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Bird’s eye historical view of the Waikato shifts online


7 December 2016

Aerial view of Hamilton in 1943.

Bird’s eye historical view of the Waikato shifts online

Online access to a bird’s eye historical view of much of the Waikato region is progressively being made available as part of a leading edge national aerial photography project.

Waikato Local Authority Shared Services Ltd (Waikato LASS) – owned by the region’s councils - has supported the creation of the Retrolens website so that hundreds of thousands of historic digitised images can be freely accessed. The new website http://retrolens.nz/ will contain aerial images taken across the country from the 1930s to the 1990s.

These images are sourced from a parallel project undertaken in conjunction with Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) and other regional and local councils to digitise the Crown’s national archive of historic aerial photos in order to preserve them.

The Retrolens website already presents a wide range of Waikato images that have been digitised so far. Completion of putting Waikato’s historical aerial photographs on the new website is due at the end of 2018.

“This type of historical imagery is incredibly important for a variety of reasons,” said Waikato Regional Council’s spatial information manager Gill Lawrence.

“It helps in showing changes in land use and coastal changes, identifying where hazardous substances have been used or stored, and with identifying special features, including geothermal vegetation and archaeological sites, and as a resource for cultural research.

“The Waikato images will be a great resource for future planning and making sound economic and environmental decisions.”

The total cost of the national digitisation project, managed by LINZ and due for completion in 2021, is estimated at $5 million. Waikato LASS is due to spend close to $300,000 on digitising the images of the Waikato.

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