2022 SAG Award Winners

New Zealand Walking Access Commission | Ara Hīkoi Aotearoa

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Project Goal

The New Zealand Walking Access Commission
Ara Hikoi Aotearoa (the Commission) is a small central government organisation in Aotearoa, New Zealand, focused on people and their access to public land. Its small GIS team recently released two public-facing applications, an ArcGIS AppStudio iOS and Android app called ‘Pocket Maps’ and an ArcGIS Open Data site. Both further the Commission’s goal of increasing public access to New Zealand’s outdoors. Pocket Maps increases the safety and peace of mind for users such as hunters, anglers, hikers, and mountain bikers by providing an offline, portable mechanism for accessing NZ’s publicly accessible land anytime, anywhere. With the Commission’s Open Data Portal, the public, researchers, and partner organisations can self-serve their data requests. The Commission believes that increasing access to its data is also improving public access in New Zealand. The Commission wants to provide as much data as possible, free to anybody to use.
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Business Problem Solved

Before developing Pocket Maps and its Open Data Portal, many users of the Commission’s ArcGIS Enterprise mapping platform “Our Maps” wanted to download and use public access land data offline or with other applications. But there were no mechanisms for either use. Pocket Maps enables users to search for their location, offline in the outdoors, to understand what type of access land they are currently on or looking to hunt, fish, tramp or mountain bike through. This provides a more efficient mechanism for assessing land access, especially when out in the field, than previously possible via Our Maps.
The Commission’s Open Data Portal provides a free, one-stop-shop for people to download the most comprehensive public access dataset in New Zealand. This facility enables people to use the data for their own needs, encouraging further research, innovation, and recreational usage. Ultimately this makes outdoor access data more accessible for all.

Technology Implemented

• ArcGIS Online
• ArcGIS Hub
• ArcGIS Pro
• ArcGIS App Studio

Development Team Biography

• Danica Torres, GIS Analyst — Project Lead
Danica Torres is a GIS analyst focused on finding and delivering geospatial solutions to contentious issues. Since joining the Commission, Danica has created maps of public access areas and walking trails across Aotearoa, New Zealand. Most recently, her focus has been on developing and implementing Pocket Maps. Pocket Maps has helped users identify public access areas when they are out in the field where there is no mobile coverage.

• Julian Hitchman, Senior GIS Analyst — Design and Testing
Julian is a GIS analyst and designer with a passion for visualising data and designing interactive mapping experiences for people. Being fortunate enough to use GIS data every day is an amazing gift that he believes should be available to everyone. Since working at the Commission, he’s been part of a team that developed public-facing GIS systems, apps, and data that show people where they can access land and visualise our world-class outdoors in new w