logo Calflora Shape Editor Help
With the Shape Editor application, you can view and edit any of the lines and polygons you may have added while you were entering observations. You can also enter a new line or polygon. You can also upload a polygon shapefile, so that the polygons in the file become available for search in Observation Hotline and What Grows Here?.

As a Calflora contributor, you have your own portfolio of lines and polygons. Each time you enter an observation record with a line or polygon, the line or polygon goes into this portfolio. Each time you make a search polygon from Observation Hotline or What Grows Here?, and save it by name, it goes into this portfolio.

If you are a member of a group, then any lines or polygons associated with the group will also be available to you through this application. You can also share your polygons with a group.

A line or polygon stored by this application has only the following attributes:
  • ID
  • Geometry
  • Purpose (search, assessment, treatment, REGION, or TRAIL)
  • Name (optional)
  • Group (optional)
The reason to give a polygon a name is so that you can find it and use it over and over again -- for instance, to search for observations inside of the polygon from the Observation Hotline application.

If you upload a shapefile of lines or polygons with this application you will be able to choose a single attribute from the shapefile to become the name of the line or polygon as it resides on Calflora. Other attributes will be ignored.

If you have a shapefile with plant observation data in it, and you want to load the observations into your Calflora account, this is not the right application to use. If will be much easier to upload a shapefile of observations into your Calflora account if you use the Observation Upload application instead.

Please contact Calflora support with any questions about using this application.
Open Search, enter some parameters, and press .

Search Criteria

  • Name: The name of the shape.

  • Group: If a group is selected, only shapes associated with that group will be returned.

  • Purpose: See below.

  • only named shapes: When this is checked, only shape recrods that have names will be returned.

  • ID: If you know the ID of the shape record you want, enter it here.

  • Type: Type of geometry. One of
    • polygon
    • polygon with holes
    • line
    • multipolygon
    • complex
The results appear in a table below.

Editing a Shape Record
To select a record, click on the purple crayon in the leftmost column. The line or polygon appears on the map, and a panel opens up showing the details of the record.

Open References to view all of the other records that refer to this shape. Other records may include observations, checklists, or Great Places. This feature is useful for finding (and possibly deleting!) shapes which are no longer used.

In the detail panel, press to edit the record.

Editing the Line or Polygon
Press to change the line or polygon. When editing, the vertices appear on the map as follows: The first vertex appears as a white diamond, . Every other vertex appears as a orange square, .

If you are editing a polygon, the inside of the polygon is colored purple. You can change the map zoom level, or re-position the map by dragging, while you are editing.

Drag a vertex to move it. Click directly on a vertex to delete it. To add a new vertex, click on the map. The new vertex will be inserted in between the closest two existing vertices. If the new vertex does not go where you expect, delete it, and try clicking very close to an existing vertex, and then dragging the new vertex to where it belongs.

To delete many vertices at once, check
    Select vertices by rectangle
and then drag the mouse on the map to define a gray rectangle.

Press to delete all vertices within the rectangle.

Press when you are done. Press to save the changes.

Edit Actions
Open Edit Actions to do any of the following operations on the currently selected shape:
    simplify Remove vertices to make the shape simpler. The value of Level of simplification determines how agressively vertices will be removed.

    When the processing is finished, it will tell you how many vertices were removed, show the simplified version, and ask if you want to keep the simplified version.

    make a copy Make a copy of the current shape.
    show as background The current shape will be shown in a different color as a background. It will stay visible until you press the clear background(s) button. Several shapes can be shown in the background at the same time. This can be useful if you want to draw a new shape, and need to use an existing shape as a reference.
    generate a polygon Generate a polygon from the current shape. This function uses the value of Buffer (meters) to determine how close the new polygon's perimeter will be to the original shape. With a low value such as 5, it will be very close. With a high value such as 20, it will be farther away.

    If you check Allow holes, this function will generate a polygon with holes under certain circumstances, such as if the current shape is a line that crosses itself. It is more likely to generate a polygon with holes with a low value of Buffer.

    Note that when you save the newly generated polygon, it will replace the original shape in the database. (If you are going to need the original shape as well as the new polygon, copy the original shape first.)

    Use. Typically this function is used to generate a polygon from a line. However, it is also convenient in some other situations:

    • If you have a polygon with holes, and you would rather have a very similar polygon without holes, you can use this function to get rid of the holes.
    • You can also use this function to add a buffer around an existing polygon -- the newly generated polygon will be a little bit bigger and have softer edges than the original.
This operation is also available if the current shape is a line:
    convert to a polygon Join the first vertex to the last vertex to make a polygon.

