TRAMPING

New Zealand Topographic Maps made Free and Easy Online

Monday 24 January 2011, 9:33PM
By Gavin Harriss
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If you’re a keen tramper, angler, hunter, or other outdoor pursuit enthusiast you’re likely to already be familiar with the official LINZ ‘NZTopo’ Topographic Map Series, traditionally purchased as printed paper maps. These topo maps have now been made even easier to use and access through the free online service www.topomap.co.nz.

Merging the official LINZ topo maps with the Google Maps interface everyone knows and loves makes this service a breeze to use and an invaluable tool for research or planning that next big adventure. It provides a level of detail simply not available through Google Maps alone. Both the Topo250 and Topo50 map series are made available for New Zealand, Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands.

Place name searching allows hard-to-find streams, peaks, huts, and other land features to be tracked down easily. Want to share a location with a friend? Add a pin and label to the map, then send them the link – it’s that easy. Want to provide detailed information about a trip? More advanced users can add their own KML overlay they’ve created in Google Earth. You can even embed mini topo maps in your own website or blog using the service.

For access to topo maps while on-the-road a mobile version of the service is available for iPhones, Android devices and other smartphones. If available, the devices built-in GPS capabilities can be used by the service to pin-point your current location on the map – handy if you’re a little lost!