This post outlines some of the on-line data portals, including, and portals from LINZ and Landcare Research.

Before getting to the main topic, I’ll put a quick word of appreciation in for Dorje McKinnon, who is heading overseas for a wee while.  As the Applications Group Manager at ITS, Dorje’s been a big supporter of GIS and we’ll certainly be missing him (he set up the blog for us, among other things).  Maybe he could keep us updated by mapping his travels from time to time?  Thanks for everything Dorje!  Now onto to some more data issues.

In previous posts we covered the data available on our network and some on-line data sources. If you can’t find what you’re after in any of those places, all is not lost. There are several data portals out there that might have the data you need. From these portals you can download data layers in several different formats, but most likely either shapefiles or geodatabases (though you’ll need to set up accounts with each in order to do so). is a searchable data portal:


You can type a keyword into the search window and see if there are any data available. There’s also a list of categories that show the general nature of the data available:


Lots of useful stuff on there, much of which we already have on the J: drive (but certainly not everything). Once nice thing about Koordinates (and the other portals below) is that rather than grab data for the whole country, you can clip out a specific area. Once you’ve clicked the “+ Add” button and gotten a layer of interest onto the map, you can click the “Crop” button at the bottom and draw a box around your area of interest. Below I’ve added the powerlines layer and, Google Maps-like, navigated in to Banks Peninsula. You can see where I’ve drawn a box around an area:


The “Download or Order” button is now highlighted in green, so I’ll click that:


Make sure you tick the “Internet download” at the top. Have a look under the Map Projection: menu – there’s a lot to choose from. The default is WGS84 – this is the Latitude/Longitude system the GPS uses. I’d suggest either NZGD2000 (which is New Zealand Transverse Mercator) or NZGD49(New Zealand Map Grid) but WGS84 will work (it plays well with NZTM but not so well with NZMG). For the “Vector/tables as:” you can use either shapefiles or File Geodatabase, depending on what you’re comfortable with. You can then “Accept terms and create download”. Some layers will have a cost attached but most are free.

If you’re not already logged in, or need to create an account, you’ll do that at the next step. After a few minutes you’ll get this:


Click on the green box and it will downloaded through your browser as a zip file. Save it somewhere safe, extract the files and then you can add the layer to a map:


So that’s a quick rundown of how to use Koordinates – I would encourage a good nosey around the site. You’ll be amazed at the data available. The following two portals work quite similarly.

LINZ Data Service

LINZ (Land Information New Zealand) has a similar data portal at The list of categories is too large to show in one image; a quick sample is topo map images and associated data at 1:50K, 1:250K and 1:500K scales (also available on J:), nautical charts, property and ownership boundaries, roads and addresses and offshore islands data. Here, for instance, are the offshore depth contours:


As with Koordinates, you can crop specific areas or you can clip out data by various map sheets (see “Region Crop”). Interestingly, LINZ use Open Street Maps as their basemap rather than Google.

LRIS – Landcare Research Data Portal

Not to be outdone, Landcare have a good chunk of their data for download as well:


Check out these categories:


As I was perusing the offerings I saw that they have S-Map available now – their soil spatial information system. If you click on the link to S-Map you can see some layer specific information:


Scroll further down and there are additional Attachments – metadata (data about the data), layer files to use a set symbology, and lookup tables, all downloadable:


Click on the Data button to see the values in the attribute table:


Again, well worth some time browsing but note that we do already have a lot of these layers – check on J: before you download 300 Mbs worth of elevation contours – we may already have that!