New Zealand: Mistakes made in the latest batch of 50 topographical maps of the Ruahine Range can put trampers’ lives at risk. The latest official topographical map series included mistakes with tracks that have never existed or no longer exist, tracks put on the map in the wrong place, or tracks included that are no longer deemed safe to use, according to Manawatu Standard report. The errors were discovered by a chief guide Kim Fraser. Mistakes are being investigated by the Department of Conservation (DoC), New Zealand (NZ).
Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) topographer Geoff Howard said if any of the errors or changes caused a potentially life-threatening situation the maps would be re-printed immediately. DoC area manager Jason Roxburgh said the new maps had been created using the same technology as that used in GPS systems, mostly created by aerial photos. He urged people who find mistakes to contact the department.
One of the main safety hazards Fraser noticed was poled routes being shown as tramping tracks. Poled routes are generally on the tops above the treeline and alpine skills are needed at certain times of the year, under certain weather and track conditions. Fraser said, “Sound navigational skills are also most certainly needed under some weather conditions as this can make the route impossible to navigate without them, even with sparsely placed poles along the route.”
Land Information New Zealand, which produced the maps, also said that many tracks were hidden under native forest and therefore could not be seen from satellite imagery.
“We are reliant on up-to-date information being supplied to us from the Department of Conservation, tramping clubs and individuals. We also have an agreement with DoC that new map editions will be sent to them for review prior to publication, to best ensure the accuracy of the DoC assets,” said national topographer Geoff Howard.