logo Calflora Data Models   Updated November 17, 2013
The Basic Data Model
Species Data
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]
CNPS list
Cal-IPC list
ITIS tsn
bloom period
ultramafic affinity
. . . .
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.

Occurrence Data
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)
location description
source institution
. . . .
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 *
user ID
source institution
location description
. . . .
checklist ID
The Data Model as it Evolved for Collecting Weed Data
Occurrence 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
group ID
number of plants
gross area
infested area
percent cover
ownership (of the site)
location accuracy
shape ID
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.

observation ID
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.

user shape
shape ID *
user 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.)



More Information:

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.

    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), and phenology.

    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.

(An alternative name of this data model is ROAST, which includes the R for Region.)

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
assessment 2011
assessment 2010
earliest or root record 2009
More Information: