Monday, June 14, 2021

High-resolution elevation mapping rollout begins

The first tranche of mapping data from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)-LiDAR project is now available to the public from Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand.

LiDAR data, which creates 3D baseline elevation information, will deliver multiple uses over the coming decades to councils and regional industries.

“This mapping information will greatly assist the likes of farmers, by providing detailed slope information to protect waterways, or councils addressing coastal inundation,” Minister Damien O’Connor said.

The PGF-LiDAR project commenced in 2018 after the Government made co-funding from  Kānoa – Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit (previously known as the Provincial Development Unit) available over five years to support regions across New Zealand to obtain a baseline elevation dataset.

Ten regions sought funding from this initiative to carry out the data mapping, with the West Coast being the first region where this data has become available. Current LiDAR data coverage across the country sits at 20% and is set to increase to 80% once the project is complete.

“This resource will enable the West Coast to plan for a more resilient and safer future. With highly accurate terrain maps there will be improved modelling and that is of immense benefit to our communities, particularly in the hazard space,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The West Coast environment is a highly dynamic one. Heavy rain events bring erosion, which lifts river beds. You only need to look at Waiho River at Franz Josef, which shrugged off its bridge in 2019.

“Having LiDAR eventually available across New Zealand will ensure future development occurs in more appropriate locations.”

The initiative is being managed by Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Kānoa – Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit.

This first dataset covers the Westport area of the West Coast, with more data expected to be released across the regions participating in the PGF-LiDAR project as the data becomes available.

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