Locus Maps App: Finder of Misplaced Telephones and Nice for Surveys Too

Locus Maps App: Finder of Misplaced Telephones and Nice for Surveys Too

Have you ever ever misplaced one thing and by no means discovered it once more? I simply typically want that all the things ought to have some form of a GPS system hooked up to it in order that we all know its location at all times. Would possibly sound fairly impractical however then simply think about, I might have discovered my favourite jacket that was left behind on a connecting flight or the Bluetooth headphones that went lacking on a bumpy bus journey and even an umbrella that was forgotten in a rainforest. However I’m not right here to present you an account of misplaced umbrellas; reasonably, I hope that my expertise will assist you to find what you might be searching for.

My work with consultancies and analysis organizations includes conducting wildlife and forest surveys. These entail touring to distant places to doc numerous habitats and the species they help. A significant a part of my work includes mapping these habitats to know the research space and what species to search for there. I get pleasure from each little bit of the expertise, being outside, assembly folks and watching their amused faces, after I ask if they’ve noticed a “chamgadar” or bats. It additionally feels a bit like a detective, following leads, attempting to uncover the secrets and techniques of nature.

Once I first began doing these surveys, I used to be utilizing a devoted GPS system, one which precisely triangulated my place to about three-meter accuracy. I used to be utilizing a Garmin eTrex 20 (mockingly, I feel I misplaced a type of too—a tool meant to search out locations), which is a rugged piece of {hardware} for the sector. Nevertheless, when you recognize that all the things from little toys to fridges have contact screens now, a tool with out one begins feeling nearly prehistoric.

To my amusement, I’ve discovered myself tapping on its display screen on a couple of event. The system additionally did not have any map within the background as a base map. Think about Google Maps to be only a clean display screen with an arrow displaying your place. Making an attempt to determine methods so as to add a base map to the GPS additionally appeared like an excessive amount of work.

So, after just a few trials, I started researching Android apps that would serve the identical goal. Factors collected utilizing the GPS are considered utilizing the desktop-based Google Earth software program, however there was no Google Earth for android again then. Enter Locus Maps Free.

Locus Maps is exclusive, for its skill to help numerous file codecs which are utilized in completely different desktop mapping software program. It additionally acknowledges the usual “.gpx” extension information generated by the GPS system. With an intuitive interface and a built-in compass, this software program wins you over fully. To high it off you’ll be able to select any base map within the background by putting in an add-on app from the Google Playstore. This permits one to load Google imagery as a base map.

Rohit Pansare
Picture Credit score: Locus Maps appears loads like Google Maps however you’ll be able to import GPS information

So now, earlier than I start my field-work, I switch all the information layers just like the research space, forest or protected space boundaries, settlements, and water our bodies to my android system after which load them onto Locus Maps. This fashion I do know the place I’ve to go to and might visualize and plan my subsequent survey location primarily based on highway connectivity and time constraints.

Nevertheless, there may be one incident that made Locus Maps everlasting in my app-list. This occurred at a distant location in the course of a scrub forest (whose location shall stay undisclosed on account of a confidentiality settlement). It might have occurred to anybody. I imply so many people have forgotten our telephones in an autorickshaw or left it on the restaurant desk. Sadly, this time the telephone wasn’t left behind in such a simple to entry location.

The entire of that day had been a washout with hardly any sightings. My colleague and I had been on a lookout for raptors or birds of prey like eagles or buzzards. Sightings, though uncommon, had been essential for our research as these birds are thought-about vital. This scrub forest appeared promising however was navigable solely in a four-wheel drive with an skilled driver. So, we had taken our time and scheduled this a part of the survey for the night. Whereas on one in every of these tracks, I noticed a chook, perched on a small stump. The setting solar was proper behind the chook, which made it not possible to determine it.

We stopped at a secure distance in order that we do not disturb it. I slowly opened the door, obtained down on all fours, and began crawling in direction of the chook with my digital camera swung on to my again. To get near it, I needed to be fast earlier than the solar disappeared behind the horizon however accomplish that stealthily. I found that it was an grownup Lengthy-legged Buzzard, a raptor that breeds within the Himalayas and Central Asia and spends winters within the North Indian plains. I rapidly obtained some photos and returned to the automobile. We determined to move again to the resort after noting down the final survey level.

About half-an-hour into the drive, I noticed my telephone was lacking. I searched calmly on the seat, in my bag and every of the six to eight pockets of my cargo pants. Nothing! Panic-stricken, I advised the motive force to activate the cabin mild because it was getting darkish and started looking once more. That is when it hit me!

Whereas getting out of the automobile to take that final image, I had obtained down on all fours. Understanding that I may need to crawl, I had taken my telephone out from my entrance pocket and positioned it—not in my bag, not on my seat, not in any of my seven different pockets, however the small house on the footrest of the automobile. I advised the motive force to cease and jumped out of the automobile to test if my telephone had managed to cling to the footrest with its expensive life. After all not, who was I attempting to idiot?

The subsequent issues occurred quick, we turned the automobile round and began heading again in direction of our final location. Reaching there earlier than darkish was vital. Fortunately, I had introduced one other telephone loaded with Locus Maps, which I had been utilizing for recording the survey factors. I tapped on the final level, that introduced up a small pop-up with particulars like the space and route from my present location. I tapped on an choice to navigate to the purpose. Identical to Google Maps, Locus Maps began giving me directions at every flip. By the point we entered the scrub forest, it was already darkish. My colleague began calling on my quantity hoping that our ears will be capable to decide up the ringtone because the automobile winded its means in direction of the final level. A couple of hundred meters from there, my eye caught a dim mild within the dusty observe beneath. There it was, lined in mud however nonetheless intact. It was a miracle that we hadn’t run over it within the first place, however fortunately, Locus Maps had saved the day!

Rohit is an unbiased environmental advisor, skilled coach and a documentary photographer primarily based in Mumbai. Over the past decade, he has been part of inter-disciplinary analysis and consultancy initiatives on local weather change, city biodiversity, environmental training, open-source mapping and citizen science initiatives.

When not along with his digital camera, he could be discovered tending to vegetation or combating author’s block on his Instagram deal with. You may as well mail him right here.

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