What do you do when you’re a scientist finishing up fieldwork in forests, removed from routes yow will discover on Google Maps? On a quiet and chilly night contained in the Core zone of Corbett Nationwide Park, our automobile jerking alongside some unfamiliar path, I used to be nervous and tense when our driver mentioned, “Sir ji! lagta hai galat rasta pakad liya humne..!” He mentioned he thought we had been on the mistaken route, and I had a digital camera 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 monitor, I attempted piecing collectively each element I may collect, hoping to search out the best way. After shut to twenty minutes of futile driving and mind racking, I remembered that I had mapped your entire route resulting in the deployed digital camera 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 digital camera entice and climbed again into the automobile. Going by the images, I couldn’t determine what introduced extra reduction and happiness to me at that second, the fantastically captured photographs of tigers within the digital camera, or the Locus Map in my telephone nonetheless large open on my display.
As researchers we generally use this app for marking necessary places like that of digital camera entice deployments, animal den websites, a river supply, or in additional common, 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 Challenge 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 referred to 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 permit all of the grids to be seen on the similar time. A fellow researcher, a discipline biologist working within the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve got here to my rescue,
“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 unlimited repository of maps from everywhere in the world, and one of the best factor about it, it really works even with out an Web connection. You put in it, and see for your self,” he mentioned.
Inside no time I used to be properly versed with the applying. I imported my grid file to the app, and there they had been, all 48 grids seen on the similar time, simply as I had needed. Though taking a look at 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 overall walked monitor, marking the necessary places on the best way appeared a frightening job 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 educated them on its correct use with out making it complicated for them. I marked some places 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 information 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 places could be fairly difficult and I’ve typically had issue remembering the route taken after a number of kilometres of strolling. In occasions like these, applied sciences like GPS, Locus Map and many others. present the much-needed help, though typical handheld GPS navigation units should not a lot user-friendly and don’t present complete maps not like the latter which does it enabling one to ‘know’ the upcoming terrain, how the route seems like, its size, elevation profile and many others. Every so often, I click on footage utilizing it and geotag them simply for future reference.
To restrict the relevance of Locus Map to the world of wildlife analysis can be a felony on my half, as I’ve actively used it on leisure mountaineering and trekking journeys too. On one such event, I really helpful it to one in all my mates. The user-friendliness of the app has made it a favorite along with her. For somebody who’s dangerous at remembering instructions, a bit of data of life-saving applied sciences like these has accomplished her no hurt.
A life with out expertise 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 cellular display to report information repeatedly and for a second forgot I used to be in a forest. Strolling alongside the transect line I abruptly 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 avoid wasting 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 author. He has labored on the ecology of wolves in Rajasthan and was part of the analysis staff of the “All India Tiger Monitoring” venture with Wildlife Institute of India. At present he’s a Challenge 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 sequence is an initiative by the Nature Conservation Basis, beneath their programme Nature Communication to encourage nature content material in all Indian languages. In case you’re eager about writing on nature and birds, please refill this manner.
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