A recent development in geospatial data management in New Zealand is the creation of a website for facilitating the exchange of spatial data in New Zealand. The website www.koordinates.com contains information about what data is available and who or where it is available from. The site includes the ability to browse or search for data, pay for data online and also download free data where it is available. An example of the worthiness of this website is that the Department of Conservation’s ‘recreational opportunity spectrum’ is available. This particular dataset will assist in locating recreational activities as points of interest.
In addition, an open source point of interest database exists within New Zealand. The website www.zenbu.co.nz facilitates a user community to locate features using a Google Maps interface. Users can search and find community features as well as contribute to the database by adding their own point of interest data. When the researchers interrogated the Zenbu dataset in 2008, over 70,000 points of interest had been geocoded and were downloadable as a single table which contains x, y coordinates, description and tags (keywords). In 2012 the Zenbu database had about 105,000 points of interest and was growing. While the quality of the Zenbu database is not verified because it is only audited by its own user community, the volume of data within this database has the potential to provide a large benefit for accessibility projects while official datasets such as this are developed. It should be noted that in 2008 other point-of-interest datasets similar to this contained less than 10,000 points nationwide.
There are several locations on the internet where spatial data is available for downloading at no cost. Websites from commercial operators within the GIS industry such as www.geographx.co.nz and www.ollivier.co.nz in New Zealand often offer free data at a lower resolution or degree of detail than the commercial products they sell. Although these non-commercial products are probably still of good quality, it is not recommended that free sources of data found on the internet are used for accessibility assessment due to issues of data quality and completeness. Alternatively the data should be verified as correct via local knowledge and checking data quality.
Statistics New Zealand has made available a set of spatial data that will provide an essential role in assessing accessibility. Digital census boundaries, which at the most detailed level include meshblocks, became available free of charge from July 2007. Census data is an essential dataset for neighbourhood accessibility planning as each meshblock can be joined to census data for spatial analysis. This provides an important source of geodemographic data.