Calflora Home Calflora     Weed Manager:   Resources,  Applications  and Techniques

Updated August 16, 2015    
Weed Manager (WM) is a system which enables organizations engaged in land management to track weed infestations and treatments over time. If you are unfamiliar with Weed Manager, please see this presentation of the system's capabilities.

Below is a description of various WM resources and component applications now available:

The Weed Manager Google Group
A discussion of core components of Calflora's Weed Manager system, news, new versions to be tested, planning, funding, etc.   If you are not yet a member, press Apply to join group

The Calflora Observer Pro Users Google Community
A discussion of the Calflora Observer Pro Android app for recording observations of wild California plants.

Observer Pro Android Phone Application
An app for collecting data about wild plants, using organization-specific data collection forms. Available on Google Play.


Full Documentation
Plant Observation Entry (POE)
Using this application, you can view, enter or edit a plant observation record.

The same projects and forms are available in both the Observer Pro phone app and POE. If you are a member of a Weed Manager organization, then you have access to certain projects and forms specific to that organization.

When you use POE to edit a record made with Observer Pro, it will come up with the same project and form used to enter it.

However, you can also change the project and form of a record from within POE. For instance, suppose a record was originally entered with the Simple Data Collection form. Using POE, you could change it to a project that has the Weed Data Collection form, and then fill in the weed related fields that are not present in Simple Data Collection.

POE can also be used to enter new records. When entering a new record, choose your organization from the drop down, and then choose one of your organization's projects. As soon as you have chosen a project, the page below will be filled with the data collection form that goes with that project.



Projects and Data Collection Forms:
A Weed Manager organization can have many projects. A project is defined by
  • a location (starting point);
  • a plant list; and
  • a data collection form.
Certain default data collection forms are available. One data collection form can be used for many different projects.

Some organizations have requested a custom form, containing the exact fields which the organization wants to collect.
Group Observations
The Group Observations application makes all records owned by an organization available to all members of that organization. The results include both published and unpublished records.

The results can viewed through one of several column sets, such as Basic Data and Weed Data Export. As a member of a Weed Manager organization, there are additional column sets are available, one for each of the data collection forms that your organization uses.

By choosing a column set that corresponds to one of your organization's data collection forms, you can download all of the data you collected (including any special fields such as those related to treatment).

The results can be downloaded in several flat file formats, as JSON or GeoJSON, or as a shapefile.



Project Setup
If you are the owner of a group (or have the Data Czar role within a group), use this application to view and edit existing projects, or to add new projects.

When you are adding a new project, enter a name and a description, and choose a data collection form. (This app will preview the various data collection forms which are available.) You can optionally also choose a starting location and a plant list.

If you are a member of a group, use this application to view the various projects defined for that group.



Shape Editor
With this application, you can view and edit any of the lines and polygons you have drawn or uploaded to Calflora. You can also draw a new line or polygon.

Each shape record optionally has a name. If you give a polygon record a name, you can use it in searches; eg. from within Observation Hotline or Group Observations.

Each shape record also has a declared purpose. The presumed purpose for any polygon with a name is search. The presumed purpose for any line or polygon entered as part of entering a plant observation without treatment information is assessment. The presumed purpose for any line or polygon entered as part of entering a plant observation with treatment information is treatment.



Supporting Applications
Manage Group Members (formerly Group Definition)
If you are the owner of a group, use this application to add members.

Organization Options
Enter roles, rates of pay, crew, and activities for your organization.
Also, view and edit any saved searchs (eg from Group Observations) for your organization.

Work Session Entry
Enter what crew did which activity, on what day, for which project.
Note that when you are viewing a Weed Manager record in POE, there is a link from the TOOLS menu to Work Session Entry already dialed into the organization, project, and date of the record.



Plant List Definition
If you need a custom plant list for one of your organization's projects, use this application to define it.
(When using the Observer Pro phone application, having a short plant list can sometimes speed data entry.)

