logo Calflora Groups and Privacy   HELP


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 polygons. 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.

Introducing Groups
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If the members of a group are engaged in active data collection, they can also share unpublished observations with each other, before those observations are available to all Calflora users.

For more information, please
contact Calflora support.

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 (EDN) group. 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 (see below). 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 (see below). Anyone in the EDN group with email notification turned on will receive an email with your comment.

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. Press RECENT ACTIVITY to see 1. recent observations that are associated with a group, and 2. recent comments about those observations.

Each group is a potential stream of observations and comments, and it all shows up on this page.

If you need help identifying plants (or are good at identifying plants from photos), join the PLANT ID HELP 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 My Observations 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.

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.

For more about member roles in Weed Manager groups, please see Weed Manager Member Roles.

    Why? 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:

  • Go to My Observations and find the record.

  • Click on the ID to edit the record with Plant Observation Entry.

  • 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 group A.

Suppose you also want members of group B to be aware of your record. If you are a member of group B, you can write a comment on the record, and send the comment to group B,

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.

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 receive notifications.

Then, to control from which groups you will get notifications, go to My Calflora / Groups,. Open membership options 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 assumed to be 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 opening membership options 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.

Group Applications

Several web applications are available to facilitate data collection by groups.

Group Observations -- view and download observations from a group.

Multiple Group Search -- view, download, and edit observations from more than one group.

Manage Groups -- add users to your group, and set user permissions.

Group Reports -- run standard reports on the observations your group has collected.



Access by other users
With the entry applications such as Plant 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 any group.

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
record owner yes yes yes yes
user, not a member of group XYZ yes yes no no
user, member of group XYZ yes yes no yes


Questions or problems

    Please WRITE TO US if
    • you have questions about groups, privacy or comments;
    • you experience problems, or the software does not seem to be working as it should;
    • you notice any inappropriate content or abuse of the system.


• April, 2016:   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 membership options 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.

Development of the group system was partially funded by the Morro Bay National Estuary Program and the Bay Area Early Detection Network.