The Need for Groups
Calflora users are a diverse audience, with a wide range of interests.
To meet the needs of this audience,
Calflora applications are designed to be general purpose.
The intention is that the applications will
work equally well for any member of the audience, regardless
of their particular interests.
Following this intention,
we try to avoid burdening the applications with
material -- plant lists, polygons, etc. -- which are only of interest
to a small part of the user community.
Calflora offers various features for users,
including the ability to save searches, define custom plant lists, and save
Taking advantage of these features can make certain tasks
more convenient, such as searching for observations, or collecting data.
Some Calflora users have gone to the trouble of defining
searches, polygons and plant lists
for their own use, and would like to make them available to other users.
The Group system makes this possible.
By means of a group, a subset of Calflora users can share features
with each other.
A group is a set of people using Calflora
with interests in common.
Typically the interests in common concern data collection
-- either actively contributing plant observations,
or monitoring observations contributed by others.
The advantage of a group is that
any features which members of the group define --
observations, searches, plant lists -- can be
shared with the group, and thereby become easily discoverable by all
members of the group.
If the members of a group are engaged in active data collection,
they can also share unpublished observations with
each other, before those observations are available
to all Calflora users.
Join a Group
If you are registered as a Calflora contributor,
you can join any of the existing groups
that are open to anyone.
To join a group, go to My Calflora
(and register as a contributor if you haven't already).
Then press Groups
in the top horizontal menu.
If you are already a member of any
groups, you will see them listed.
To see the public groups you might join, press
JOIN A GROUP.
If you want to join one of these groups,
check Join this group next to the group of interest.
Click on the name of the group to go to the Group Home page.
Here is an example: the Group Home page for the
Early Detection Network group.
Note that at the bottom of the page,
you will see the saved searches and plant lists which have been
shared with this group.
Sharing an Observation with a Group
Suppose your interests include
early detection weeds, and you join the
Early Detection Network
Then, you notice a target weed in a place you have
never seen it before, and enter an observation of it.
There are several ways you can inform
other members of the EDN group
about your observation record:
You can put the record into the EDN group
Anyone in the EDN group with email notification turned on
will receive an email about it.
You can put the record in another group, but write a comment
on the record, and then send the comment to the EDN group
Anyone in the EDN group with email notification turned
on will receive an email with your comment.
You can POST a message to the EDN group that concerns
your record, and contains a link (for instance, to
a search for other nearby records of the same plant).
Viewing Group Activity
When you are looking at
My Calflora / Groups,
there will be an entry for each group of which you are a member.
to see 1. recent observations that are associated with a group,
2. recent comments about those observations,
and 3. any recent messages posted by group members.
Each group is a potential
stream of observations, comments and POSTs,
and it all shows up on this page.
If you need help identifying plants
(or are good at identifying plants from photos),
PLANT ID HELP group.
Start a NEW GROUP
To start your own group, go to
MAKE A NEW GROUP.
You can decide if your group will be open to anyone,
by invitation only, or restricted (totally hidden).
You can add people currently registered as Calflora contributors
to your group by email address.
If you make your new group open to anyone, then all other contributors
will have the opportunity to join it from
My Calflora / Groups.
If you want someone in your group who
has not yet registered as a Calflora contributor,
encourage them to register.
If your group is open to anyone, the new person
can join from
My Calflora / Groups.
If your group is by invitation only,
then once you know that the new person has registered,
go back to the
Group Definition application
and add this person to your group
by email address.
Getting a New Group Going:
(suggestions for what to do next)
If you have already entered observations which are relevant
to this group, go to
and associate each of these observations
with your new group. (You can edit the records one-by-one, or use
MULTIPLE RECORD EDITOR to associate a set of records.)
When you use an entry application to add a new observation
of interest to this group,
remember to associate it with this group.
Also, encourage other group members
to associate their own relevant observations with this group.
Add comments on other members' observations when it serves the group's purpose.
From the GROUP HOME PAGE for your group, POST messages
giving direction about what you are trying achieve. (POSTed
message are sent as email to members who have enabled email notifications.
All members can see them when they go to My Calflora / Groups,
or to the Group Home page.)
The Data Czar Role
If you are the owner of a group,
you can designate certain members of the groups to have
the Data Czar role.
A member with the Data Czar role is able to
edit any record associated with the group.
If needed, you might want to designate yourself, the owner of the group,
as having the Data Czar role, and if really needed,
one or two other responsible members of the group.
The Data Czar role is a strong and potentially dangerous
capability, so please use it sparingly.
The real reason for this role is
to enable a group owner to impose quality standards
on all records associated with a group.
Adding an Observation to a Group
Once you have joined a group, if you have made a
plant observation record that seems pertinent to that group,
you can associate your record with the group.
Once your record is associated, it will appear in the activity
stream of that group, and come to the attention of other members of that group.
How to do it:
In the upper left, there is a drop down containing all of your groups.
Choose the group you want the record to be associated with,
and then press .
Once your record appears in the activity stream of a group,
members of the group who have enabled email notifications will also receive
an email about it.
