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We are undertaking aerial mapping between Riverton and Waituna Lagoon, in Southland, over the next two weeks.

A plane fitted with LiDAR (light detection and ranging) equipment is gathering data to create detailed 3D maps of the land and seafloor.

“We expect people will notice the low-flying plane, as it will be tracking back and forth along the coast in a grid pattern in good weather”, says Bradley Cooper, LINZ Senior Geospatial Specialist and project lead.

“It needs to fly at a relatively low altitude to map the land and seabed in detail.

“The coastal area we are covering in Southland is perfect as it includes a variety of sea conditions that will challenge our methods and tell us how successful our data collection is for future mapping projects.

“The data collected will be used to help understand the coastal zone in this area, and can be used for tsunami and inundation modelling, as well as to understand marine habitats.”

Map shows a coastal section of the Southland region. The coastline from Riverton / Aparima to Bluff has been highlighted to show the path of the LiDAR plane.

Fugro is undertaking this survey on behalf of LINZ from mid-April for approximately two weeks, during daylight hours. Fugro has extensive experience working throughout New Zealand and overseas using the latest mapping tools and technology.    

The company will survey to a seabed depth of up to 20m to create detailed 3D maps of the seafloor and coastal zone.

Information from the survey will be made freely available later in the year through the online LINZ Data Service to support wider research into the coastal environment.


Due to unforeseen weather conditions that made it difficult to accurately collect data using the LiDAR equipment we have had to call off our survey in Southland for now. 

We were able to survey some areas before the bad weather set in and are planning to return to Southland to complete the survey. 

The data we did collect will be freely available later in the year through our online data service. 

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