Geospatial Data and Software
Geographic Information Science uses software such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to manage, analyse and display data. "Every GIS comprises of 5 elements: computer hardware, software, data, personnel to run the system & a set of institutional arrangements to support the other components" (Aronoff,1989)
Geospatial data is increasingly available on the internet from the following links. Some larger datasets that have already been obtained are available on the UC network - see below.
The Local Geospatial Data Collection represents a number of datasets obtained over the years and retained due to size. In many cases it may be best to find the source in the links above and crop and download your area of interest.
To access this data on a UC Windows computer select Computer> Map network drive and make a network connection to \\file\bulk\geodata (no password required). Non-UC computer users must 'Connect using different credentials' and enter your UC username preceded with uocnt (e.g. uocnt\<yourusername>) plus password. This connection has a series of sub directories with short and hopefully meaningful names, described below. Many directories contain metadata - use is at your own discretion.
- world_esri: world from Esri Data and Maps for ArcGIS 2018.
- world_gadm: Global Administrative Areas as of January 2012 from http://www.gadm.org/.
- world3m: World @ 1:3M scale - Digital Chart of the World as of the early 1990’s.
- world10m: World @ 1:10M scale – Esri Sample Data as of the late 1990’s.
- Chch: miscellaneous data sets...
- CCC: Christchurch City Council building footprints and street centrelines
- CERA: Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority technical categories at 2013-12-04 and Land Check Colour Zones 2011 thru 2012.
- ch_airphotos: AirphotoMosaics.gdb contains seamless ArcGIS mosaics of the individual images in the sub folders.
- Greyscale_late_1990s_50cm NZMG airphotos from the late 1990's.
- Colour_24feb2001_10cm NZTM imagery post earthquake.
- Ch_CBD_QuickBird_25May2007_95cm.jpg NZMG
- NZTM (current projection):
- NZ_DEMs_25m_r_nztm ex Landcare LRIS Portal in 2021;
- NZ_SOS_15m_DEMs ex School of Surveying 2010 - incomplete;
- nzdem_8m_nztm ex Geographx - suitable primarily for cartographic visualisation, not terrain analysis;
- christchurch_15m_nztm ex LRIS Portal in 2014;
- Chch_Selwyn_1m_DEM_nztm LiDAR derived DEM 2011 + 2016.
- NZMG (because I'm reluctant to delete anything): North and South Island 25m (integer); and 25m_r (real precision, in 4 parts); and 500m;
- QMAP_NZ_1M - a seamless version of the 21 QMAP maps @ 1:1,000,000 (NZGD_2000_NZ_Continental_Shelf_2000) including the geology of the Kermadec, Bounty, Snares, Antipodes, Auckland, and Campbell islands. Double-click on the exe to browse the contents; open the ArcMap, ArcReader or QGIS documents in the Data folder; view metadata in the Texts folder.
- QMAP_NZ_250K - a seamless version of the 21 QMAP maps @ 1:250,000 (NZTM). Double-click on the exe to browse the contents; open the ArcMap, ArcReader or QGIS documents in the Data folder; view metadata in the Texts folder.
- QMAPs - the 21 separate QMAP maps @ 1:250,000 (NZMG) as copied from CD. When browsing the data be sure to run and read the Start_Here.exe for each region. There are existing ArcGIS map documents (*.mxd) in each regions qmap folder, or you can individually load the underlying data from the qmap\data folder.
- Basic Product (2.4m Multi-spectral and 0.6m Panchromatic suitable for image analysis).
- Bundle Product (2.4m Multi-spectral and 0.6m Panchromatic suitable for image analysis)
- Natural Colour Product (Pan Sharpened) (0.6m ortho-rectified, colour-balanced RGB mosaic appropriate for use in a GIS-environment)
- Auckland - 2005-08 (NZTM)
- 2003_07_06 (NZMG) - restricted access, CCC agreement required.
- 2010_09_05 (NZTM) - restricted access, ECAN agreement required.
