Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Using smartphones to explore public land

A partial view of the map of New Zealand on the Walking Access Mapping System website. Image / Walking Access Mapping System
A partial view of the map of New Zealand on the Walking Access Mapping System website. Image / Walking Access Mapping System

Outdoor types looking for new places to explore can now use their smartphones to find publicly accessible land across the country.

The Walking Access Commission last year launched the Walking Access Mapping System website, which uses maps and aerial photography to highlight publicly accessible land.

Now a new mobile website with an improved user interface allows users to access the system on smartphones and tablet computers.

The site makes use of mobile GPS functionality to pinpoint a user's location and highlight publicly accessible land in the area.

Another improvement is the ability for organisations to add their own information to the system - including the location of walking, horse riding and cycling tracks, camp sites, and fishing and surf beach access points.

Walking Access Commission chief executive Mark Neeson said the enhancements would vastly improve the mapping system as a tool for people planning trips into the outdoors.

"The mobile functionality allows people to access the mapping system on the go, while the ability for other organisations to display their own data has the potential to make the system the 'go-to' site for people looking for information about recreational opportunities in the outdoors."

Partner organisations that will contribute to the system so far include the Department of Conservation, Surf Lifesaving New Zealand, Fish and Game Wellington, Wellington City Council and Venture Southland.

The system is available at www.wams.org.nz.

- APNZ

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