CNDDB Maps and Data

The CNDDB is comprised of two data components: Text information and spatial information. Text information is available through RareFind 5 and provides essential information about special status species and occurrences. Spatial information is available through GIS downloads or can be viewed in the BIOS Viewer. Spatial information is important but MUST be used in conjunction with the text information in order to fully understand and appreciate the CNDDB's rare species information. Users must have a CNDDB subscription to access RareFind 5, CNDDB data in BIOS, and CNDDB spatial data downloads.

All uses of data from the CNDDB are subject to the terms and conditions contained in our License Agreement (PDF)(opens in new tab).

Please refer to our Data Use Guidelines (PDF)(opens in new tab) document for information on using the CNDDB data.

Attention CNDDB subscribers: starting February 4, 2020, any subscription user wishing to access CNDDB-related data will be required to register for an individual CDFW account and be listed as an authorized user under a current CNDDB subscription. The cnddb_gov and cnddb_com login credentials will be discontinued. More information can be found in the Subscription User Management Instructions and FAQ (PDF)(opens in new tab), or by contacting your organization’s subscription administrator.

RareFind 5

RareFind 5 is an Internet application that allows for complex querying and reporting of CNDDB data. RareFind 5 also allows users to easily view the spatial features of occurrence records queried by displaying that information in the BIOS Viewer. Being able to easily maneuver between RareFind 5 and the BIOS Viewer is very useful for those subscribers without access to GIS software.

Note: RareFind does not return Spotted Owl information. Users should refer to the Spotted Owl Observations Database in BIOS if working in Spotted Owl habitat.


People are often confused about the difference between the CNDDB and BIOS. The CNDDB is a program that tracks rare species. BIOS is a program that houses many biological and environmental datasets; those datasets are viewable through the BIOS Viewer, an Internet-based map viewer. CNDDB data is just one of many datasets available for viewing in the BIOS Viewer. Please see this side-by-side comparison of the CNDDB and BIOS.

The links below will open the BIOS Viewer with CNDDB and the Spotted Owl Observations Database already pre-loaded. The BIOS Viewer will allow you to view CNDDB and Spotted Owl data spatially, add labels, and print maps without the need to have GIS software installed on your computer. The BIOS Viewer has some limited reporting and querying capabilities, but more complex spatial analyses and data manipulation will still require the use of a full GIS in conjunction with RareFind. Please use Edge(opens in new tab) or Chrome(opens in new tab) for best performance.

Password protected; CNDDB government subscription is required.


Monthly CNDDB GIS Data Updates

For those with access to GIS software, CNDDB and Spotted Owl Observations Database spatial data are available for downloading. Updated data is distributed the first Tuesday of the month (or the following day if the Tuesday is a holiday). RareFind 5 and BIOS are automatically updated each month but CNDDB GIS users must remember to update their spatial data on or after the first Tuesday of the month.

Password protected; CNDDB subscription is required.

CNDDB QuickView Tool

The CNDDB QuickView Tool is a free Internet application that provides users with a list of all tracked elements that have been documented by the CNDDB and the Spotted Owl Observations Database (SPOWDB) to occur in a selected USGS 7.5' topographic quad or in a selected county. The tool generates a list with species name and rarity status information. No specific location information is provided in this free application. The information provided by the CNDDB QuickView Tool is NOT a substitute for the CNDDB or the SPOWDB and is NOT a substitute for pre-project surveys. The CNDDB QuickView Tool is intended for general informational use only.

The CNDDB QuickView Tool is useful for:

  • Producing simple species lists by quad or county.
  • Performing 9 quad searches with one click.
  • Viewing quad data by species.
  • Determining if there are any records for a particular quad/county not yet processed in the CNDDB (unprocessed data has not been reviewed by the CNDDB for accuracy).
  • Querying for California Rare Plant Rank 3 and 4 plant species.

Free. The CNDDB QuickView Tool is accessed in the BIOS Viewer. The tool provides access to the CNDDB and the SPOWDB data at the 7.5′ Quadrangle and County level. For more information on how to use the CNDDB QuickView Tool, see the CNDDB QuickView Tool User Guide (PDF)(opens in new tab). Please use Edge(opens in new tab) or Chrome(opens in new tab) for best performance.

For more detailed CNDDB and SPOWDB information, a subscription is required.


CNDDB staff work very hard to keep the database as current and up-to-date as possible given our capabilities and resources. However, we cannot and do not portray the CNDDB as an exhaustive and comprehensive inventory of all rare species statewide. Field verification for the presence or absence of sensitive species will always be an important obligation of our users. In addition, CNDDB data contains information on sensitive resources so there are certain restrictions when using, displaying, and sharing our data. Please see our License Agreement (PDF)(opens in new tab) and Data Use Guidelines (PDF)(opens in new tab) for further information.