Locus in Focal point: One Scientist’s Tale About Navigating within the Wild


What do you do in case you are a scientist sporting out fieldwork in forests, some distance from routes you’ll be able to to find on Google Maps? On a quiet and chilly night within the Core zone of Corbett Nationwide Park, our automobile jerking alongside some unfamiliar trail, I used to be worried and annoying when our driving force mentioned, “Sir ji! lagta hai galat rasta pakad liya humne..!” He mentioned he concept we had been at the improper course, and I had a digital camera lure to retrieve, so the ones phrases from my driving force had been the very last thing I used to be hoping to listen to.

As Sonu struggled to hit the suitable monitor, I attempted piecing in combination each element I may collect, hoping to seek out the best way. After on the subject of 20 mins of futile using and mind racking, I remembered that I had mapped all the course resulting in the deployed digital camera traps in Locus Map, a well-liked GPS-based mapping app that many researchers use for eventualities like this one. It took us every other 15 mins to take a detour and after all achieve the specified location. I took off the digital camera lure and climbed again into the automobile. Going during the pictures, I may no longer come to a decision what introduced extra reduction and happiness to me at that second, the superbly captured pictures of tigers within the digital camera, or the Locus Map in my telephone nonetheless extensive open on my display.

As researchers we regularly use this app for marking vital places like that of digital camera lure deployments, animal den websites, a river {source}, or in additional normal, a selected far flung village website online. I got here throughout this app two years again whilst operating at the ecology of Indian Gray Wolf as a Mission Go along with Tiger Watch. My purpose used to be to evaluate the habitat use of Indian-grey wolf within the Kailadevi Natural world Sanctuary (KWS). I used a instrument referred to as ArcGIS to put grids of 4×4 sq. km every at the complete find out about house spanning 684 sq. km, however the hand-held GPS didn’t permit the entire grids to be visual on the identical time. A fellow researcher, a box biologist operating within the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve got here to my rescue,

The interface of Locus Map
Picture Credit score: Screenshots by means of 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 stumble on one’s present location. It has a limiteless repository of maps from far and wide the sector, and the most productive factor about it, it really works even with out an Web connection. You put in it, and spot for your self,” he mentioned.

Inside of no time I used to be smartly versed with the applying. I imported my grid document to the app, and there they had been, all 48 grids visual on the identical time, simply as I had sought after. Even if taking a look at 48 grids in combination now appeared simple, strolling thru every of them to gather knowledge on wolf’s direct and oblique indicators, whilst additionally recording the whole walked monitor, marking the vital places at the manner appeared a frightening activity to me. So, I approached some natural world volunteers from the KWS villages operating with Tiger Watch. I handed on my new discovered wisdom of Locus Map to the volunteers and skilled them on its correct use with out making it complicated for them. I marked some places as landmarks to make it more straightforward for them to find the place to begin of the grid.

At five grids in step with day, traversing 10-12 kms in every grid, we had been in a position to hide the entire grids within the subsequent ten days. The knowledge used to be safely saved within the app and yielded some wonderful effects. We had been in a position to file and mark indicators of wolves, hyenas, foxes, chinkara, nilgai, golden jackals, hares, bears, leopards or even few indicators of tiger.

Trekking in far flung forests for knowledge assortment on animal places can also be reasonably difficult and I’ve continuously had problem remembering the course taken after a number of kilometres of strolling. In occasions like those, applied sciences like GPS, Locus Map and many others. give you the much-needed help, even supposing typical hand held GPS navigation gadgets don’t seem to be a lot user-friendly and don’t supply complete maps not like the latter which does it enabling one to ‘know’ the approaching terrain, how the course seems like, its period, elevation profile and many others. Once in a while, I click on footage the usage of it and geotag them simply for long term 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 sector of natural world analysis could be a legal on my section, as I’ve actively used it on recreational mountaineering and trekking journeys too. On one such instance, I really helpful it to one in every of my pals. The user-friendliness of the app has made it a favorite along with her. For any individual who’s unhealthy at remembering instructions, a bit wisdom of life-saving applied sciences like those has executed her no hurt. 

A lifestyles with out era within the provide global would possibly be unattainable. However to let it take regulate over our lives is probably not the wisest possibility, particularly all the way through wooded area explorations. As soon as all the way through knowledge assortment on elephant dung, I had my eyes glued to the cellular display to file knowledge ceaselessly and for a second forgot I used to be in a wooded area. Strolling alongside the transect line I all of sudden encountered a herd of elephants passing during the transect. Any individual who has skilled a herd of thumping beasts chasing them in an unknown wooded area would not thoughts throwing their telephone to avoid wasting their lifestyles!


Prashant Mahajan holds a Grasp’s level in Natural world Sciences from Aligarh Muslim College, but even so being a graduate in Zoology from the Delhi College, and a creator. He has labored at the ecology of wolves in Rajasthan and used to be part of the analysis staff of the “All India Tiger Tracking” challenge with Natural world Institute of India. These days he’s a Mission Fellow at Natural world Institute of India.

Juno Negi is a researcher and blogger who finished her post-graduation in Anthropology with a bachelor’s level in Zoology, from the College of Delhi. These days operating as a Junior Analysis Fellow on the Natural world Institute of India.

This sequence is an initiative by means of the Nature Conservation Basis, below their programme Nature Verbal exchange to inspire nature content material in all Indian languages. If you are interested by writing on nature and birds, please refill this way.


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