27 November 2018

Our last newsletter for 2018 is a round-up of the new and updated data that has come your way this year, and a sneak peek into what’s to come in 2019.

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LiDAR gets a boost

Aerial photograph of the Ruamahanga River
Visualisation of the Ruamahanga River, Wairarapa, achieved by blending LiDAR and aerial imagery.

Wellington 0.3m Rural Aerial Photos (2012-2013), Wellington LiDAR DSM (2013) and Wellington LiDAR DEM (2013), licensed by the Greater Wellington Regional Council, CC BY 4.0

Our goal of a national elevation dataset is getting closer as the Government announces an expansion of the National Elevation Data programme to support major development projects in the regions.

A Provincial Growth Fund investment of up to $19 million is available as co-funding to regional governments, and LINZ is coordinating the programme on behalf of the Ministry for Business, Innovation, and Employment, providing open access to the data once available. This is a great next step for New Zealand in supporting regional economic growth, and the LiDAR data is expected to facilitate new investments and increase productivity of existing industries, including forestry, construction, and engineering services. The data is also critical for better flood risk mapping, understanding climate change impacts and improving environmental management. A call for participation will soon be issued to regional councils.

LINZ is already working with local councils to gather local LiDAR data and make it publically available as 1m Digital Elevation Models, Digital Surface Models and point clouds, and we’ve recently added to LDS several datasets from the top of the South Island.

18,000 square kilometres of LiDAR based national elevation data is now available on LDS, and the Provincial Growth Fund investment will makes it easier for councils with cost pressures to join the programme resulting in a significant increase in national coverage.

Flying high with aerial imagery

In partnership with councils, we’re also continuing to extend and refresh our national coverage of aerial photography data. Through the National Imagery Coordination Programme, LINZ provides open access to aerial imagery for 96% of the country.

This year saw the refresh of imagery for many of our urban areas, including Hawkes Bay, Wellington, New Plymouth, Bay of Plenty, Auckland and the Kapiti Coast. And new data keeps coming. In the coming months, we will make available new urban aerial imagery for Christchurch, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Gisborne and Marlborough, as well as rural imagery for Canterbury, Taranaki, Gisborne and Marlborough.

Since LINZ began publishing aerial imagery, the quality of the data has also been on the rise, with a resolution of 10cm or less commonplace now for urban imagery, and 30cm for rural imagery.

Surveying our aerial imagery collection

Diagram showing imagery surveys throughout New Zealand
Total aerial imagery survey coverage of New Zealand, 2018.

NZ Imagery Surveys is a new dataset that provides a central source to find out about the aerial imagery available on the LINZ Data Service.

Each aerial imagery dataset has an accompanying index tile dataset that provides key descriptive information such as flown dates, accuracy, resolution and the supplier for each tile within a survey.

The new NZ Imagery Surveys dataset brings together key descriptive information and survey boundary data from each aerial imagery dataset, making it much easier for you to compare the available datasets. It also includes a set order attribute that lists the order that images are displayed within the NZ Aerial Imagery set, so will help you identify the date of the image displayed by that set.

If you’re keen to investigate this dataset more, see the NZ Imagery Surveys Data Dictionary for technical information, or check out the NZ Imagery Surveys story on our On Location blog for more background and some cool visualisations of our accumulation of aerial imagery over time.

Building outlines dataset on its way

Building outlines presented in red, shown using data in LDS
Lyttelton building outlines captured using Christchurch 0.075m Urban Aerial Photos (2015-2016).

Christchurch 0.075m Urban Aerial Photos (2015-2016), licensed by the Christchurch City Council, CC BY 4.0

Following the successful 2016 pilot, we will soon be releasing a new building outlines dataset.

This dataset will provide a 2D representation of the edge of a building as visible from aerial imagery, most commonly the roofline edge. The first version of this dataset will release over 2.5 million building outlines for mainland New Zealand. The original pilot NZ Building Outlines dataset will be removed once the new dataset is available.

The differences between the upcoming dataset and the pilot dataset are:

  • a unique building identifier has been created for each building, which will be persistent for the same building over multiple aerial imagery surveys
  • each building outline is linked to the aerial imagery that it was captured from using the NZ Imagery Surveys layer mentioned above
  • a new schema has been developed with additional attribution and allowance to eventually add building uses and names from Topo50 building datasets
  • additional QA checks have been conducted as part of this dataset release
  • additional datasets are available that provide the history (not just the most recent representation of each building)

Additional information, including the new schema, is provided in the NZ Building Outlines Data Dictionary.

