The Locust Locus: A Graphic Public Threat Assessment

Open Street Map offers an opportunity to be used as a platform to monitor the spread of locust migration across the country.

To do so, it is necessary for field observers to report on locust infestations in the coming weeks. This will provide a ready and public graphic interface to the actual presence of locusts in the country.


This is an appeal for OSM fans to volunteer to offer help and advice to field observers who are placed in the expected path of the locust swarms.

We can use this channel to coordinate efforts: there are volunteers ready to connect people in the field.


A good initiative. I will be happy to add to the platform as and when I see the swarm (though being locked down at home and not in field, not so happy to see the locust infesting the crops :flushed: ) :smiley:

Perhaps can some student take up this reporting based on reliable data and source from public websites or newspapers, and track the the recent path of locust swarms in 2020.


It would be interesting to study if there are some prediction models for the path of swarms. Perhaps using measures such as – direction of wind flow, availability of crops, pollution, humidity, would it be able to generate their path to avoid destruction of crops.


Just today I saw a seven day prediction for the path of the cyclonic storm. As the commentator points out, 2 days back, the same cyclone was predicted to be heading for Kutch, now it is likely to make landfall near Mumbai tomorrow. He says, towards the end, that the path prediction will change again tomorrow, depending on which way, and at what speed, the cyclone keeps moving.

The point about an OSM mapping of locust swarms is to be able to assess similar forecasts over the next few days. For instance, the cyclone, had it gone on towards Kutch, would not have affected the locust swarms much. But, if it hits Mumbai tomorrow, and continues moving inland North and East, will sweep right across the generally expected (but not precisely plotted, yet) migration of the locusts, and certainly disrupt it to some extent.


Nobody yet has volunteered to help field observers. I’m hoping that by getting them to join this resource, we will gain a long term upward movement of people into this environment, from a diverse range of backgrounds, that may be less focused on formal educational streams.


What I heard in an FAO official’s interview was that, winds are the primary factor for locusts going east of Rajasthan (they prefer dry regions), and pre-monsoon winds are highly variable so locust swarm spread too would be highly variable.

2 big kickers. One: rain makes it conducive for locusts, so a weakened cyclone showering rain on locust spots is not going to help. Two: these are smaller swarms from the Indus Valley in Pakistan, bigger swarms are in Southern Iran and could reach India next month, depending on winds.

It sounds like you would need volunteer data (on OSM, or otherwise) from Iran to be able to offer something, because the current swarms are being handled.


That’s an interesting observation. I’m not sure off the bat that more observers can be tapped from Iran, and I’m guessing that it would be ideal to get more participation from Pakistan, which is less likely.

But, the mapping site that I mentioned earlier is in fact a global resource, called It allows users to study weather forecasts in reasonably fine details. Perhaps a volunteer resource needs to be built up that will mimic it, not ending at locusts, for live creature migrations. One can think of a number of migratory species for whom both professional and amateur naturalists would benefit greatly from having forecast data.

Such an enterprise is really very science focused. Since the locust menace is very real this summer in North Africa, the middle east and western South Asia, this seems like a good place to start.

I think it should be quite straightforward to then build a volunteer organisation that would take it global, and start tracking different migratory species round the clock and around the world.