logo Calflora Group Observations Help
The Group Observations application lets you search for plant observations associated with any group of which you are a member, and see them on a map.

This application is similar to Observation Hotline (see Observation Hotline Help for details), but has some additional features which are useful for managing the records of a single group. For instance, Group Observations will show unpublished records associated with a group, where Observation Hotline will only show published records.

If you have any questions about this application, please contact Calflora support.

Search Criteria

Start Date and End Date are inclusive. Dates are entered in the format YYYY-MM-DD so that February 20, 2017 is written as 2017-2-20. If you enter 2017-2-20 as the end date, the result will include records that were entered on or before 2017-2-20. If you put the same date in both Start Date and End Date, the results will only include records entered on that date.

Other search criteria in this application are largely similar to Observation Hotline. These additional criteria are available:

point Return only those records that have a point, but no line or polygon.
point + radius Return only those records that have a point and a radius, but no line or polygon.
shape Return only those records that have a line or polygon.
line Return only those records that have a line.
no treatment records Return only those records that do not concern treatment of a patch.
only treatment records Return only those records that concern treatment of a patch.
only herbicide records Return only those records that concern herbicide treatment of a patch.
under management Return only those records marked as under management. By default, all records that concern treatment are marked as under management.
History Filter
0nly the most recent This option is relevant when there may be multiple records concerning the condition of a single patch over time. When this option has been chosen, a single record (the most recent) will be returned for each patch, even if there are many records describing that patch.

When this option has been chosen, two columns appear at the beginning of the result set: Root and Most Recent. When historical information is available about a patch, the Root record will be the oldest, and the Most Recent record will be the newest. Click on either one to view it in Plant Observation Entry.

When historical information is not available about a patch, the record ID appears in the Root column. (When there is only one record of a patch, that record is both the earliest and the most recent.) In this way, the record number in the Root column serves as a unique identifier of a patch.

0nly root records When there may be multiple records concerning the condition of a single patch over time, this option will return only the root, or oldest, record.
Project (Weed Manager organizations only.) Return only those records associated with certain projects.
More Criteria
Number of Plants
zero Return only those records that have a zero value in this field.
at least one Return only those records that have a non-zero value in this field.
Survey # Enter a survey number to find only those observations that are part of that survey.
Minimum Priority Rating
number from 1 to 10 This criterion looks at the priority rating of a population record associated with observation record(s). If you choose 5, it will find records with a priority rating of 5 or higher.
a role from the set of roles defined for the current organization (Weed Manager organizations only.) This criterion looks at the role of work session records associated with observation records. If you choose a role such as seasonal intern, it will return observation records that have associated work session entry records for people assigned to that role.


The results appear simultaneously as points on the map and in a table below the map. This application will display both published and unpublished records.

If you click on a point on the map, an InfoWindow opens at the point, the table scrolls down to the corresponding record, and the record ID is highlighted. If you click on a record ID in the table, an InfoWindow opens at the corresponding map point, and a short menu opens up under the record ID.

detail; Open the detail page for this record, including all photos and any comments that may have been made by other users on this record.

editor; Open Plant Observation Entry on this record.

The results can viewed through one of several column sets, such as Basic Data and Weed Data Export. You can also make up a custom column set: open customize, and choose the columns you want. (If you want to use the column set again, save it by name.)

If you are part of a Weed Manager organization, additional column sets are available, one for each of the data collection forms that your organization uses.

Population Records
When a history stack has polygons. a population record is automatically created for it. A population record has three fields:

  • Reference Polygon
  • Priority
  • Access to the Site
These fields are available in the customize panel.


Once you have used customize to choose exactly the right set of columns, you can save that set by name, and use it again later. Open TOOLS / SAVED COLUMN SETS, choose a name for the column set, and press . Any column set you save will be available to other members of your organization.

To bring back a previously saved column set, open TOOLS / SAVED COLUMN SETS, and choose a column set by name from the drop down.


Use the Symbology section to control which colored icons are used to represent points on the map. If a polygon is available for a particular observation, it can be displayed in a color that matches the icon. There are four themes available: Plant Name, Management Status, Population Plant Count, and Population Priority,

The Plant Name Theme

Once this theme is selected, open Plants with Icons and press . Enter the name of a plant, choose an icon, and press accept. For instance, you might pick the red square icon to represent Rubus armeniacus.

Here is an example showing eight weeds recently mapped by Marin County Parks in the Roy's Redwoods Open Space Preserve:

If you choose the large white square as an icon for a plant, then no icon will be displayed on the map.

Once you have assigned colored icons to particular plants, you can save your choices as color scheme, and use it again later. Color schemes are associated with a group -- any color scheme you save will be available to other members of the group.

The Management Status Theme

You can view observations acording to their management status using the following icons:

Note that "reported" (the green point) indicates records for which the value of Management Status is empty.

The Population Plant Count Theme

[Experimental; available only to certain groups.]

The Populationn Priority Theme

To utilize this theme, you need to add a population priority value to each record, using POE.


