Tuesday 11 September 2012

Getting free data in New Zealand

So far on my travels through New Zealand I’ve been a bit frustrated with the the slow and costly WiFi services. Access to publicly funded data about the country is a totally different story. It’s fast, easy, and free! Countries who lock up their publicly funded data (including my own country, Norway) should definitely look to New Zealand.

So where can you get free data about New Zealand? As I’ve just been in the country for two weeks, I’m not the best person to answer this question. But I’ve done some research and the natives where happy to tell me when I asked this question on my blog a few weeks ago.

This great Auckland-based company has created a portal which allows you to search, sort, bookmark and share geographic data sets. Download in the the format, projection and area you need, connect with web services using industry standard services or developer friendly APIs, or explore data within the browser. It’s a success story in how geodata should be distributed.

LINZ Data Service
Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is the national provider and administrator of a wide range of geographical information. Here you can download hydrographic and topographic data (up to 1:50,000 scale), in the same easy to use Koordinates-fueled interface.

LRIS Portal
The Land Resource Information Systems (LRIS) Portal is hosted by Landcare Research, an Environmental research organisation specialising in sustainable management of land resources. Here you can find a 25 meter Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the North and South Island, - and a lot of data about the environment in New Zealand. Some of the data from Lancare Research is also available as a web service (WMS, WMS-C).

The National Land Resource Centre (NLRC)
A science center coordinated by Landcare Research in collaboration with other science organisations, government and businesses. They’ve created an extensive list of datasets provided by different organisations related to land resources.

A catalogue of publicly-funded geospatial data, and part of New Zealand's developing national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI).

A directory of publicly-available, non-personal New Zealand government held datasets. This site does not host data, instead it links to datasets held on other government websites.

An inititative led by the National Library of New Zealand helping people to use digital material from libraries, museums, government departments, publicly funded organisations, the private sector, and community groups.

Other resources:

Have I missed something? Please add a comment below and I’ll try to keep this post updated.


A few photos from my travels:

At the Tongariro Alpine Crossing together with a group from the great Mountain Cartography Workshop.

The Tongario Alpine Crossing, rated as the best on-day trek available in New Zealand. Part of the track is still closed after the recent eruption at Mount Tongariro.

Mount Ngauruhoe or Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings:

Geothermal activity at Whakarewarewa.

Boiling mud pool created by acid gases and steam that cause the decomposition of minerals to form a clay. The temperature is about 90-95°C.

Pohutu geyser erups once ore twice per hour and can reach heights of up to 30 meters.

(Written at The Bean Café and Roastery in Whakatane, who has the best WiFi offer in New Zealand!)


Unknown said...

Hi Bjørn,

We met when I led the Research and Geodata services team at EDINA in Edinburgh. I now work for Landcare Research.

Welcome to New Zealand!

Thanks for the comments about the LRIS Portal (one of the services I have oversight of) and the NLRC (for which I am Technical Director). Also take a look at S-map Online (http://smap.landcareresearch.co.nz/) and it's sister service Our Environment (http://ourenvironment.scinfo.org.nz/).

It would be great to catch up while you are over here. Are you passing anywhere near Palmerston North on the north island?



Bjørn Sandvik said...

Thanks David,

I'm passing through Palmerston North on Monday. Is the Landcare Research office far from cnr Pitt & Main Streets (the InterCity Coachlines bus stop)?

I've also been chatting with Pierre Roudier about visiting LCR/NLRC.

Please email me on bjorn@thematicmapping.org


Anonymous said...

Hi Bjørn

I believe you are visiting DOC this afternoon in Wellington!

Just letting you know that some Department of Conservation data can be accessed through the DOC Geoportal as follows:


There is also a map viewer online which is due to be updated in the near future:


Catriona (DOC,Wellington)

Anonymous said...

Auckland Council data - on the ALGGI service. Data download available.