French politician wants to tackle rodent infestation with real-time ‘rat map’


So, this is a map you don’t expect to see every day. Riddled with tiny rat icons, what you see above is a catalogue of Parisians reporting rat sightings in the 17th Arrondissement of the French capital.

The brainchild of Geoffroy Boulard, the head of the municipal council of the 17th Arrondissement, ‘Report a Rat’ map came up after a daycare center’s playground in Paris was found to be infested with rats.

In an interview with a local television network, Boulard explained, “The presence of rats in public space is worrying and has become more and more serious. We had a crèche surrounded with rats dead and alive. Nobody is taking their responsibility. It’s a matter of public health. The city has to react to this sanitary problem. It’s not just the 17th [arrondissement].”

Boulard is not kidding. For every human being in Paris, there are 1.75 rats roaming the streets. The New York Times has declared the situation the ‘worst rat crisis in decades’. And the last couple of years have seen everything from overworked rat catchers going on strike to garbage collectors releasing a nauseating video of a swarm of rats trying to escape from a dustbin.

With ‘Report a Rat’ map, Boulard is hoping to catch the attention of Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, and let her know that her $1.7 million campaign to eradicate rats is not working out too well for the 17th Arrondissement.

The interactive ‘Report a Rat’ interface allows citizens to record their rat sightings at a precise location, down to the lat-long level, and neatly label the annoying vermin as dead or alive. People can also leave additional comments, like the one you can see above, to help out the sanitation workers responding to the incident. For those who cannot access the Internet, a rat reporting hotline has been set up. Once the pesky rodent in question has been taken care of, its symbol on the map will reportedly get replaced by a shovel.

Ishveena is a geospatial enthusiast and a veteran of creating and managing compelling digital content for organizations and individuals. When she is not making magic at her desk, you are likely to find her exploring nature, eating her way through life, or binge-watching funny animal videos.