To download the result data onto your local computer, open TOOLS / DOWNLOAD RESULTS, and choose a format. Supported formats include various kinds of flat files, and three kinds of shapefiles.

Shapefile Formats
With respect to shapefiles, if you choose Shapefile: polygon, the shapefile will include only those records that have a polygon. If you choose Shapefile: point, the shapefile will include all records.

    Shapefiles suffer from the limitation that an attribute name cannot be longer than ten characters. (The other available formats are not limited in this way.) When you extract a shapefile with this application, attribute names are deliberately shortened, The meaning of the shortened names is explained in this Data Dictionary.
When you download, the downloaded results will include the same fields that are displayed in the current column set.
    If you want to include the polygon or line from each record, open customize, and add geometry to your column set.

    If you want to include the reference polygon from the associated population record, add Reference Polygon to your column set. Note that when Reference Polygon is included in the column set, and a particular record does not have a population record, but does have its own polygon, that polygon will be included in the results.


You can save a Group Observations search and run it again later. To save the current search, open TOOLS / SAVED SEARCHES. Choose a name for the search, and press .

To see all of your saved searches go to MyCalflora / Searches. For Weed Manager organizations, to see all searches associated with your organization, go to Organization Options / Searches.


The Batch Editor is a feature of this application which can make changes to many of your group's records at the same time. It is a powerful and potentially dangerous tool, in that changes are not easily recoverable.

To open the editor, enter some search criteria, and press .
Then open TOOLS and press .

In the editor panel, you can specify changes to the records that match your search. Once you have entered the changes you want to make, press . This action wil ask you to confirm, and then apply the changes to all of the records that match your search, even if you cannot see them in the result table.

For instance, to publish all matching records, set Access by other users to published.

Calculate Infested Area
Infested area will be (re)calculated for every record that has both a value for Gross Area and a value for Percent Cover. As an example, if a record has a Gross Area of 1000 square meters and a percent cover of 50%, the Infested Area will be calculated as 500 square meters.

Calculate Gross Area from Radius
Gross area will be (re)calculated for every record that has a point and a radius, but no polygon. As an example, if a record has a radius of 50 meters, the Gross Area will be calculated as πR2 = 7854 square meters.

Priority Ranking
The priority ranking of the poplation record associated with each matching observation will be set to the chosen value. If no population record is defined for a matching observation, one will be created.


Gross Area is typically calculated when a record with a polygon is first uploaded into the database. It may also be calculated explicitly (for instance, after editing the polygon) in Plant Observation Entry. This command will recalculate the size of the polygon for all matching records.

To run this command, enter some search criteria, and press .
Then open TOOLS and press .

Because it relies on the area function in the Google Maps API, this command is interactive. For each matching record, you will see the polygon on the map, and see the calculated gross area in square meters. Press to proceed to the next matching record. If the command is unable to calculate the gross area of a polygon for some reason, you will see an error message.

After the command has finished, search again for the same records to see the newly calculated value of Gross Area.

More Information

For more information about background layers, see Layer Help.

For more about data collection forms and other fields, see Plant Observation Entry Help


• December, 2018:   v. 2.35: Symbology now has four themes. Management Status in Batch Edit now has the value "reported", indicating an empty value for Management Status.

• August, 2018:   v. 2.16: Minimum priority ranking added to More Criteria. Priority Ranking added to the Batch Editor.

• July, 2018:   v. 2.15: All columns are sortable.

• June, 2018:   v. 2.10: Symbology. Polygons of mathcing records can be displayed on the map.

• October, 2017:   v. 1.85: In the results table, when you scroll down so that the column names are no longer visible, a pane opens at the top of the page showing the column names.

With the Geometry search criterion, you can search for records with a line, or records with a point and a radius.

• September, 2017:   v. 1.76: Two new features:

    Calculate Infested Area (from Gross Area and Percent Cover).

    Calculate Gross Area from Radius -- this applies to records that have a point and a radius, but no polygon.

• January, 2017:   v. 1.65: Three new columns are available: Gross Area Count, Gross Area Units, and Organization (AKA Group Name).

When there is a value of Gross Area such as "100 square meters", the value Gross Area Count will be "100" and the value of Gross Area Units will be "square meters";

• September, 2016:   v. 1.60: Column sets can be saved by name.

• March, 2015:   v. 1.29: The History Filter selection criterion is available, capable of returning only the most recent record when there is more than one record of a single patch.

• January, 2015:   v. 1.19: Searches can be saved by name. Open TOOLS, then open SAVED SEARCHES to save the current search, or to restore a previously saved search. (For more information, see Weed Manager Techniques / Saved Searches.)

• December, 2014:   v. 1.18: It is now possible to select more than one project in a single search. Open Projects, then check all of the project you want to include.

• December, 2014:   v. 1.16: New selection criteria: Access by others (published, unpublished or private) and Treatment. The Basic Data column set now includes Access, to make it easy to distinguish published from unpublished records.

• August, 2014:   Group Observations v. 1.06 (beta) released.