Getting Started

NOTE: Following the recent changes to the user interface of the LRIS Portal, this page is currently being updated.


The LRIS Portal has been developed in conjunction with the team at Koordinates ( ) to allow you to download environment data held specifically by Landcare Research for use in GIS and other applications that can handle geospatial data for mapping, querying and spatial analyses.  The portal represents phase one of the redevelopment of Landcare Research’s Geospatial Information Portal and is part of an endeavour to create a new repository of authoritative New Zealand science datasets and information.


While you can search and view data, to download data you need to be a registered user.

If you are an employee of Landcare Research you should have been automatically registered to use the Portal and have immediate access to the web site by logging in.

Public users of the LRIS Portal will have to register to establish a userid (a valid email address) and password.

It is important that you read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy BEFORE you register. Don’t forget to tick the check box to say you accept the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Once you have registered you will gain access to the portal.

An email acknowledging that you have registered to use the service will be sent to the email address you provided.  Messages, such as when your data is available for downloading, will also be sent to the email address you provided when you registered.

Logging in

If you are an employee of Landcare Research you should login using your normal Landcare (Windows) login username and password.

Public users should login using the username (email address) and password they provided when they registered.

Background layers

Note that in the new user interface launched in November 2013, there are now four options for base maps from MapBox including:

  • Terrain: a coloured terrain shading base map
  • Streets: an OpenStreetMaps base map
  • Satellite: a multispectral (colour) satellite base with different resol;ution data displayed depending on level of zoom
  • Blank:  no base map

Selecting and viewing a Layer

Once you have entered the LRIS Portal web site – you can select and access data you might want to download by a number of methods.

  1. Click on the Data button immediately to the right of the LRIS Logo in the top left of your screen.  You will see that the data layers available are organised by Data Type, Category, Group and region in a menu down the green left hand box.  If you click on Category this list expands to gie category types with numbers of data layers that have been included under each heading.  By clicking on a category you will reveal thumbnails and titles of the data layers stored in that Category .
  2. You can also search for a specific data layer.  Just type the search words into the search box to the right of the LRIS Portal logo in the top left of the home page.  The LRIS Portal now uses a faceted search tool which enables you to search the multi-dimensional information space of layer titles, key words, geographic location (geotags) to progressively narrow your search choices in each dimension.
  3. Or you can simply click on one of the visible thumbnails or titles – or scroll through all available layers to find one of interest.

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Navigating the map

You can navigate around the map in various ways.

  • To pan click/hold/drag/release using the mouse cursor
  • Click on the + sign to zoom the map in (see more detail but for a smaller area).
  • Click on the – sign to zoom the map out (see a larger area but in less detail).
  • Click on the zoom tool (magnifying glass) and click/drag/release over a zoom area to carry out a marquee zoom.

To zoom to a particular portion of the map, use the drag and zoom function. Click on the magnify glass icon. Then go to the area on the map you want to zoom into, and click and hold the mouse button down (the pointer will change to crosshair). Drag out a box covering the area you are interested in. Release the mouse button. After releasing the mouse button, the area will automatically zoom to the area that was selected. If needed, you can repeat the same steps to zoom further into the area.

Alternatively you can:

  • Click and drag the map to view adjacent areas.
  • Scroll wheel zooming - Use the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out of the map.
  • -Keyboard shortcuts - Zoom in and out with the plus (+) and minus (-) keys.
  • Pan right, left, up and down with the arrow keys.
  • Pan wider with the Home, End, Page Up and Page Down, keys.

Once you think you have found what you are looking for you may want to check the contents of the data layer in more detail before committing to downloading the data.  Click on either the thumb nail of the data layer or the named link beside it and you will find yourself on the Summary page for that layer. This page includes a summary description, information about attached documents, the type of license the data is available under and tags (keywords).  On this page there are also tabs which allow you to see a metadata record for the data layer and to preview the attribute table associated with the data layer.

Viewing metadata about a Layer

Click on a Layers tab under the LRIS Portal logo (see also ‘Selecting and viewing a Layer’).

Locate the Layer you are interested in and click on the thumb nail map or link for that Layer.

When the page for that Layer is displayed it will show the Summary tab.  To view more extensive metadata for the Layer simply click on the Metadata tab immediately to the right of the Summary tab. A Dublin Core Metadata record for the Layer will be displayed.   You can change the metadata format using the pull-down menu at the right hand upper corner of the metadata pane to get ISO or FGDC versions of each layers metadata.

Note - The LRIS Portal actually stores Layer metadata as an ISO 19115/19 compliant metadata record in XML, which is great for a computer, but not very easy for a person to read.  Hence the default view being Dublin Core to give you an easily digested view of the most important bits of the metadata for identifying a dataset and its value to you the user. (Dublin Core is a simple standard for metadata that shows only a subset of the full ISO metadata record.)

When you download a data Layer (or part of a Layer) you will receive (along with other ancillary documents like Data Dictionaries) a PDF version of the Dublin Core record, as well as the ISO 19115 record attached with your data set.   You can access XML and PDF versions of the metadata directly by clicking on the links provided at the top of the metadata pane.

Selecting and viewing a Layer  Picture - new_plus_02.jpg

If you wish to see the data Layer overlaid on the map, click on the on the orange '+' button and you will see a map of your chosen Layer displayed on the main map. You can zoom and pan this map.

