The LINZ Data Service provides free access to over 40 authoritative LINZ land and seabed datasets via an easy to use website. This beginner’s guide will help you with the basics of using the LINZ Data Service.
Visit our Datasets page for descriptions of the types of datasets available through LDS.
The panel on the left hand side is where you search for and investigate data layers you want to download. You can search, browse or scroll for data.
Using the x at the top right of this panel, you can toggle this panel on and off to get a larger view of the map.
Scroll down the panel to see a few highlighted datasets, including featured, most popular and recently added datasets.
On the right hand side of the screen is a map of New Zealand. Any geospatial data layers that you select for download are displayed in this map so you can see the data within a geographical context. You can pan and zoom around the map.
‘Your Map’ is like a shopping cart of data you want to download. Layers that you select for download appear in the Your Map panel. Here you can keep track of the number and combined file size of the layers you have chosen, remove layers, toggle them on and off, and reorder the display of layers in the map.
This is also where you can select to crop and download your layers.
While anyone can browse data and add layers to your map, you will need to register as a LDS user to download your map layers. Registering is simple. Enter a few personal details and accept our terms and conditions, and you’re done. It is free to register.
An email acknowledging that you have registered to use the service will be sent to the email address you provided. Messages, such as when your data is available for downloading, will also be sent to this email address.
To sign in to LDS, simply enter your username (email address) and password you provided when you registered. Signing in allows you to download your layers.
Once signed in you can also see your Dashboard. The Dashboard is an area of LDS where you can see a history of what you have been doing on the website. You can also view a list of download requests you have made in the last 7 days (and download the files again if you want to) and change some of your personal settings.
From the left hand panel on the homepage you can view and select the dataset you want to add to your map. You can discover data in a number of ways:
- Search by typing keywords into the search box
- Browse the data by category and subcategory
- Scroll through all available data via the Layers tab
There are two types of search you can use to find data in the LINZ Data Service:
- Data & Maps search
- Address search
Simply choose the type of search you want to use by selecting either of these options.
Data & Maps search
Use this search to find a specific data layer, table or map. You can search by its name, relevant keywords, or a location.
Here are a few tips and tricks on searching for data layers, tables and maps:
- This option searches for your terms in the layer title, geo-tags, and the category. It does not search within the data or metadata.
- If searching for a term that is a string of words, you need to put the whole search term in quotes, for example “Bay of Plenty”
- As many LINZ datasets have national coverage, searching by location (e.g. Wellington) can return too many results. Instead, try searching using feature or data type based terms, for example:
- “Survey”, for cadastral surveying data
- “Parcel”, for all of the relevant property boundaries data
- “Easement”, for land easement parcels
- “Street address, for road and street information
- “Lighthouse”, to find hydro lighthouse lights
- “Depth”, to find sounding and depth data
- “Buildings”, to find topographic buildings
Use this search to jump to a particular location on the map view by searching for a street address or place name. The Address search makes finding data relevant to a particular location easy.
The best way to use this search is to:
- add layers to the map
- select the ‘Address’ search function in the main search bar and enter an address or place name
- select the option you’re after from the search results to zoom to that location on the map
You will see that the data layers available are organised into Categories displayed in a box at upper left. Beside each category or sub-category are the numbers of data layers that have been included under each heading. By clicking on a category you will reveal the data layers stored under that Category.
Simply click on the Layers tab below the LINZ logo – and scroll through all available layers. You can organise their display alphabetically or by the most popular or most recent layers.
When you select a data layer you are interested in you are taken to the Summary tab for that layer. This summary provides a general description of the layer, as well as information on when it was last updated, the type of data and number of features, and the relevant licence.
For detailed information, you can view the Metadata or Data tabs.
The majority of data layers in LDS are provided under a New Zealand Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (BY) license. This means you can use, reuse and share the data as much as you like in any service, product or application. Just make sure you credit LINZ.
There is an exception to this open licensing. Two title and owner related data layers have a customised license which you need to accept before being able to access this data.
See our information about licensing and using data from LDS for more detail and for guides on how to credit LINZ.
There are two types of datasets in LDS: vector data and raster data.
Vector data is positional data that has one or more coordinates. Our Primary Parcels layer is a good example of vector data. There are three types of vector data – polygons, lines and points.
