Reading Topo50 maps

Get help on how to read your Topo50 maps and look at examples of different map formats.

Important information for reading your Topo50 Map

  • Representation of a road or track does not necessarily indicate public right of access. For access rights, maps and other information, contact Herenga ā Nuku Aotearoa, the Outdoor Access Commission

  • The Department of Conservation and other agencies should be contacted for the latest information on tracks and back country huts. Closed tracks are defined as being no longer maintained or passable and should not be used.
  • Not all aerial wires, cableways and obstructions that could be hazardous to aircraft are shown on the map.
  • Contours and spot elevations in forest and snow areas may be less accurate.

Learn how to read and navigate from our Topo50 maps using the Topo50 Map Reading Guide. Look for the attachment at the bottom of this page.

Private and public roads

Our topographic maps and data are an official record of New Zealand’s landscape, and we have a responsibility to show both private and public roads and tracks. This is necessary information for emergency services who may need to use private roads and tracks to gain access to an emergency scene, and is also important for capturing change to our landscape over time.

Roads and tracks shown on our maps are not necessarily accessible to the public. This is stated on the maps and in the metadata for the datasets used to produce them.

It is not possible to accurately show which roads and tracks are public and which are private. This information can change often, and in some cases ownership or access to a road or track is not clear.

Information on public access can be found on the website of Herenga ā Nuku Aotearoa, the Outdoor Access Commission

TIFF format example

Example of a Topo 50 map in TIFF format. The map legend, key, and connected maps are shown along the left and bottom of the main map.

GeoTIFF format example

Example of a Topo 50 map in GeoTiff format
Georeferencing keys in the GeoTIFF Georeferencing value
PCSCitationGeoKey (Ascii,60)

"Transverse Mercator; New Zealand Geodetic Datum 2000; GRS80"

ProjectionGeoKey (Short,1) User-Defined
ProjectionGeoKey (Short,1) CT_TransverseMercator
ProjLinearUnitsGeoKey (Short,1) Linear_Meter
ProjNatOriginLongGeoKey (Double,1) 173
ProjNatOriginLatGeoKey (Double,1) 0
ProjFalseEastingGeoKey (Double,1) 1 600 000
ProjFalseNorthingGeoKey (Double,1) 10 000 000
ProjScaleAtNatOriginGeoKey (Double,1) 0.9996
Ellipsoid 7019/GRS 1980 (6378137.00,6356752.31)
Projection Linear Units 9001/metre (1.000000m)
Corner Coordinates (eg)

Upper Left (1876000.000,5658000.000)
Lower Left (1876000.000,5640000.000)
Upper Right (1900000.000,5658000.000)
Lower Right (1900000.000,5640000.000)
Centre (1888000.000,5649000.000)