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Want to know what’s under your feet?

23 July 2014

Want to know what’s under your feet?

Your smartphone can now tell you. Bay of Plenty Regional Council and GNS Science have collaborated to develop an interactive portal which provides instant access to information on Bay of Plenty groundwater systems and geology.

All you need to do is enter a street address or map co-ordinates into your computer, or have an android smartphone with GPS (the app isn’t available for iPhone yet), and you can call up information about the geology beneath your feet.

The computer programme is believed to be the first of its kind in New Zealand, and both organisations have funded the project. The Regional Council provides its groundwater information and borehole data, and GNS Science provides information on aquifers – earth or rock containing water – which are available to the public.

Regional Council Science Manager Rob Donald said the model was part of a larger project where scientists developed three-dimensional subsurface geological models of Taupo’s volcanic zone to better understand the geometry, fluid flow pathways and layer properties underground.

The website model, on a website called ‘Earth Beneath Our Feet’, shows the main geological units down to bedrock, along with information about the characteristics of rocks, such as gravel, most likely to be encountered.

This information can help identify where groundwater is most likely to be found. In time, more information about the Bay of Plenty’s aquifers, including the depth, temperature and chemistry of the groundwater, will be accessible through this website.

Mr Donald said the information portal, which is now live, will be useful to landowners and contractors to help with decisions such as where they can drill for water. It can be used on a computer, or as a smartphone app which gives access to a stripped-down version of the ‘Earth Beneath Our Feet’ website. The website is online at, and the phone app is called ‘GeoApp’.

“It means that landowners, consultants and students will have information at their fingertips. It also saves time for council staff, who won’t have to spend time on routine enquiries, as our data will all be there for people to look at themselves,” he said.


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