vector zoomed out

Vector basemaps will mean faster mapping 

The Walking Access Commission's mapping partner Eagle Technologies is improving LocalMaps, the program our online mapping system runs on.  

The biggest improvement Eagle is introducing is swapping raster basemaps for vector basemaps. These will load quicker and allow people to zoom in further so that they can see more details such as building outlines.  

A basemap is the information that gives geospatial data some visual context. So, our geospatial data goes from being a series of points, to become a series of points sitting on a map. The previous raster basemap was a cache of pre-drawn images to place those points on. By contrast, a vector basemap draws the map as it is needed. This means the map looks clearer- it always looks crisp, down to the lowest zoom level.  

Vector basemap zoomed in to see houses

Vector basemaps have much smaller file sizes than raster basemaps. This means they load quicker. This is important for people using mobile devices in the outdoors.  

And, because vector basemaps are drawn on the fly, they are easier to style. They can include the information most important to the person who is using them, without other information that they do not need.  

The Commission's GIS/IT Manager Sarah Cruickshank says the improvements are important.   

“Our maps allow anyone to view publicly accessible areas, tracks, conservation land and property information across New Zealand. These new improvements will make it easier and faster for people to find the information they want.”  

Eagle Technology will also be improving map searching so that it will be easier for people to find title numbers and parcel IDs.  

As well as the improvements Eagle will be fixing some bugs.  

Some of the drawing tools were not working.  For instance, measurement details and coordinates were not showing. And it was hard for people to share their saved maps with others. Eagle plans to fix all these bugs and more.