LINZ has committed to collecting building outlines on an on-going basis. Since the pilot dataset has been available, building outlines have already been put to use, for example in responding to emergency events during the Kaikoura earthquake, in the planning of the Ultra-Fast Broadband rollout, and in the property market to look for development areas and for property valuations.

Our goal is a national dataset, and we will be adding to this dataset as new imagery becomes available. Current coverage includes areas in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu-Whanganui, Wellington, Tasman, West Coast, Marlborough, Canterbury, Otago and Southland. We hope to have identified building outlines for 95% of the populated areas by the end of 2019.

For improved usability, the data dictionaries that are available with these two new datasets are web hosted rather than being available as a PDF download on the LINZ Data Service. Please get in touch if you have any feedback or questions about this approach.

Improving the quality of titles data

Earlier this month, we rolled out changes to some property title data on LDS, as a result of the commencement of the Land Transfer Act 2017. While most of you were not impacted by the changes, you may well benefit from them.

A key change from the new Act was the move from ‘Registers’ to a much more meaningful and plain English ‘Record of Title’. At a technical level, this meant using an alternative data field in Landonline than was originally used to generate the display of a Record of Title. To make this change possible, a multitude of improvements were made to the quality of our data. Indeed, over the last year, LINZ has corrected thousands of trivial data errors in register, estate, and title types.

This data quality improvement work has resulted in much greater consistency and accuracy of our titles data, and the streamlining of Record of Title type combinations to more efficiently and meaningfully describe the interests that affect an estate. This simplification also reduces the risk of errors in the future, and better prepares us for the modernising of Landonline.

See the LINZ website, for more information on the Land Transfer Act 2017.

LINZ to rebuild Landonline

Last month, following Cabinet funding approval, LINZ announced that it will progressively rebuild Landonline to modernise our land information platform and services, and deliver a reliable, accessible and secure platform for the future. 

Landonline, the system from which the property boundary and title data on the LINZ Data Service is sourced, is 20 years old, is increasingly difficult to maintain and enhance, expensive, and slow to respond to changing requirements. Its core software is nearing the ‘end of life’ and is not recommended for further development.

The new system will be delivered in four stages over five years with a deliberately phased approach. 

By the end of stage 1 (mid 2020), four new services will be in place including:

  • Web-based search – this will give New Zealanders the real-time ability to search for and purchase products such as Record of Titles and Survey plans, directly from our website.
  • Search API (Application Programming Interface) – this will enable businesses to connect their websites and software directly to Landonline to search and purchase products.

The programme to progressively rebuild Landonline will be complete in 2024.

Find out more in our newsstory.

Kaikoura coordinate refinement

This weekend, LINZ will be updating coordinates in Landonline and the Geodetic Database following improved modelling of the Kaikoura earthquake and additional data from new geodetic surveys throughout New Zealand. This update will then flow through to a number of geodetic datasets published on the LINZ Data Service on 9 December 2018.

The coordinate changes are generally small: for example, 98% of Order 5 and better marks have horizontal coordinate changes less than 2cm.

Due to the small size of the horizontal coordinate changes at geodetic marks, only geodetic datasets will be impacted - property boundary datasets (cadastral coordinates) are not affected by the change. An additional adjustment will be made for cadastral coordinates in Kaikoura and immediate surrounds early next year. The following datasets on LDS are affected:

Further information is available on our Kaikoura earthquake coordinate update page

Accuracy improvements to urban parcels

LINZ is currently improving the spatial accuracy of its digital urban property boundary data to provide surveyors and the geospatial community with a more consistent set of accurate, reliable and trusted coordinates. These changes are typically less than 5cm, but can be 10cm or more in areas impacted by recent earthquakes. Customers of the NZ Primary Parcels dataset, and other related datasets, may notice that updates covering large areas (such as entire towns or cities) are being made as a result of this work.

These updates just affect the digital dataset that represents property boundaries, not the legal property boundaries themselves.

Once these targeted improvements have been made in a particular area, any future changes to the parcels in that area should be far smaller, and part of normal cadastral adjustments.

The geodetic update planned for December described in the preceding article impacts only geodetic mark data, while this update impacts only cadastral (property boundary) data.

For more information, please contact the LINZ Positioning and Resilience Team at CRM_Geodetic@linz.govt.nz

Last Updated: 27 November 2018

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