    Here are some examples of polygons generated from lines.
    Note the holes in 2C. below, when the value of Buffer is 6.

    1A. Original line

    1B. Generated polygon, Buffer = 5

    2A. Original line

    2B. Generated polygon, Buffer = 10

    2C. Generated polygon, Buffer = 6

    3A. Generated polygon, Buffer = 1

    3C. Generated polygon, Buffer = 2

    3C. Generated polygon, Buffer = 3

Adding a Shape Record
To add a new record, press Draw another. A panel opens up where you can enter the details of the record. Choose LINE if you plan to draw a line. Otherwise choose POLYGON if you plan to draw a polygon. Then press .

Click on the map to add vertices. The first vertex appears as a white diamond, . Every other vertex appears as a yellow square, .

    Drawing a Polygon. As soon as you have clicked to define three vertices, the map shows a polygon with the inside colored purple. Each new click on the map adds a vertex in between the first vertex and the last vertex.

    Drawing a Line. Each new click on the map adds a vertex to the end of the line.

Drag a vertex to move it. Click directly on a vertex to delete it.

Press when you are done.

Press to delete vertices or add new vertices.

Press to save the new record.

Note that if you have a shapefile containing plant observations, this is not the right application; if will be much easier if you use Observation Upload instead. Please contact Calflora support with any questions.

To upload a shapefile from your local computer, open Upload.

In Step 1, browse to find the four component files of a shapefile. (Note that the .prj file is necessary, and that .prj files are sometimes hidden on Windows systems.)

When you press , the shapefile is uploaded to the server and stored in a temporary database table.

When the upload is successful you will see this message:
In Step 2, you assign values to the new polygon records. You will see a few lines from the shapefile showing the available attributes. Choose which attribute should become the name of the polygon in your Calflora portfolio. You can also choose to associate all of these polygons with one of your groups. You can also assign a purpose for each polygon.

In the example on the right, the available attributes from the shapefile are LAYER, COUNT, CNPS, CHPTBNDA_, and CHPTBNDA_J. In this case, the user chose the attribute CNPS to become the name of the polygon -- by looking at the records in the table, you can see that this attribute has values like Dorothy King Young and Sanhedrin.

In this case, the user chose "search" as the value of Purpose, so that these polygons will be available for searching from applications such as Observation Hotline.

If you are planning to use the uploaded polygons in observation records, then set Purpose to "assessment", and they will be available from the Plant Observation Entry application.

Once you have assigned values, press .

When the records have been added, you will see this message:

To find the records you just added, use the search function of this application.

After you have searched for some shape records, you can download them to your computer, and then use them in desktop GIS. At the moment the only supported format is GeoJSON. If you need the shapes in a shapefile, download them as GeoJSON and then use QGIS to convert them to a shapefile.
The Purpose Attribute
Each shape record can have one of five possible purposes:
  • assessment: Part of an observation record that does not include treatment information. This line or polygon indicates the extent of a population of plants.

  • treatment: Part of an observation record that includes treatment information. This line or polygon indicates where the treatment occurred.

  • search: An area of interest for searching in Observation Hotline or What Grows Here?.

  • REGION: A variation of search. Certain Weed Manager organizations have defined the areas (or regions) that they are responsible for as polygons. If a particular group has a set of regions defined in Calflora, then when new observations come in associated with that group, the coordinates of the observation will be matched against region boundaries, and if possible, the Region field of the observation record will be assigned accordingly.

  • TRAIL: A line indicating a trail.
• March, 2019:   In v. 1.09, when you are editing a shape, there is a new Select vertices by rectangle function. You can use this function to delete many vertices at once.

• January, 2018:   In v. 1.00, the generate a polygon function has been improved, and is now available with buffer values from 1 meter to 20 meters. Note that it can take a long time to run, more so with a large original line and/or a small buffer value.

• September, 2017:   As of v. 0.98, you can search by geometry type (eg. line polygon etc).

• June, 2017:   As of v. 0.95, this application can display multipolygons and polygons with holes. However, it is still possible to edit only simple polygons and lines.

• July, 2016:   As of v. 0.86, the editor panel opens under the selected record, instead of at the top of the page. Also, the vertice count of the selected shape is displayed.

• December, 2015:   As of v. 0.70, the shapefile uploader takes up more room on the page, so that it is easier to see the attributes.

• August, 2014:   As of v. 0.60, this application has the ability to upload a shapefile. The polygons in the shapefile can become part of your personal portfolio of shapes, or part of your group's portfolio of shapes.

REGION is a new possible value for purpose.

• August, 2014:   v. 0.59 (beta) released.