Wellington City Council in New Zealand has published a large amount of its geospatial information to the public, either free of charge or at very low cost.
The data includes aerial photographs of the city, contour lines, building footprints, and locations of council facilities such as swimming pools, libraries, public toilets, walking tracks, parks and reserves.
Some hazard data such as wind zones for building consent structural requirements, tsunami evacuation zones, and potential flood hazard areas, are also available.
Prior to the recent release of this geospatial information, customers were charged for the data on a cost-recovery basis and were obliged to contact the council to request it.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the council now recognised the economic and social benefits of making this information available on the internet.
"Whether it's a government organisation, community group, businesses or individuals using it – this information aids decision-making and it will allow many projects or initiatives to be completed more quickly, cheaply and effectively,” she said.
Because the geospatial data is made available under a creative commons licence, businesses and web developers are free to build web-based or smartphone applications using it.
A recent study revealed that innovative use of geospatial information added over $1bn to the NZ economy in 2008.
The information is available on the council’s web site.
Non-technical users can view the information using the council's WebMap.