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Making public and private data more accessible
After 12 months of development, the enhanced version of the Walking Access Mapping System is nearing completion. It has been a technically challenging project within a small budget and has brought home how fast software has developed since the mapping system was first designed in 2010.
The introduction of mobile functionality will be of immediate benefit to users but it's the ability for other organisations to display their own information on the system that has perhaps the most potential and is the most innovative.
When the enhanced system opens for public testing later this month it will display new outdoor access-related information that will make it easier for people to plan trips into the outdoors.
This information will include fishing access points provided by branches of Fish & Game New Zealand and the locations of walking tracks administered by the Department of Conservation. Some tramping clubs and tourism organisations have also expressed interest in joining the small group of initial partners that will be feeding their own data into the system when testing begins.
This is a good start, but it's only a glimmer of what's to come. As this new functionality becomes better known we expect myriad other organisations to harness the system to display all kinds of outdoor access-related information, from mountain biking tracks and bridleways to historic sites and lookouts.
This new recreational information will be attractively displayed in tandem with the public-access information that the mapping system was originally designed for. In doing this, the mapping system will increase opportunities to access the outdoors while maintaining clarity around land over which the public has access and land that is private.
I'd welcome interest from any organisation that might like to become a partner and share information on the mapping system.