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3D mapping to enable smarter land use

According to a recent report, the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing in an expansion of 3D mapping in order to support major development projects and improve land use management in the regions.

The Regional Economic Development Minister has announced that up to NZ$ 19 million in co-funding will be given to increase the national coverage of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data, or height data.

This is the precise measurements of the surface of the earth done from the air and used for creating 3D maps to manage land use.

The funding will expand LiDAR coverage, so that councils facing cost pressures can take part in the government’s programme to collect and make this valuable data available nationwide.

LiDAR enables smarter planning and investment in forestry planting operations, greater agricultural productivity and more efficient infrastructure development.

Moreover, this data will be used for better management of natural hazards. It is essential for better flood risk mapping.

It will also provide better understanding of the impacts of climate change such as landslides and erosion, as well as an improved environmental management.

The Land Information Minister shared that the funding will ensure that LiDAR mapping is available to regional sectors, such as forestry, farming, and infrastructure development.

It provides farm-scale land information to benefit the agriculture and forestry sectors.

It is also widely used for development, engineering, architecture, and design applications by the private sector.

The LiDAR dataset and the Digital Elevation Model are an invaluable resource.

They help councils and different sectors of the economy better understand the impacts of natural hazards such as flooding and sea level rise.

Geospatial information helps inform good land use decisions which protect communities and assets.

Councils will need to apply for the co-funding from the Provincial Growth Fund.

Coordination and technical support for all programmes will be provided by the Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) in order to assist the Provincial Development Unit in guaranteeing national consistency and open data access.

Open data access will benefit small businesses that would otherwise not have access to this enhanced data previously reserved for their larger competitors.

Homeowners will have information to accurately determine the exposure of their properties to flooding with accurate local elevation data, rather than relying on generalised models.

This could be used in setting meaningful risk-based insurance premiums, and better informing property transactions.


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