Polygons represent geographical areas and are made up of a closed sequence of lines. Some examples include lakes, patches of native bush, or parcel boundaries (such as you saw in the Primary Parcels layer above).
Line data is used to represent linear features. This includes roads, rivers, or railway lines.
Point data represents discrete features, where each point is has a X and Y (and sometimes also a Z) location. Examples include railway stations, historic sites, or NZ Geodetic marks.
Raster data represents surfaces, including imagery and maps. To make raster data accessible through a system like LDS, it needs to be geo-referenced. This means dividing a map, for example, into cells and giving each cell a coordinate so we can determine its location. Our Topo50 map layer is a good example of raster data.
‘Metadata’ is a set of structured facts about information which improve the discovery, transfer and reuse of data. Comprehensive metadata is provided for each and every layer in the LINZ Data Service.
Our ANZLIC compliant metadata includes information about a dataset’s title, its geographical extent, version, maintenance and the creator and their contact details.
The Zip file of your data download will include a copy of the metadata in xml format and a text version of the Dublin Core record (for easy reading), or you can use the Catalogue Web Service to request the metadata via web services.
Viewing the attribute data
If you’re a real ‘details’ person, you can view the actual data of a layer in its raw, tabular form in the Data tab. Scroll through the table to see all attribute values of the data. (This feature is only available for vector data). This is also a good place to preview the layer's contents before downloading it.
Or you can use the ‘Search in data’ tool to find and zoom in the map to one-off specific records within a layer by filtering your search results.
Adding and removing a layer
Now that you’ve found what you’re looking for, you can add the layer to your map. Simply click the orange ‘Add’ button to the right of the layer title. The layer is now displayed on the map for you to view, zoom and query.
This button has now changed to a ‘Remove’ button which you can use to delete the layer from your map.
Once you add a layer it also appears in the ‘Your map’ panel. Here you can toggle the layer on and off using the check box or remove the layer altogether from your map. You can also alter the order in which the layers are displaying on your map by dragging and dropping the layers above or below of each other.
You can navigate around the map in various ways.
- Click on the arrows to pan the map left, right, up and down.
- Click on the + sign to zoom the map in.
- Click on the – sign to zoom the map out.
- Click on the bar and slide the bar up and down to zoom the map in and out.
To zoom to a particular portion of the map, use the drag and zoom function.
- Click on the magnifying glass icon.
- Go to the area on the map you want to zoom into, and click and hold the mouse button down.
- Drag out a box covering the area you are interested in. Release the mouse button.
- After releasing the mouse button, the area will automatically zoom to the area that was selected.
- If needed, you can repeat the same steps to zoom further into the area.
Alternatively you can:
- Hold the shift key, click the left mouse button and draw a zoom in rectangle on the map, then release the shift key and the left mouse.
- Click and drag the map to view adjacent areas.
- Scroll wheel zooming - Use the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out of the map.
- Double-click to zoom functionality - Double left-click to zoom in (Ctrl + double-click for Mac users).
- Keyboard shortcuts - Zoom in and out with the plus (+) and minus (-) keys.
- Pan right, left, up and down with the arrow keys.
- Pan wider with the Home, End, Page Up and Page Down, keys.
As an alternative to ‘Viewing the attribute data’, you can click inside a polygon or on a point or line on the map to bring up a new window with the attribute data for that polygon or point displayed. This provides a quick view of the attribute data of individual features.
You can access data from the LINZ Data Service in four ways:
- File download
- Courier delivery
- Web services
- Change-set service
Downloading is the simplest way to extract data from LDS. To download data to your computer, you need to have added at least one layer to ‘Your Map’, (think of 'Your Map' as your shopping basket of data that you want to download). Click on the icon to display Your Map. When a layer has been added to Your Map, the 'Crop' and 'Download' buttons will become activated.
Cropping your data
Rather than downloading the entire layer, you can use the cropping tool to limit the geographical extent of the data you're downloading to a specific area you’re interested in (the default is to download the whole layer). The crop tool is useful for reducing the size of your download, as well as producing a smaller set of layers that is quicker to download and share.
Once you have one or more layers in Your Map, you can click the ‘Crop’ button in the ‘Your map’ panel. A new window appears in the map view with two cropping options:
- Region crop
This tool performs a simple rectangular crop. Go to the area on the map you want to crop your data to, and click and hold the mouse button down. Drag out a box covering the area you are interested in. Release the mouse button (the orange rectangle will turn into a black outlined box). You have now defined the desired area you want the data cropped to.
