The 1:1,000,000 scale Vegetative Cover Map of New Zealand is the first vegetation survey which can be applied nationally for planning, research, and education. It optimises the cartographic potential of the vegetation information available in the early 1980s and provides a historical record which will aid in future analyses of vegetative cover and land utilisation. The map classification recognises 47 Vegetative Cover Classes identified by alphanumeric code and 17 Vegetative Cover Elements identified (only on the printed map) by symbols and patterns. The map is published as two sheets 730mm x 880mm covering the three principal islands of New Zealand and all offshore islands within 100km of the coast. The map was accompanied by a 153 page, illustrated, book which discusses New Zealand's vegetation and describes the 47 classes.
The Vegetative Cover Map is compiled from many sources and extensively field checked before publication. The vegetation data in New Zealand Land Resource Inventory was the primary starting point in the compilation. These data were plotted to a working scale of 1:250,000, edited and reclassified and data from sources such as forestry plans, vegetation maps and other land resource maps incorporated. The result was field checked both from the ground and from fixed wing aircraft, and corrections made. Peer review of the final 1:250,000 scale draft maps preceeded digitising for computer storeage, and cartographic drafting at a reduced scale of 1:1,000,000 for publication.
New Zealand's vegetative cover can exhibit change over relatively short time intervals. Be conservative when considering currency of these data.
This survey depicts New Zealand's vegetation at relatively small scale. Minimum map unit size is about 500ha. Because the data was compiled (and digitised) at a larger scale (1:250,000) than the final publication scale its locational precision (of about 250m) is better than one would expect from a 1:1,000,000 scale survey.