- 2011_03_08 (NZTM)
- 2011_05_20 (NZTM)
- CGD_5mDEMs_2003_2012 (NZTM) - Canterbury Geotechnical Database, a suite of 5m DEMs derived from Aerial LiDAR surveys flown before, between and after each of the major earthquakes in the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence for insurance assessments and reconstruction work.
- Christchurch_Selwyn_2015 (NZTM) - DEM only and tile index
- Halswell_Ellesmere_2008 (NZMG) - data is not as described in the metadata but supplied as points in an ArcGIS geodatabase, and as XYZ values in *.txt files.
- Hope Fault LiDAR 2015 - extents and metadata only (restricted access).
- Kaikoura_Hurunui 2012/13 (NZTM) - metadata PDF's are in the sub-folders.
- Kaikoura PostEQ 2016 (NZTM) – from a Geology server, no metadata.
- Rangiora 2014 FPFA1064 (NZTM) - metadata PDF's are in the sub-folders.
- Rolleston_2016 (NZTM)
- Tekapo_LiDAR 2016 (NZTM)
- Waimakariri_2003_05 (NZMG)
- BrewsterGlacier - High-res ungeoreferenced tifs, survey number SN* 1053 & 5941.
- Edgecumbe - High-res ungeoreferenced tifs, survey number SN* 256, 596, 1409, 1883, 1906, 1908, 3486, 3580, 5379, 5433, 5977, 8240, 8732, & 8763.
- Tongariro - High-res ungeoreferenced tifs, survey number SN* 171, 554, 853, 1035, 2853, 5021, 5053, 5147, 5752, 8280, 8440, & 9990C.
UC has a range of geospatial software from proprietary to free and open source. Perhaps the main geospatial software is ArcGIS for Desktop from Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri), for which UC has an educational site license that covers non-commercial use by students and staff.
ArcGIS for Desktop runs natively in Windows, but can be run on Mac OS X by installing Windows in Boot Camp or a virtualisation program such as Parallels or VMWare.
UC computers can install and license from Software Centre, while off-campus licensing requires a full VPN connection or license borrowing - the latter is the preferred method and a must for off-grid use on a UC laptop - see below.
Student home use is enabled by obtaining install executables and Single Use license files from the UC network - see below.
ArcGIS Desktop v10.x (32-bit ArcMap): On-campus, run ArcGIS Administrator then select Borrow/Return and select just the licenses you want to borrow – more licenses take more time to check out. The borrow period will time out on the maximum borrow limit (365 days) or the annual license expiry date (30 January), whichever is first.
ArcGIS Pro v2.x (64-bit): On-campus, run ArcGIS Pro and go to Settings> Licensing and check on ‘Authorize ArcGIS Pro to work offline’. The borrow period will time out on the maximum borrow limit (365 days) or the annual license expiry date (30 January), whichever is first.
Students and staff can self-install UC’s current versions of ArcGIS Desktop* for home use (i.e. the old 32bit ArcGIS ArcMap v10.x and/or the new 64bit ArcGIS Pro v2.x) by obtaining the install executables (*.EXE) and Single Use License provisioning files (*.PRVC), plus *.MP4 video on licensing from UC’s network.
* the version you need will depend on what is used in your coursework, while thesis students should speak to their supervisor.
License files expire at the end of January each year (the UC Esri site license anniversary), at which time you’ll need to obtain a new license file to re-Authorize the software. Updating the software is optional, and if you stay with your current version then just start the license wizard as in step 4 below to read in the new authorization file as in step 3 below.
- Check that your computer meets the system requirements for ArcGIS ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro .
- On-campus, copy the required install and license files from the UC network. If you are off-campus then remote log on and copy to your OneDrive as per a. below:
a. Logon to a UC Windows computer, open Windows File Explorer, select This PC, then the Computer tab, and use ‘Map network drive’ to connect to \\file\bulk\geodata\Esri (no password required). Copy the respective ArcGIS_ArcMap (0.99GB) or ArcGIS_Pro (1.42GB) folder from the UC network to a USB or your OneDrive or PC.
b. On a non-UC Windows computer (i.e. your own laptop) open Windows File Explorer, select This PC, then the Computer tab, and use ‘Map network drive’ to connect to \\file\bulk\geodata\Esri, and additionally 'Connect using different credentials' to enter your UC username preceded with uocnt\ (e.g. uocnt\<yourusername>) plus password. Copy the respective ArcGIS_ArcMap (0.99GB) or ArcGIS_Pro (1.42GB) folder from the UC network to your PC.
