New Zealand Moves to New Official Maps

22 September 2009

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has made one of the most significant changes to New Zealand’s official topographical maps since the 1930s, with the launch of the Topo50 map series available from today (23 September).

The new Topo50 map series has been developed to be compatible with international mapping systems and modern navigational technologies such as GPS. As a result, the 1:50,000 scale Topo50 maps use different coordinates (latitudes/longitudes) of points in New Zealand. The difference is equivalent to an approximate 200m change in position.

LINZ National Geodesist Graeme Blick says the change makes a material difference when describing the position of locations and landmarks in the outdoors.

“Today, New Zealand’s emergency services and the search and rescue sector will adopt the new Topo50 maps and coordinates system. We’re encouraging New Zealanders who visit the outdoors and remote areas to update their maps so they’re in line with what the emergency services are using,” says Mr Blick.

The coordinates on the new maps will also match the international settings on GPS units, which will make navigation easier for people visiting from overseas.

In addition to the safety benefits, the Topo50 series includes updated information on features such as Department of Conservation huts and tracks, and is designed to help New Zealanders find their way through remote areas with greater ease.

“With the peak tramping and outdoor season just around the corner, now is the time to update your topographical maps to the new series” says Mr Blick.

The maps are available from map retailers and Department of Conservation visitor centres.

The Topo50 map series has been designed for ease of use, with a new portrait format A1 sheet size that allows the best geographic fit. Relief shading helps users visualise topography, while the back cover displays a locality indicator, so map users can see where the map sheet fits within the geographic region.

A new website, www.topo50.govt.nz (no longer available) has been launched to help map users understand the changes and view the new maps.

Emergency services call centres and frontline personnel are using the new maps from today.

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