Plant Maps On Motutapu Island


Motutapu Island is managed by the Department of Conservation (DoC) and the Motutapu Restoration Trust (MRT). Under a conservation project initiated over 20 years ago nearly 100 hectares have been replanted, mammalian pests have been eradicated, and native birds have been released on the island. The latter resulted in the successful rearing of a Takahe chick in 2015.

The island is affected by weed infestations. One of the worst is Moth plant which smothers native trees and shrubs. A removal and control programme is jointly managed by DoC and MRT.

An attempt to collect data on weed areas using a GPS unit and Google Maps was only partially successful. What was needed is a solution that Trust volunteers could use with minimal training.

GiC was asked to help and Lucas Mostyn (GIS specialist) was assigned to assist Nanda MacLaren (MRT volunteer). Their joint effort produced the ideal result for volunteers.

This GiC-sponsored project uses ArcGIS Online (AGOL) and the free Collector for ArcGIS app. Using the latter meant the lack of cellphone coverage on the island was no longer a problem. Software and IT infrastructure management also were resolved as GiC hosts the ArcGIS Online at no cost to MRT.

Image: GIS map of Motutapu Island showing Moth Plant locations

MRT volunteers can now download the required current map before going to the island, enter information about weed sites as they work, and synchronise the data back to ArcGIS Online when they return to the mainland.


I'm a geogeek based in Wellington, New Zealand.

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