Christchurch’s largest topographic survey dataset is now available for the public

View Christchurch City in 3D with the newly captured Christchurch City topographic survey (LiDAR) dataset!

The Christchurch Topographic Survey (LiDAR) High Density dataset was captured between December 2020 and February 2021. It was captured with a high pulse density (up to 16 pulses per square meter), making it one of the most comprehensive and accurate publicly available LiDAR datasets in Canterbury. This dataset will be a crucial resource for Christchurch’s continual urban development and mitigating the impacts of climate change. It can be used to measure more accurately areas that are at risk of flooding and liquefaction, planning new development and transport options, calculating tree canopy cover and so much more!

This dataset is now freely available through a collaboration with Christchurch City Council, Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand and Environment Canterbury. The dataset is available to view on Canterbury Maps or to download as a ground elevation model (DEM), an above ground surface model (DSM) or raw data as LAS Point Cloud.

Check out Christchurch City in 3D in the Canterbury Maps 3D Viewer.

Christchurch City High Density LiDAR Point Cloud data with the Christchurch City 3D Mesh in the 3D viewer

What is LiDAR?

"Elevation data or LiDAR (light detection and ranging) is a technology using laser sensors mounted on aircraft that fly over a landscape to capture a 3D view of the land. The sensor measures the time it takes for light to travel back and forth from the sensor to the ground. Because the sensor can rapidly pulse a laser beam, it can capture a "point cloud" of highly accurate 3D measurements – like a digital twin of the landscape." - Elevation Aotearoa

Below is an example of the Christchurch Topographic Survey (LiDAR) High Density dataset being used to generate a point cloud model of the Christchurch City Town Hall.

Find out more about elevation data including how elevation data is being used in New Zealand as well as how to use the data by visiting the Elevation Aotearoa Story Map

Visualisation of Christchurch City Council Town Hall, generated using the Christchurch Topographic Survey (LiDAR) High Density point cloud dataset. 
Credit: Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand


Prepared DEM and DSM files are available through the LINZ Data Service:

LAS Point Cloud and vendor project reports are available  from OpenTopography