Councils in New Zealand that can’t afford three-dimensional mapping of their territories stand to gain from a NZ$19 million grant from the Provincial Growth Fund.
Land Information and Economic Development ministers Eugenie Sage and Shane Jones announced the decision to increase funding for so-called LiDAR, or 3D, mapping because of the need for a national database to assist with land use planning, including for forest planting, agricultural productivity, infrastructure development and planning for the impacts of climate change and flooding.
“Councils facing cost pressures can take part in the government’s programme to collect and make this valuable data available nationwide,” said Jones in an announcement at Local Government New Zealand. He was speaking with Sage, who often finds herself in conflict as Minister of Conservation with Jones’s enthusiasm for economic development proposals based on use of natural resources.
Councils will need to apply for co-funding from the PGF. The Provincial Development Unit will provide coordination and technical support to help ensure nationally consistent and open data access after years of discussion about the fact that New Zealand lacks a whole-of-country geo-spatial database.
LiDAR, standing for Light Detection and Ranging data, measures height using laser measurements of the earth’s surface to create highly accurate 3D land maps. “Open data access will benefit small businesses that would otherwise not have access to this enhanced data previously reserved to their larger competitors,” the ministers said.