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Wellington City Council Geospatial Open Data

Purpose of agency

Wellington City Council (WCC) is the territorial authority for the city of Wellington. Its responsibilities include the provision of local infrastructure, building control, environmental safety and health, civil defence preparedness and land use management.


What has been released for re-use?

In April 2010, WCC began licensing and releasing geospatial data for re-use. This included aerial photographs, historic maps, administrative boundaries, contour lines, building footprints, utility networks, hazard information and locations of WCC facilities. In total, 55 geospatial datasets have been released to date.

The geospatial data is available in commonly used location information formats via Koordinates, a data delivery web service using global open standards. It is licensed for the widest re-use possible under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand (CC-BY) license.

The data is free of charge, except for seven aerial photograph datasets which are available at low cost to help cover storage overheads.

WCC also provides other geospatial data directly to third parties, who can then create products by adding value or combining the data with other datasets. In the past, some data has been procured from third parties, with licensing conditions that prevent release. This may be overcome in future by including a condition allowing for the possibility of re-use in procurement processes.

WCC has plans to continue licensing and releasing data for re-use. This intention has been shown through an action plan to ‘make Wellington a leader in freely providing civic data for use and manipulation’ in its Digital Strategy.


Reasons for release

  • Improving efficiency in the delivery of WCC geospatial data to customers;
  • Aiding economic growth, decision making & technical innovation based on WCC geospatial data;
  • Allows third parties to freely develop applications that benefit residents and visitors;
  • Encourages greater citizen participation in council processes;
  • Enables easier viewing and re-use of data with 24/7 access; and
  • Part of an aim for Wellington to achieve global recognition as a creative digital city.


Barriers to release

Resourcing data preparation –Many of WCC’s geospatial datasets require preparation for release that needs to be resourced. This resource allocation has been supported by making the provision of open data part of the Digital Strategy. Future systems development will take into account open data release to streamline processes.

Impact of heavy load on the WCC website –This issue is addressed by the WCC placing its licensed and re-usable geospatial data on an external site, where it can be downloaded in a machine readable format.


Economic and social impacts

  • 200 Square is an online real estate agent that has developed Watch My Street tracks valuation and sales trends using WCC’s District Valuation Record and utilises open data from Land Information New Zealand and the Ministry of Education.
  • Nextspace used Wellington City Council data to create a 3D visualisation of ‘Wellington – Past, Present and Future’ as the digital centrepiece for the “Big Data” exhibition at the grand reopening of the National Library of New Zealand. The visualisation is available on Vimeo under a CC-BY-ND license.
  • As part of the 2011 Mix and Mash Competition, Wellington Sculpture Tours was created with six different map based tours using the WCC Sculptures dataset and flickr photos. The site has received over 15,000 views, with average visitor numbers gradually increasing over 2 years.
  • WCC’s Public Conveniences data is used by Crappr to provide information on public toilets. The website provides distances to the nearest public toilets from a given location, and a rating system for the facilities available.
  • WCC Tsunami Evacuation Zones are used by to allow residents to check their address against zone data. This complements the websites’ earthquake maps, displayed via an open GeoNet web service.


Efficiency impacts

  • Architects and property developers are able to access and retrieve data themselves, saving time for WCC staff who no longer need to attend to their data requests. As of November 2013, the datasets have attracted over 100,000 views. Freely available datasets have been downloaded over 24,000 times.
  • Greater Wellington Regional Council has integrated WCC data into the Cycling & Walking Journey Planner, providing residents with a coordinated walking and cycling resource. A smartphone app, Walk Cycle Wellington, provides mobile access to the same information.


Transparency impacts

  • The University of Otago and The University of Auckland use WCC data to teach students how to utilise geospatial information for town planning. This will help to increase the decision making capability of the planning sector in the future.


This case study was last updated in February 2014.

Re-use of this case study is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand Licence.