- On your computer, paste the ArcGIS* folder into C:\Temp, then open and double-click the install *.EXE executable and follow the prompts, accepting all the defaults and agreeing to the terms and conditions. When installation finishes and the license wizard starts up, for:
a. ArcMap - set the software product to Advanced (ArcInfo) Single Use, then click Authorize Now..., and 'I have received an authorization file and am now ready to finish the authorization process’ and Browse to select the PRVC file, then continue to enter the required personal information and accept all further defaults.
b. ArcGIS Pro - if ArcGIS Pro starts up and prompts for a login, click Configure your licensing options and set License Type to Single Use License, License Level to Advanced, then click Authorize; in the Software Authorization Wizard select 'I have received an authorization file and am now ready to finish the authorization process’ and Browse to select the PRVC file, then continue to enter the required personal information and accept all further defaults.
- Check the license authorization status:
a. ArcMap: Run ArcGIS Administrator and select Desktop to ensure that the software product is set to “Advanced (ArcInfo) Single Use”, and then select Availability to view the status. In ArcMap use Customize> Extensions… to enable the required extensions, and Customize> ArcMap Options… General tab to Make relative paths the default… so that your work is transportable between file systems (assuming that everything is in one 'project' folder).
b. ArcGIS Pro: Run ArcGIS Pro and go to Settings> Licensing> Configure your licensing options where License Type must be Single Use License and License Level: Advanced.
- Enable the extensions: in ArcMap use the Main Menu> Customize> Extensions…; in ArcGIS Pro use Project> Licensing> and under Settings click Configure your licensing options.
- Keep folder and file names short and simple - use only alpha-numeric characters, starting with a letter a to z, with trailing numbers, and underscores are OK. This also applies to column header names in tabular data. Note that 32bit ArcMap can’t access tabular data in 64bit Excel, so export this as comma separated values (*.CSV format).
- Make projects transportable by keeping everything for each 'project' in one folder: in ArcMap use the Main Menu> Customize> ArcMap Options… General tab to Make relative paths the default…; in ArcGIS Pro this is not necessary, but you can check in Project> Options> Current Settings.
- Create a File Geodatabase for each project, in that project folder. A file geodatabase is a smart folder that stores raster and vector data much more efficiently than file based GRID’s and shapefiles: in ArcMap use Catalog to right click your project folder; ArcGIS Pro automatically creates a file geodatabase for each new project.
- Work locally (i.e. on your local hard disk or a USB3 external drive) as network speed and latency can significantly slow you down and cause crashes (PS: you'll need to backup manually!).
Tutorial data is available on campus by mapping a drive to \\file\bulk\geodata\Esri (if prompted for your UC username prefix it with uocnt e.g. uocnt\<yourusername>). Here you will find a folder called ArcTutor containing tutorial files (~9GB) for past and present Esri ArcGIS Desktop software.
- Check out the Esri Academy for self-paced Training. You need an Esri/ArcGIS account for training that is free, while those that require 'maintenance' can be unlocked by getting connected to UC's ArcGIS Online 'organisation' account, obtained by emailing John Thyne.
- Another great resource is YouTube: For ArcGIS ArcMap search for keywords that include the software such as 'arcmap basics', or to create a map layout see How to make a simple map in ArcMap. For ArcGIS Pro search for 'arcgis pro basics', or to create a map layout see Make a layout in ArcGIS Pro.
- If you want to create a geological map then have a look at Digitising a geological map in ArcGIS Desktop from the Scientific Illustrator, Department of Geology, University of Otago.
Need more information?
Contact our GIS Manager and Support person: