Cartographic Heritage into the Digital

Cartoheritage and Topographic Mapping


Wednesday, July 5
3:30 PM - 3:50 PM
Location: Hoover

Topographic information is vital to understanding New Zealand and its assets, and for supporting economic development. For over a century, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) and its predecessor organisations have been responsible for managing this information and making it available through topographic maps. These have been carried into the back country by generations of New Zealanders, and have uses as diverse as defense, land management, and search and rescue.

As LINZ looks forward, our vision over the next decade is to grow the value generated by location information tenfold. This vision recognizes the way location information can unlock new patterns and knowledge, drive better decision making, and benefit our economy, environment and communities.

In this paper we set out our experiences of this transformation in the way we manage data, from data created for 1:50,000 scale mapping, to digital data management and delivery. Greater emphasis is being placed on accuracy, currency, completeness and attribution for a far wider range of users, uses and technologies. To undertake this transformation a program of data improvement is under way, beginning with engagement with authoritative external agencies that maintain geospatial datasets and are willing to share them under a free and open licence agreement (e.g. Creative Commons). LINZ leverages its relationships with these agencies to jointly build a robust data collection and update program. Our datasets are increasingly used in digital form (e.g. in web or mobile applications, for geospatial analysis, or reporting purposes), as well as for source data to continue to produce topographic mapping (paper-based) and digital raster map products.

In 2015 LINZ set a new strategy for topographic data which aims to increase its value for New Zealand, making it available in new forms and standards to meet the needs of a wider range of users. In developing our strategy we reviewed our mapping program, talked to our customers and stakeholders, and consulted mapping agencies overseas. We identified a number of areas where topographic information and its availability could be improved, enabling us to develop strategic initiatives to ensure we not only continue to deliver topographic mapping with national coverage and consistent standards, but also support the myriad of new uses for geospatial information. We have also recognized the need to coordinate initiatives for imagery and elevation data acquisition and release.

LINZ is in a transition state from a product-centric to a data-centric organisation. Through our current projects and engagement with authoritative organisations we have recognized three clear ways in which we produce data:

- Data we create (through original data capture e.g. digitizing from imagery, often resource-intensive and time-consuming, and often replicated by other organisations)
- Data we re-use (use of data captured by others e.g. local government or private companies, channeled via our data coordination program and agreements with other organisations)
- Data we derive (by the interpretation of datasets such as elevation and imagery to classify and build new datasets we cannot obtain elsewhere, e.g. building outlines and water bodies)

The 2015 Topographic Strategy has been in place for over two years. So where are we now? LINZ has made steady progress on our five-year transformation; our current progress is centered on a shift away from the Create space toward the Re-Use and Derive spaces. This allows us to concentrate resources on building open national datasets with a “capture once, use many times” philosophy, rather than original capture of data for one specific purpose. This shift clearly demonstrates how we are implementing the Topographic Strategy, and realizing our vision of growing the value generated by location information.

Roger Carman

Group Manager Topography and Addressing
Land Information New Zealand

Roger Carman BSc, PG Dip Sc, Group Manager Topography and Addressing, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).
Roger has over 20 years experience working in the field of spatial information. His experience has been split evenly between the public and private sectors. He has also split his time evenly between New Zealand based roles and a decade spent in Europe. Rogers’s current role sees him leading LINZ Topography and Addressing Group. This group encompasses LINZ Map Production, the coordination of National Imagery and Historic Imagery, the management of New Zealand’s National Address dataset and the development of a new set of Independent Topographic Datasets. Roger has a strong interest in helping his people develop their careers while building strong and adaptable teams.


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Greg M. Byrom

Team Manager, GeoData Management
Land Information New Zealand

Greg began his career with a degree in Surveying from Otago University in New Zealand in the mid-90's. Not wishing to become a surveyor this led him to study GIS and Remote Sensing, with a Postgraduate Diploma and Masters degree. In 2000 Greg moved to the UK, where he became a Research Scientist for Ordnance Survey, Great Britain's National Mapping Agency. Greg later held roles as Business Development lead for a positioning equipment supplier in Melbourne, Australia, and with a leading private geospatial organisation back in New Zealand. Greg is now working at LINZ, New Zealand's National Mapping Agency.


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Nathan B. Piekielek

Geospatial Services Librarian
The Pennsylvania State University

Nathan Piekielek, (Ph.D.) is the Geospatial Services Librarian at Penn State where he supports the spatial research and teaching activities of all disciplines and units at the university. In addition to providing research consultation services upon request, he builds, maintains, and manages an extensive print map and digital geospatial data collection. He has a largely quantitative background in geographic information systems, remote sensing, and conservation ecology and is interested in how this expertise can be applied to contemporary challenges faced by academic libraries, like the large-scale conversion of print maps and historic aerial photographs to web-accessible, open source, high-quality digital geospatial data products.


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