GPS application in spatial database development of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve
V. B. Mathur & N. K. Gupta
Wildlife Institute of India
Indian Institute of Forest
The remotely sensed data and the array of attribute information on the topographic sheets provide the
basic thematic data layers in any spatial database development. However, in many situations attribute data
is required to be ‘captured’ to enhance the utility of the spatial database, which can be effectively done
through the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. GPS application has become ubiquitous
and has been instrumental in reducing data collection time and preserving data integrity in the data
collection process. GIS and GPS technologies are invariably being used in conjunction with each other. As
a logical step GPS is being used for GIS update. A 48-layered thematic database in GIS domain was
developed for Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), Maharashtra to aid and facilitate management and
monitoring of the resources. It was realized that ‘unique habitats’ comprising caves and culverts which
were being used by a number of wildlife species including tiger and sloth bear had to ‘mapped’ in order to
study the habitat use patterns and develop management strategies.
A Magellan GPS Promark V unit was manually initialized in the study area to update almanac data.
Some of the waypoints whose latitude and longitude were already known were collected in the field to check
the accuracy of the unit. Differential waypoint projection was used to collect data and position fixes were
recorded in 3D mode with high signal quality and low PDOP value. Positional fixes of 18 caves and 42
culverts were obtained and a spatial layer on ‘unique habitats’ was added to the TATR spatial database.
Attribute data on wild animal use alongwith ambient temperature data from inside and outside the caves and
culverts were systematically collected to determine the use patterns on a seasonal basis. Culverts showed
a very interesting use pattern by a wide variety of animals. Among large vertebrates tiger and sloth bear
emerged as the main users. Tiger used the culverts almost throughout the year with the highest usage in
summer. Caves were used mainly by bats followed by sloth bear, reptiles and tigers. Temperature difference
of more than 10 0 C between inside and outside the caves and culverts during the summer months made the
inside environment more conducive to wild animal use.
The study has demonstrated yet another useful and practical application of GPS and has highlighted
the importance of mapping of ‘unique habitats’. There is a need to systematically survey and map using
a GPS the `unique habitats’ in all wildlife areas and to monitor their use on a periodic basis and also keep
them free from human disturbances.