If your organization is responsible for certain regions, and has desktop GIS files with the boundaries of those regions,
use the Shape Editor to upload the GIS files.

Once uploaded, the region polygons will become part of your organization's portfolio of shapes. There are two immediate benefits:
  • The region polygons become available for searching purposes (to all members of the organization) from applications such as Group Observations, Observation Hotline, and What Grows Here?

  • When a member of your organization enters a new record, and coordinates of the record fall within the boundaries of one of the regions, the Region field of the record will be assigned the name of the region. This applies to records coming in from the phone or from the web.

How to do it:
Make sure your regions are available as a shapefile, including the projection (.prj) file component. From the Shape Editor application, open TOOLS, then open UPLOAD.

In Step 1, you will upload the shapefile from your computer to a temporary table on the server.

In Step 2, choose which attribute from the shapefile contains the name of the region. Set the value of group to your organization. Set the value of purpose to REGION. Then press . The next time you do a search from the Shape Editor, you should see them.

Using the Polygons
To use one of the region polygons as a search area in Group Observations, open POLYGON, then open SAVED SEARCH POLYGONS, and choose the region by name from the drop down list.

Why define a new project?
A project is an organizational device for isolating observation and treatment records, so that they can be easily searched for and reported on.

In Weed Manager, work session data is associated with observation and treatment data by project and date. Once a project has been defined, and records have been added to it, it is possible to correspond work session information with observation and treatment information. In other words, when you see some observation and treatment records for a certain project on a certain day, you will be able to to tell how many hours your organization spent doing that work.

With this in mind, if your organization is going to be tracking work session information, then the best reason to define a new project is for accounting purposes. For instance, if you are going to need to account for all work in a certain area, then it makes sense to define a project just to contain data about that area. If all work in the area is added to the project, then later you will be able to report on work in the area simply by selecting the project.

Saved searches are an excellent way to limit what records you will see in Observer Pro for a particular project. They are also a useful to to share a set of interesting records with other people, either inside or outside of your group.
Saving a Group Observations Search
Searches can be saved directly from Group Observations: 1. do the search; 2. open TOOLS and SAVED SEARCHES; 3. enter a name for the current search; and 4. press .

A search saved in this way will be immediately accessible to anyone in your group, and will not be accessible to anyone outside of your group.

Saving an Observation Hotline Search
To save a search from Observation Hotline: 1. do the search; 2. copy the URL; 3. go to My Calflora / Searches; 4. press Add another search; 5. enter a name for the search, and paste in the copied URL; 4. press .

To edit the search you just saved, click on just to the left of the record. If you want your saved search to be available to one of your groups, edit the record, and choose a group from the group drop down.

In a Group Observations search, all records must come from the same group. However, in an Observation Hotline search, you can mix published records from various sources. So, if you need to see records from other sources from inside Observer Pro -- for instance, observations of weeds from casual observers -- you can accomplish this by means of an Observation Hotline search.

Using a Saved Search for Historical Records in Observer Pro
Once you have saved a search, you can use it to control which historical records appear for a particular project in Observer Pro.

To do so, go to Project Setup, choose your group, choose the project, and press . Any searches that have been saved associated with the group (by you or by anyone else in the group) will appear in the HISTORICAL RECORDS (saved searches) drop down. Choose the relevant search, and then save the project record. More details are available in Project Setup Help.

Weed Manager Project Plans

These are documents originally prepared before development started, to explain the design and proposed functionality of the system.

Components and Costs




Calflora is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

In accordance with Federal law and US Department of Agriculture policy, Calflora is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9419 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

The following organizations have provided the principal funding for the development of the Weed Manager system:

USDA Forest Service
Marin County Parks
National Park Service (San Francisco Bay Area Network of National Parks)
Midpennisula Regional Open Space

The following organizations have provided funding for Weed Manager components as well as technical and design assistance:

Marin Municipal Watershed District
Yosemite Conservancy
California Invasive Plant Council