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Home Technology Locus in Focus: One Scientist's Story About Navigating in the Wild

Locus in Focus: One Scientist’s Story About Navigating in the Wild


What do you do in the event you’re a scientist finishing up fieldwork in forests, removed from routes you’ll find on Google Maps? On a quiet and chilly night contained in the Core zone of Corbett Nationwide Park, our car jerking alongside some unfamiliar path, I used to be nervous and tense when our driver stated, “Sir ji! lagta hai galat rasta pakad liya humne..!” He stated he thought we had been on the incorrect route, and I had a digicam entice to retrieve, so these phrases from my driver had been the very last thing I hoped to listen to.

As Sonu struggled to hit the best observe, I attempted piecing collectively each element I may collect, hoping to seek out the way in which. After shut to twenty minutes of futile driving and mind racking, I remembered that I had mapped your complete route resulting in the deployed digicam traps in Locus Map, a well-liked GPS-based mapping app that many researchers use for conditions like this one. It took us one other quarter-hour to take a detour and eventually attain the specified location. I took off the digicam entice and climbed again into the car. Going by the pictures, I couldn’t determine what introduced extra reduction and happiness to me at that second, the fantastically captured photos of tigers within the digicam, or the Locus Map in my telephone nonetheless large open on my display.

As researchers we generally use this app for marking necessary areas like that of digicam entice deployments, animal den websites, a river supply, or in additional normal, a selected distant village website. I got here throughout this app two years again whereas engaged on the ecology of Indian Gray Wolf as a Venture Affiliate with Tiger Watch. My goal was to evaluate the habitat use of Indian-grey wolf contained in the Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS). I used a software program known as ArcGIS to put grids of 4×4 sq. km every on the entire research space spanning 684 sq. km, however the handheld GPS didn’t enable all of the grids to be seen on the identical time. A fellow researcher, a area biologist working within the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve got here to my rescue,

The interface of Locus Map
Picture Credit score: Screenshots by Prashant Mahajan

Suno, tum Locus Map obtain karo. Ye baaki jhanjhat mein mat pado.” (Simply obtain Locus Map). “It makes use of a telephone’s GPS to detect one’s present location. It has an enormous repository of maps from all around the world, and the most effective factor about it, it really works even with out an Web connection. You put in it, and see for your self,” he stated.

Inside no time I used to be nicely versed with the applying. I imported my grid file to the app, and there they had been, all 48 grids seen on the identical time, simply as I had needed. Though 48 grids collectively now appeared straightforward, strolling by every of them to gather information on wolf’s direct and oblique indicators, whereas additionally recording the full walked observe, marking the necessary areas on the way in which appeared a frightening activity to me. So, I approached some wildlife volunteers from the KWS villages working with Tiger Watch. I handed on my new discovered data of Locus Map to the volunteers and skilled them on its correct use with out making it complicated for them. I marked some areas as landmarks to make it simpler for them to find the start line of the grid.

At 5 grids per day, traversing 10-12 kms in every grid, we had been capable of cowl all of the grids within the subsequent ten days. The info was safely saved within the app and yielded some wonderful outcomes. We had been capable of doc and mark indicators of wolves, hyenas, foxes, chinkara, nilgai, golden jackals, hares, bears, leopards and even few indicators of tiger.

Trekking in distant forests for information assortment on animal areas might be fairly difficult and I’ve typically had problem remembering the route taken after a number of kilometres of strolling. In occasions like these, applied sciences like GPS, Locus Map and so forth. present the much-needed help, though standard handheld GPS navigation gadgets will not be a lot user-friendly and don’t present complete maps in contrast to the latter which does it enabling one to ‘know’ the upcoming terrain, how the route seems to be like, its size, elevation profile and so forth. Once in a while, I click on footage utilizing it and geotag them simply for future reference.

prashant locus tusker elephant

A male tusker at Corbett Nationwide Park
Picture Credit score: Prashant Mahajan

To restrict the relevance of Locus Map to the world of wildlife analysis could be a felony on my half, as I’ve actively used it on leisure mountaineering and trekking journeys too. On one such event, I advisable it to considered one of my mates. The user-friendliness of the app has made it a favorite together with her. For somebody who’s unhealthy at remembering instructions, slightly data of life-saving applied sciences like these has achieved her no hurt. 

A life with out know-how within the current world would maybe be unimaginable. However to let it take management over our lives may not be the wisest choice, particularly throughout forest explorations. As soon as throughout information assortment on elephant dung, I had my eyes glued to the cell display to report information repeatedly and for a second forgot I used to be in a forest. Strolling alongside the transect line I immediately encountered a herd of elephants passing by the transect. Anybody who has skilled a herd of thumping beasts chasing them in an unknown forest would not thoughts throwing their telephone to save lots of their life!


Prashant Mahajan holds a Grasp’s diploma in Wildlife Sciences from Aligarh Muslim College, moreover being a graduate in Zoology from the Delhi College, and a writer. He has labored on the ecology of wolves in Rajasthan and was part of the analysis workforce of the “All India Tiger Monitoring” challenge with Wildlife Institute of India. At present he’s a Venture Fellow at Wildlife Institute of India.

Juno Negi is a researcher and blogger who accomplished her post-graduation in Anthropology with a bachelor’s diploma in Zoology, from the College of Delhi. At present working as a Junior Analysis Fellow on the Wildlife Institute of India.

This collection is an initiative by the Nature Conservation Basis, underneath their programme Nature Communication to encourage nature content material in all Indian languages. For those who’re fascinated with writing on nature and birds, please replenish this form.


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