Leaf area index (LAI) is a key biophysical parameter used to determine foliage cover and crop growth in environmental studies in order to assess crop yield. Frequently, plant canopy analyzers (LAI-2000) and digital cameras for hemispherical photography (DHP) are used for indirect effective plant area index (PAIeff) estimates. Nevertheless, these instruments are expensive and have the disadvantages of low portability and maintenance. Recently, a smartphone app called PocketLAI was presented and tested for acquiring PAIeff measurements. It was used during an entire rice season for indirect PAIeff estimations and for deriving reference high-resolution PAIeff maps. Ground PAIeff values acquired with PocketLAI, LAI-2000, and DHP were well correlated (R2 = 0.95, RMSE = 0.21 m2/m2 for Licor-2000, and R2 = 0.94, RMSE = 0.6 m2/m2 for DHP). Complementary data such as phenology and leaf chlorophyll content were acquired to complement seasonal rice plant information provided by PAIeff. High-resolution PAIeff maps, which can be used for the validation of remote sensing products, have been derived using a global transfer function (TF) made of several measuring dates and their associated satellite radiances. © 2016 by the authors.