New Zealand: Highly detailed digital maps of New Zealand’s seabed are now freely available on National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research’s (NIWA) website. They give an unprecedented insight into the shape of the ocean floor – ridges, volcanoes, plateaus, canyons and seamounts. The data presents digital terrain models generated from multibeam data, combined with traditional bathymetric data.
The 250-metre-resolution digital terrain maps of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone are available in multiple high-resolution file formats to suit present and future needs. The dataset provides the most up-to-date bathymetry of the major features from one of the largest areas of deep-water seabed.
“These maps are significant for the residents of the country, revealing potential for fisheries, environmental management, conservation, hazard mitigation and energy and mineral opportunities,” said NIWA Marine Database Manager, Kevin Mackay.
Dr Charlotte Severne, NIWA Chief Scientist Māori Development & Oceans, said that putting these maps online gives an opportunity to showcase the work of NIWA.
“These are the best map products around. They include an extensive area of 11.7 million square kilometre, an area that extends past the continental shelf, and to depths of up to 11,000 metres,” said NIWA geologist, Dr Helen Neil. “They are the product of truly sophisticated seafloor mapping combined with expert marine geological knowledge.”
Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and the Royal New Zealand Navy, the US National Geophysical Data Center, Institute Francais de Recerche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer, and Land Information New Zealand funded the digital products and bathymetry project.
The maps (bathymetry) of New Zealand online, were produced from 2,593,115 square kilometre of swath coverage and 5,005,568 kilometre of single-beam survey lines. That’s equivalent to nearly 30 years at sea.