Saturday 11 August 2012

Mapping through New Zealand

This autumn I’ll switch hemisphere to experience the spring in New Zealand. I’ll spend two months down under to learn more about cartography and mapping, and to go tramping. Where should I go and what should I see? I need your advice!

My journey starts in Auckland and the GeoCart'2012 conference, before I’m heading up to Tongariro National Park and the 8th Mountain Cartography Workshop. Hopefully, Mount Tongario will stay awake. I’ve never been this close to an active volcano before! Then I’m free to go wherever I want. I roughly plan to stay one month on each island.

What I would like to know:
  1. Are there other mapping events going on in New Zealand in September and October? Anything from conferences, small meetups to short-time courses.
  2. Are there museums or institutions worth visiting  for a map geek? I’ve seen that Te Papa in Wellington has an impressive light up satellite photo of New Zealand.
  3. Where can I find geospatial datasets in the public domain? I would like to make my own map of New Zealand while travelling. I know about LINZ and NLRC.
  4. Do you know of an empty office desk or a remote bach (with WIFI!) that I could lend for a week or two. I need to do some work on my Thematic Mapping API.
  5. What will be the best tramps to do on the North Island in September and the South Island in October? I’m a dedicated cross-country skier, but I won’t bring my skis all the way from Norway - so keep it mainly below the snow line. 
  6. Other interesting sites and activities.
Please send me a message by adding a comment below, on Twitter, or by sending me an email: bjorn[AT]

And, of course - here is a "Where should I go-map"!



Stu said...

New Zealand awesome dataset site is (includes free dataset for all Department of Conservation tracks and huts.) is a good example of a public council GIS.

In the South Island try the popular Routeburn Track or the trip to Welcome Flat hot springs on the Copland River. For less popular areas try Nelson Lakes or Huxley Valley.

Thanks for you blog it is really helpful. - Stu

Anonymous said...

Hi Bjorn,

try getting in touch with the NZOpenGPS mailing lists (it's a google group).

see for more.

some random places to go: Old Faith Church in Rotorua (the read deal, but people's homes so be respectful)

on your way to milford sound (go there) at the start of the hollyford road is a track entrance to lake marian (3 hrs). further south of lake manapouri is the 3-4 walk into the green lake hut from the borland road.

also the mavora lakes south of queenstown are really nice.

for most of the "great walks" there is also a free one along the next valley with many of the same sights but without all the traffic. e.g. greenstone track instead of the routeburn.

rees/dart track is pretty famous among locals.


Reuben said...

Hi Bjørn, If you know about the LINZ Data service then you're well covered for a truckload of NZ data, there is also LRIS Portal and as Stu mentioned,, you'll notice they all run off the same engine (koordinates). On top of this, there is also and simply for non-spatial data.

For a quick reference topo map, have a look at, a site I put together using all the LINZ topomap sheets and GDAL2tiles.

+1 for Welcome Flat, it's a nice walk and a great place ( The Mueller Hut is incredible too though there will still be a lot of snow around in the South Island when you're here.

Bjørn Sandvik said...

Stu: Thanks for your advice. seems to be the place to search for geospatial data. I've added your tramping tips to my map. I'll definitely consider a hike along Copland River to Welcome Flat.

Hamish: I'll have a look at NZOpenGPS. Maybe I can use this resource to get hiking maps for my Garmin GPS? Hopefully it will be possible do the Milford Track by mid-October - and I'll try to do one on the tramps you suggest as well. They’re all on my map. Thanks!

Reuben: Yes the LINZ data service seems like a great resource. is a good place to find thematic mapping data. I'll definately use NZTOPOMAPS when I plan my tramps! The Mueller Hut looks awesome. Hopefully it will not be too much snow to go there by the end of October. Thanks!

Frank Taylor said...

Hi Bjorn, I suggest you get in touch with Paul Van Dinther of who lives in the Auckland area. I've forwarded him a link to your recent post. Frank/

Bjørn Sandvik said...

Thanks Frank! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey Bjørn

Make sure you add the Coromandel Peninsula to your 'places to see' list. It might not be as good as in the summer season, but definitely worth a look!
For some additional data with a geology focus - webmaps available from GNS Science (
To keep you up to date with Tongariro -

Enjoy NZ!