One Observation Record to more than One Group
Some users have asked whether it is possible to associate a record
with more than one group. It isn't possible, but there is something you can do
which has much the same effect:
Suppose you have an observation record, and it is associated with group A.
Members of group A will see your record in the activity stream of
Suppose you also want members of group B to be
aware of your record. If you are a member of group B,
write a comment on the record, and send the comment to
Members of group B will see your comment, with a link to the record,
in the activity stream of group B.
If the record has a photo, the photo will also be included in the activity stream.
Members of the group who have enabled email notifications will also receive
an email about it.
(Note that you can also
post a message
to group B that contains a link
to the record, which will have the same effect.
One advantage of using a comment instead of a post
is that for a comment, if the record has a photo,
the photo will be included in the activity stream
for the target group.)
Comment vs. POST:
When a comment on a record appears in the activity
stream of a group, it will always have a link to the record.
If the record has a photo, the photo will be included.
When a POST appears in the activity
stream of a group, it can have a link to anything
-- for instance, to an Observation Hotline search.
Membership Options: Email Notifications
As a member of a group, you can determine whether
email notifications are sent to you about activity in the group.
To control email notifications, start by going to
My Calflora / Preferences,
If you do not want to receive any email notifications, uncheck
the boxes in the EMAIL section.
Otherwise, check the boxes for how often you would like to
Then, to control from which groups you will get notifications,
My Calflora / Groups,.
for each of your groups.
Uncheck the email box if you do not want to receive notifications,
Weed Manager: Are You an Active Data Contributor?
By default, when you become part of a Weed Manager group,
you are an active data contributor to that group.
However, some users are members of many Weed Manager groups,
but are only actively contributing data to one or two of them.
You can choose not to be an active data contributor
for one of your Weed Manager groups by
for the group, and unchecking
I'm an active data contributor
If you are not an active data contributor for a group,
then historical records will
not be loaded into the Observer Pro phone app from this group the next time you do a refresh.
(This might make the refresh happen more quickly.)
Also, named polygons associated with the group will not
be available from Plant Observation Entry
or other web applications.
Access by other users
With the entry applications such as
Observation Entry, you can decide whether
your observation record is
published (available to all users)
unpublished (not available to all users)
You can also decide to associate your record with
any group of which you are a member.
If you associate a record with a group, it will appear in
the recent activity for that group, and thus come to the
attention of other members of the group.
If you associate an unpublished record with a group,
other members of the group will be able to easily
find it, view it, and comment on it.
This ability is intended to make it possible
for a group of people to work on a set of records
together, out of the public view, until the records
are ready for the public.
Who can view a record depends on who owns it,
whether it is published, and whether it is associated with
published record, not associated with a group
published record, associated with group XYZ
unpublished record, not associated with a group
unpublished record, associated with group XYZ
user, not a member of group XYZ
user, member of group XYZ
If you are a Calflora contributor, you can comment
on any observation record.
To do so, go to the Observation Detail page for
that record, and press
For instance, see this record of
Eriodictyon californium in Napa Co.
If anyone else has commented on the record, you will see their
comments on this page.
Press ADD A COMMENT
to add your own comment.
If you think the identification of the
plant is questionable, check the
Identification of the plant as stated is questionable box,
and explain why. If you suspect that the plant is not wild,
This plant may be cultivated, not wild box.
On the other hand, you can add a short comment just to indicate that you like
the record. "+1" works for this purpose.
If you are a member of any groups, you can associate your comment
with one of your groups -- then, your comment will appear in the
stream for that group.
You can edit or delete any of your comments at any time.
To see all the comments you have made, go to the
My Calflora / Comments
page, and search for
Comments I have made.
To see comments others may have made about your observations,
go to the same page, and search for
Comments on my observations.
Posting a Message
It is also possible to post a general
message, including a link, to any group of which you are a member.
Unlike a comment, a post is not tied to a particular observation,
but might refer (via the link) to a particular search.
Informed comments can be
a helpful source of feedback
to the person responsible for an observation,
even if that person does not agree with it.
For legacy observation data (where the observer is
either not known, or no longer around),
comments can also help Calflora
volunteers and staff to get erroneous records out of the way.
Center point for observations
My Calflora / Preferences,
you can specify your own center point for
observations. This becomes the starting point for various applications, including
Observation Entry, My Observations, and Observation Hotline.
(If you haven't specified a center point, these applications start
in the middle of the state, near Fresno.)
you have questions about groups, privacy or comments;
you experience problems, or the software does
not seem to be working as it should;
you have suggestions about how groups and comments
might work better for your purposes; or
you notice any inappropriate content or abuse of the system.
The Group Home page (v. 1.02) now shows all saved searches
and all defined plant lists associated with the group.
February, 2016:My Calflora
v. 1.77 / Groups:
Each group you are a member of has a
feature, where you can control email notifications
on a per group basis.
Also, for a Weed Manager group, you can choose not to be
an active data contributor --
this will avoid the time spent loading historical
records from that group onto the Observer Pro phone app.