To deselect (remove) the crop area, click on the Crop button again or the ‘Redrawn crop’ link in the crop window. This resets the download to the whole data Layer.
The second tab on the crop window allows you to perform a region crop. The crop by region tool enables you to clip and download any dataset by a geographical area. In LDS you can use the region crop tool to download data by one of four regional breakdowns – Territorial Authority boundary, Regional Council boundary, and Topo50 and Topo250 map extents.
Simply choose a ‘Region type’, then a ‘Region’ from the drop down menus. You are then automatically zoomed to that region on the map, and a border is drawn around your chosen region to show you the area you have selected.
Scroll through the ‘Region type’ and ‘Region’ menus again to select another region crop.
To deselect (remove) the crop area, click on the Crop button again. This resets the download to the whole data layer.
NB: The crop area displayed within the map is simplified for display purposes. The data in your download will be cropped according to the full geometry.
Making the file download
To download a Layer, click on the Download button. A pop up window will appear. Here you can then select the format and projection you wish to receive the data in. You will also get an indication of the size of your download.
You can download our data in a variety of formats, including
For more information, you can check out the detailed descriptions of the file formats we support.
There are also a multitude of projections to choose from. Projections are a way of managing distortions of a surface when it is translated from a curved surface (i.e. the globe) to a flat perspective (i.e. on a map). You can find detailed information about projections on the LINZ website.
Our suggestions for LDS are:
- For property and topographic data - Transverse Mercator 2000 (NZTM)
- For hydrographic data - World Geodetic System (WGS84)
- For data that spans across New Zealand’s Mainland and Offshore Islands – New Zealand Geodetic Datum (NZGD2000)
Please note: you can download multiple Layers in one request, including both vector and raster data. The download pop up box has options for formats for both types of data. All layers will be cropped to the same extent if the cropping tool has been used.
Once you have completed the specification for your download, click on the ‘Accept terms and create download’ button to submit your download request.
Please note: a file size limit of 3GB applies to downloads. If your download is larger than 3GB the delivery method will automatically default to 'courier delivery' and the download button will be deactivated. See below for more information on our courier service. If you still wish to download data, you can cancel out of the download window and either use the crop tool to limit the extent of your data or reduce the number of layers you download at any one time.
You can cancel the creation of your download by clicking the stop icon next to the progress bar.
A pop-up should appear when your download is ready. Your download will be a zip file containing:
- the data you requested,
- metadata records,
- any related documents and
- a contents file summarising your order along with a copy of the licence or agreement setting out the terms and conditions under which the data can be used.
To download the zip file to your computer, click on the green highlighted button containing the file name. You can either open the zip file or save it to a suitable location on your local machine, where you can unzip the contents for use in your GIS or any other software that can read the file format.
It normally takes a minute or two for the system to create your download file. The larger the size of the data you have requested, the longer it will take. For example, some of the larger layers (primary parcels & title owners) can take an hour or more to generate. The system will send you an email confirming your download is ready so for large requests you can exit the LDS, if you want to, and come back later to get your data. Or you can go to your dashboard to view your recent downloads and download the layer from there.
The LDS Courier Service enables you to get bulk data delivered to your door. The courier service is designed for users who don’t want to max out their internet datacap by downloading huge amounts of data from LDS. It is also the default access option when the combined file size of the data layers you want to download is more than 3GB.
See our courier service page for details on how to use the service.
Web services do the hard work for you. They allow software and web applications to directly query and access data and metadata, automatically pulling the most recent LDS data into your system when you need it.
LDS supports three types of web service:
- Web Feature Service (WFS) for accessing vector data
- Web Map Service (WMS) for accessing raster data
- Catalogue Web Service (CS-W) for accessing metadata
Visit our web services page for a full decription of LDS web services and how to use them.
Our change-set service is an advanced feature of LDS. It uses LDS web services to enable you to extract just the data that has changed between updates rather than the whole dataset. Visit our change-set service page for full details on how to use this service.
If you have a question, have found a problem or want to make a suggestion about the LINZ Data Service, select the Contact Us option under the Help & Feedback menu on the LDS website. Alternatively you can email email@example.com