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Why location matters

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Technology allows us to find the exact location of things.

Technology allows people to know exactly where things are. Knowing the location of things helps people plan and respond. On this field trip you will look at how location-based information can be used to plan and carry out work on the Hokonui Restoration Project.


Everybody and everything are somewhere. The ‘where’ is a location on the ground. A map shows where things on the ground are.

Every day we use and collect information about where things are; this information is called geospatial data.

We all know something about where we are. When you close your eyes, you can imagine where you are. For example, with your eyes closed you can point to the door you used to enter the room you are in. You might be able to point to where you live or where your school is. We all hold pictures in our heads that help us decide how to move across the school grounds, or travel home. These pictures are based on what we have done in the past. Information about where things are is called location-based information or geospatial data.

What does geospatial data mean?

  • geo – means the earth
  • spatial – means space (the space around us)
  • data – means a group of facts for example numbers, words, measurements or records of what we see

Technology allows 2D topographic maps to be transformed into 3D digital maps. Image: LINZ/Freshmap.

How do I know where I am?

Since the time of cavemen people have needed to know where they are and where to go to find food and shelter. People have been drawing pictures to show where things are for a very long time. Now technology is making it much easier to show where things are.

How do you use technology to help you know where you are?

Māori oral maps

Māori had named every feature of the land long before other people came to Aotearoa. Māori shared this information in kōrero or whakapapa (oral maps). Sometimes posts or piles of rocks were used to mark places. Māori did not draw maps.

Making maps

Information for making maps was first collected by people who recorded what they saw. These people were often sailors or explorers. People who have the job of measuring where things are placed so we can make maps are called surveyors.

People who measure where things are placed so we can make maps are called surveyors. Image: LINZ.

These days technology helps give us very accurate data about where things are on the surface of the Earth. This information is used in restoration projects to plan and carry out work such as:

  • locating bird nesting sites
  • planning trap line networks and locating predator traps
  • locating and monitoring weed species
  • locating seed collection sites
  • planning and carrying out restoration planting.

Complete the Why location matters quiz >

> Discover more about mapping technology and restoration

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