Major Upgrade for Walking Access Mapping System

Enjoying the great outdoors will soon become even easier thanks to enhancements to the New Zealand Walking Access Commission's Walking Access Mapping System.

The innovative mapping system, online at, is designed to help New Zealanders and overseas visitors identify land in New Zealand over which the public has access. It displays topographical maps and aerial imagery of most of the country and includes an enquiry function that allows members of the public to submit their questions and issues direct to the Commission.

Commission Chief Executive Mark Neeson said the enhancements, due to go live before the end of the year, would include an improved user-interface and a separate mobile-friendly version that would be accessible on smartphones and other mobile devices. The Commission would also open up the system to other public and private organisations that wanted to display their outdoor-related information to the public, he said.

“The mapping system will become a platform for organisations to display all kinds of useful information to people interested in getting out and about in the outdoors. Users will be able to sort the information to find many different points of interest, from walking and cycling tracks to fly fishing access points.”

The free-to-use Walking Access Mapping System was also a valuable resource for landholders, Mr Neeson said.

“The benefits of the mapping system for groups like walkers, anglers and hunters are huge, but these maps are also vitally important for landholders. Detailed maps that inform the public about land that is and isn't publically accessible are essential if people are to know the extent and limits of their legal access.”

Many local authorities hold public access information for their own regions but WAMS is the first time it has been unified into a nationwide system. Recreationalists, landholders and other people from a wide range of sectors, including the property sector, are now using WAMS as their site of choice.

The Walking Access Mapping System uses geographic information system (GIS) technology to allow users to zoom in, using topographic or aerial view, to investigate publically accessible land in any part of New Zealand. Users can also print maps, use a 'Draw' tool to measure distances between various points.

Questions about access or disputes over access can be lodged through the system's 'Enquiry' function, to be followed up by the Commission's nearest regional field advisor.