The '+' button will now have changed to a red '-' button.  Picture - new_minus_03.jpg

You can also view the attribute data of the Layer by clicking on the Data Table tab displayed below the layer's thumbnail.  This opens a table of all attribute values for you to view.  This is a dynamic view and so the content may differ depending on the level the map is currently zoomed to.  It also contains all the records, so sometimes those visible may not contain much data of interest.   Scroll down the table to see more of the data.

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Querying a Layer

The LRIS portal will display all of the polygons or cells in the data Layer so you can get an idea of what area it covers.  Many of Landcare Research’s Layers cover all of New Zealand, but not all.  The first layer you add will be blue, the second is usually red.  This portal does not provide multicolour visualisation of individual layers, or polygon labels.

You can use the magnify glass zoom tool (top left of the main map window) to zoom into a selected area. Clicking inside a polygon or a point on the map will bring up a new window with the attribute data for that polygon or point displayed.

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Note the value of 0.0m highlighted in blue on the pop up window of attribute data.  This tells us that we clicked within a single polygon or cell.  If you haven’t zoomed in very far (or not at all) the system may have trouble determining which polygon or cell you actually wanted to query.  In such cases more than one polygon or cell may be displayed.  In this case, rather than just seeing 0.0m you may see a vertical list of numbers where each number represents increasing distances from the polygon or cell you clicked.  (These numbers refer to the distance (in map units) from the exact location of the mouse click – to this polygon or cell.) Clicking on each number in the list will result in the display of a different set of attributes values. 

Downloading a Layer

To download data to your computer, you need to have added at least one layer showing in your selected layers stack. (Think of 'Your Map' as your shopping basket of data you want to download.)  When a layer has been added to Your Map, the 'Crop' and 'Download' buttons will become activated and the size of the download will be specified just below the download button (top right of your browsers view. 

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You can use the 'Crop' button (which displays a magnify glass select tool) to select (crop) a specific geographic area of the data Layer to download. The default is to download the entire Layer.

Go to the area on the map you want to crop your data to, and click and hold the mouse button down (the pointer will change to crosshair). Drag out a box covering the area you are interested in.  Release the mouse button (the blue rectangle will turn into a black outlined box). You have now defined the desired area you want the data cropped to.  Note if you are looking at a very dark raster or image layer the black outline may be hard to see.  We hope to remedy this problem soon.

To deselect (remove) the crop area, click on the x in the crop dialogue box. This resets the download to the whole data Layer. 

Or you can use the region crop tools to clip out a preset region (topographic map sheets, regional and districts council boundaries for example).

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To download a Layer, click on the Download button.  A pop up window will appear. Here you can then select the format and projection you wish to receive the data in. You will also get an indication of the size of your download.

You can download your data as Shapefile or MapInfo Table format, as well as AutoCAD DWG format or Google earth KML format (there is no option for the projection for KML as it must be in latitude and longitude).

For more information on the formats and projections see the FAQ page.

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Note that you can download multiple Layers in one request, including both vector and raster data. The download pop up box has options for formats for both types of data.  All layers will be cropped to the same extent if the cropping tool has been used.

Once you have completed the specification for your download, click on the "accept terms and create download" button to submit your download request.

You can cancel the creation of your download by clicking the stop icon next to the progress bar.

A pop-up should appear when your download is ready. Your download will be a zip file containing

  • the data you requested,
  • metadata records,
  • any related documents and 
  • a contents file summarising your order along with a copy of the licence or agreement setting out the terms and conditions under which the data can be used.

To download the zip file to your computer, click on the green highlighted button containing the file name. You can either open the zip file or save it to a suitable location on your local machine, where you can unzip the contents for use in your GIS or any other software that can read the file format.

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It may take a minute or two for the system to create your download file. The larger the size of the data you have requested, the longer it will take. The system will send you an email confirming your download is ready so for large requests you can exit the LRIS Portal, if you want to, and come back later to get your data.

Making a Comment

We are happy to receive comments about the Layers of data that have been made available through the Portal.  This is a place where you can let us (and other users) know if the data was useful to you, or let us know about possible problems/errors in the data.

Making a comment about a Layer of data is easy.  From the Summary page for the Layer, click on the Comments tab. (If people have already made comments, the number of comments made will be displayed on the tab).  Note you need to be a registered user and signed in to make a comment.

Simply type your comment in the box provided and click on the Post Comment button below.

Also - watch this space as we hope soon to launch a data quality feedback (DQF) service for selected layers (particularly the Landcover Database - LCDB) to allow you to initiate a "ticket" identifying possible data quality issues for us to consider and correct where appropriate. 

Your Dashboard

The Dashboard is an area of the LRIS portal where you can see what you have been doing on the portal.  You can also view a list of download requests you have made in the last 7 days (and download the files again if you want to) and change some of your personal settings.

In the future this is where you will be able to manage data you have uploaded to the LRIS Portal.

You can access you dashboard by clicking on your username along the main menu bar of the LRIS Portal (to the right of the LRIS logo and search box).  The dashboard lets you change preferences and check your previous activity on LRIS.

To get back to the main LRIS Portal Home page click on the logo at top left of your browser page – to the left of the search bar.

Getting help

If you need help, have found a problem or want to make a suggestion about the LRIS portal, select the "Contact Us" option under the Help & Feedback menu. Alternatively you can email

Note that help is provided on a best endeavour basis. We are unable to respond to requests for help at weekends, on public holidays and outside normal working hours.