If you are a scientist doing fieldwork in the jungles, then you are far from the routes you can find on Google Maps. On a calm and cool evening inside Corbett National Park’s core zone, our vehicle was jerking off some unfamiliar sidewalks, when our driver said, I was nervous and tense.Sir! It seems that we have taken the wrong path… ..!“They said they felt we were on the wrong track, and there was a camera trap to retrieve me, so my driver’s words were the last thing I was hearing.
As Sonu struggled to hit the right track, I tried to do every detail together, hoping to find the way I could find. After about 20 minutes of fruitless driving and brain racking, I remembered that I had done the mapping of the entire path, completing the deployed camera straps. In Locus MapA popular GPS based mapping app that many researchers use for such situations. It took us another 15 minutes to make a round and finally reached the desired place. I took off the camera trap and climbed back into the vehicle. Through photos, I could not decide what was more relief and joy for me at that moment, beautifully captured images of tigers in the camera, or the Locus Map in my phone still widely on my screen Are open.
As researchers we usually use this app to mark important locations such as camera trap deployment, animal den sites, a river source, or more commonly, a particular remote village site. I came across this app two years ago while working on Tiger Gray’s ecology as a project associate with Tiger Watch. My objective was to assess the use of Indian-gray wolf habitat inside the Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS). I used a software called ArcGIS to lay out a grid of every 4×4 sq km across the entire study area spanning 684 sq km, but handheld GPS did not allow all grids to be visible at the same time. My colleagues, a field zoologist working in the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, came to my rescue,
“Suno, tum Locus Map Download Car. Don’t get into the rest of the mess. “(Just download the Locus map).” It uses the phone’s GPS to locate someone’s current location. It has a huge repository of maps around the world, and the best thing about it, is its internet connection. Works without. You set it up, and see for yourself, “he said.
In no time I was well versed with the application. I imported my grid file into the app, and there all 48 grids were visible at the same time, as I wanted. Although it now seemed easier to see the 48 grids together, walking through each of them to collect data on the direct and indirect signals of the wolves, while recording the total running track, marking important locations along the way. Was a challenging task. Therefore, I contacted some wildlife volunteers from KWS villages working with Tiger Watch. I passed on my new found knowledge of the Locus Map to the volunteers and trained them on its proper use without confusing it. I marked some locations as landmarks to make them easier to locate the starting point of the grid.
By covering 5 grids per day, 10–12 kilometers in each grid, we were able to cover all the grids in the next ten days. The data was stored securely in the app and yielded some surprising results. We were able to document and mark signs of wolves, hyenas, foxes, chinkara, nilgai, golden jackal, rabbit, bear, leopard and even some signs of tiger.
Trekking in remote forests for data collection at animal locations can be quite challenging and I often find it difficult to remember the route taken after walking several kilometers. In times like these, technologies such as GPS, Locus Map, etc. provide much-needed support, although traditional handheld GPS navigation devices are not very user-friendly and, unlike the latter, do not provide comprehensive maps that allow it to ‘know’ make capable. For the upcoming terrain, what the route looks like, its length, elevation profile etc. every now and then, I click pictures using it and easily geotag them for future reference.
There will be a hooliganism on my part to limit the relevance of the Locus Map to the world of wildlife research, as I have also actively used it on leisure mountaineering and trekking trips. On one such occasion, I recommended it to a friend. The user-friendliness of the app has made it a favorite with him. For people who are bad at remembering directions, a little knowledge of life saving techniques hurts them.
In the present world a life without technology would probably be unimaginable. But it may not be the wisest option to take control of our lives, especially during forest exploration. Once during data collection on elephant dung, I looked at the mobile screen to continuously record my eyes and forgot for a moment that I was in a forest. Walking along the Transct line I suddenly encountered a herd of elephants. Anyone who has experienced a herd of animals chasing them in an unknown forest will not mind throwing away their phone to save their lives!
Prashant Mahajan Master’s degree in Wildlife Sciences from Aligarh Muslim University, apart from graduation in Zoology from Delhi University, and Author. He has worked on the ecology of wolves in Rajasthan and was part of the research team of the “All India Tiger Monitoring” project with the Wildlife Institute of India. Currently he is a Project Fellow at the Wildlife Institute of India.
Juno Negi Is a researcher And blogger Who completed her postgraduate studies in anthropology with a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Delhi University. Currently working as a Junior Research Fellow at the Wildlife Institute of India.
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