Where to find New Zealand Grid data for use in MapInfo Pro Advanced
by Steve Critchlow, Group Managing Director, on 12-Nov-2015 10:00:00
MapInfo Pro Advanced v16 is here and it brings super-fast visualisation and analysis of large and highly detailed grid-based spatial data. While the advanced version of MapInfo Pro v16 allows users to convert and create their own grid/raster datasets using the highly performant interpolation algorithms, users of MapInfo Pro v16 can still take advantage of the new MRR data format by converting existing grids into MRR.
A number of Government organisations in New Zealand already have vast resources of grid, imagery and vector data that can easily be converted into the new MRR data format. As mentioned in this previous post - MRR can hold all types of grid data and the data within single layers can also be at different resolutions. This makes for some interesting use cases such as combining aerial imagery from different resolutions into a single layer. So, where is this data and how can it be used? To help you along we have compiled a list of some of the best resources in New Zealand for grid data of various types.
LINZ Data Service (LDS)
LDS holds more than 40 groupings of data on New Zealand’s land and sea. It includes topographic data used to create maps and hydrographic information used to create marine charts. One of the most popular datasets on the LDS the NZ 8m Digital Elevation Model (2012). On the LDS this dataset is comprised of 115 individual files with a total size of about 17GB. Users can download all or some of the data depending on their needs. We were quickly able to merge all 115 individual files into a single 11GB MRR file that opens in MapInfo Pro in about 1 second.
As noted on the LDS, this dataset is only really suitable for cartographic visualisation only as it was created by interpolation of 20m contours. As you can see from the image below, when an appropriate colour ramp and hill-shading effects are applied it can help make an impressive looking terrain map.
Sample map of the NZ 8m DEM in MRR format and MapInfo Pro Advanced. Sourced from the LINZ Data Service and licensed by LINZ for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence.
The LDS also has an extensive holding of aerial imagery for New Zealand and because MRR can hold numeric, classified and imagery data these datasets can be easily converted into MRR format and used in MapInfo Pro Advanced. The map below shows some of the 10cm urban imagery for Whanganui available from the LDS.
Sample map of the Whanganui 0.1m Urban Aerial Photos (2013) in MRR format and MapInfo Pro Advanced. Sourced from the LINZ Data Service and licensed by LINZ for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence.
Landcare Research Information Systems (LRIS) Portal
The LRIS portal is part a repository of authoritative New Zealand science datasets and information from the Infomatics Team at Landcare Research. The portal contains both vector and grid datasets focused on the land and biota of New Zealand. The interesting grid datasets are those describing the different climatic factors in New Zealand like mean annual temperature, solar radiation and water deficit to name a few. Of the vector files, layers like the Land Cover Database (LCDB) and NZLRI Erosion Type and Severity are a great resource.
MapInfo Pro Advanced has a powerful function called Rasterise that allows users to convert vector data such as the DCDB into grid (MRR) format. Once in MRR format this data can then be used with other datasets such as elevation, slope or aspect in the calculator tool to find areas of interest. The following map shows the same area as the NZ 8m DEM map but this time showing the LCDB in MRR format.
Sample map of the NZ LCDB 4.1 in MRR format and MapInfo Pro Advanced. Sourced from the LRIS Portal and licensed by Landcare Research for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence.
Ministry for the Environment Data Service
The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) Data Service was launched in March 2015. It enables free web-based access to New Zealand environmental data including air, atmosphere, climate, fresh water, land and marine. Most of the datasets in the MfE Data Service are in vector format and will need to be converted into MRR format using the rasterise tool found in MapInfo Pro Advanced.
There are plenty of useful datasets here including the New Zealand Land Use Map (LUCAS), Land Environments of NZ (LENZ), Environmental Limiting Factors and River Environment Classifications to name a few. In Addition to the data service the Ministry for the Environment also makes available satellite imagery from Airbus Defence and Space and some liDAR data.
We were able to merge all of the SPOT imagery for New Zealand (all 590GB of it) into a 59GB MRR file with no loss in the quality data. The file opens in less than two seconds and is stored on an external hard-drive.
Canterbury Maps Data Service
Environment Canterbury is one of the leading Regional Councils in New Zealand in regards to making its data easily available to the public. Through the Canterbury Maps Data Service, they currently provide over 280 geospatial datasets available to use and download including council provided services, imagery and LiDAR, land and land-use, planning and transport to name a few.
The Data Service is a great resource for those looking for a rich source of Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data within the Canterbury Region as there are 17 DEM layers available for download. Some of these DEM’s are in 1m resolution which makes for incredibly detailed data which is also visually stunning. The map below shows some of the 1m DEM data in MRR format of the town of Pegasus to the north of Christchurch. Note that the detail is such that the roads, sand-dunes and waves rolling into the beach are visible.
Sample map of the Rangiora Area 1m DTM in MRR format and MapInfo Pro Advanced. Sourced from the Canterbury Maps Data Service and licensed by Environment Canterbury for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence.
Koordinates has over 40 Hill-shade and terrain layers in their portal and many of these can be converted into MRR format. One of the most interesting datasets is the Wellington City 1m DEM. This dataset includes most of urban Wellington, Makara and Makara Beach. It is similar to the 1m DEM of Pegasus shown above in that the level of detail makes for some fascinating and highly detailed maps.
In the map below we converted the 1m DEM into MRR format and then used the Surface and Grid Calculator tools in MapInfo Pro Advanced to generated a new layer showing areas where slope was greater than 30 degrees (shown in red). Note the flat roads winding their way up, down and across Mt Victoria.
Sample map of the Wellington City 1m DEM in MRR format and MapInfo Pro Advanced. Sourced from Koordinates and licensed by Wellington City Council for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence.
Your local Council
Grid and aerial imagery datasets are typically quite large datasets and it is often not possible for organisations to have these datasets available to the publicly accessible platforms like those noted above. If you are interested in knowing if certain datasets exist, then one option is to contact the Local or Regional Council in the ear you are interested in as these organisations are heavily collectors and users of this these types of data. They may not have a public facing data portal but they may have the data stored locally which you may be able to access.
Time to get busy
If you are having trouble finding the data you want just let us know and we'll be happy to help. But now you know where some of the best data is you can get busy using the new capabilities and performance that comes with MapInfo Pro and MapInfo Pro Advanced v16. If you don’t have a copy you can always download a free 30 day trial.
Are there are any other sources that you think should be on this list? If so, let us know in the comments section below.