Calflora observation record described above does not
have this ability yet.
As the Weed Manager system starts to be built out,
the data model will be enhanced again. Among other changes
will be the ability to link multiple later assessments
back to an original occurrence.
In this new model, the differentiation
between occurrence and assessment
will simply be based on sequence. If you are looking for
certain weeds in a certain area,
the earliest report of a particular weed at a particular spot
is functionally the occurrence
(or root observation),
and each subsequent report
of the same weed at the same spot
is functionally an assessment
which can be linked back to the root observation.
The assessment and treatment
history of an occurrence:
most recent assessment 2013|
assessment and treatment 2012|
earliest or root record 2009