CalFlora Logo

About the Observer smart phone application

The Observer is an application for smart phones that allows you to quickly and efficiently report wild plant occurrences. This application makes it easy for you to report the species name, date, and location of over 10,000 California native and non-native plant taxa. You can also add a photograph to a report, and share it with others later to confirm identification. Your reports are transmitted wirelessly to the Calflora database, where you can edit them and see them on a map.

To use the application, you need to

When you upload observations from your phone, they go into the database in an unpublished state. You can use the My Observations application to edit your observations, and when they are ready, publish them so that they are visible to other Calflora users.

The Observer application for Android phones is available from Google Play (search for "Calflora"), or it can be downloaded from this page. The iPhone version is available via iTunes (search for "Calflora"). We need your input on how this application can be improved. We are eager to hear any feedback or comments you may have.


This is an excellent question. Due to the nature of the Android system, we are unable to guarantee that it will work on any particular Android phone until we have had the opportunity to test the app on that model. This is because the various manufacturers of Android devices implement features differently, and it is not reliable to predict ahead of time whether the manufacturer's implementation choices are compatible with the way the app is written.

The current version works reliably on the following devices:

If you have another phone, please go ahead and try the app, and then write us with your comments about whether it works, including the model of the phone. It is possible for us to get the app working on other Android phones; to do so, we would need to borrow the phone in question for a few hours.





Calflora has developed the Observer smart phone application in collaboration with the California Early Detection Network. The phone app is part of an integrated plant mapping platform that replaces cumbersome hardware/software now used to collect and manage plant mapping data. By removing technological and logistic obstacles and streamlining data collection and management, this innovative system makes it possible for all field personnel to quickly, accurately, and efficiently collect and manage native and invasive plant occurrence data. Here is a short YouTube video that outlines the system.

The Observer application for Android phones was developed by Calflora based on source code for the What's Invasive smart phone application from UCLA's Center for Embedded Network Sensing (CENS). The Android version is now (May, 2011) available on Google Play. CENS engineers have recently released an iPhone version of the Observer application, which is available on iTunes (thanks to funding from partners listed below).


The project has been possible thanks to the generosity of these visionary supporters:

Android users: See Release Notes