Canterbury scores again

Canterbury is again tops - but not just for rugby. Its regional council has won an international award for its use of GIS computerised mapping technology.

Canterbury is again tops - but not just for rugby.

Its regional council has won an international award for its use of GIS computerised mapping technology.

For 10 years, Environment Canterbury has used GIS linking databases containing information on the region's environment and natural resources.

Then, two years ago, it launched www.ecan.govt.nz allowing people to zoom in on just about any property in its region.

GIS can show roads, rivers and even give readings from groundwater wells. It also gives access to several Environment Canterbury and Land Information GIS Databases.

The GIS is in the form of an HTML page running Javascript which gives basic GIS functionality such as panning and zooming around a map, querying features and printing a map.

The various layers will display at different scales. As users zoom in on an area, the wells, consents and land parcels will appear. They also have the option to turn on and off the various layers.

The award, one of 150 from 60,000 applicants, will be presented on June 26 to the council's GIS analyst Wayne Stiven, by leading software developers, Environmental Systems Research Institute, at the annual GIS users conference in California.

Stiven says GIS combines the power of a database with the visual capability of a multi-layered map.

He believes the regional council's Web site - the public face of a much larger in-house database - is unique to New Zealand.

"Many local authorities have GIS systems but not many have it available on the Internet," he says.

"The idea is to enable people to see and do more for themselves without having to come into the council and do it. It saves time and money," he says.

The council is already planning a third version of the Web site and GIS information to keep up with latest trends.

Stiven says it will have more interactive features, easier zooming and panning, access to more GIS layers and make more internal council knowledge available to the public.

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