NZ GiS – Here’s what we’ve been up to recently.

NZ GiC Newsletter 01

Welcome to the inaugural NZ GIC quarterly newsletter!
We’ll be taking these opportunities to showcase some of the
projects undertaken by GIC Volunteers and to give readers
an insight into the GIC Community.
Our quote of the month:
"There is nothing better than encouraging young people to recognise the value of ecology in the community".
Keith Levy, GiC Treasurer, 2017.
Photo: North Island Robin, Gollans Stream, Eastbourne, courtesy of Keith Levy, 2017.

NEXT Predator Free Wellington Engages with the Community Using Operations Dashboard

Photo: Panoramic photo of Wellington, 2010, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 licence.

Kelvin Hastie describes himself as an urban predator hunter, ridding Wellington of rats, stoats and possums.

With support from the NEXT Foundation, he and many Wellington households across the city are trapping pests in their own backyards, and are able to track and record their activity through GiC hosted ArcGIS Online services.

Their mix of web mapping apps are geared to communicate with administrators and households, informing on progress and encouraging participation.

Operations Dashboard for example, does a great job of highlighting key variables in a number of ways to different audiences, thus providing that vital encouragement through headline data. Users can quickly see number of pests caught, or number of households involved, shown as totals or broken down by suburb.

Image courtesy of NEXT Predator Free Wellington’s, Operations Dashboard, Dec 2017.
Image courtesy of NEXT Predator Free Wellington’s Operations Dashboard, Dec 2017.
And here’s what Kelvin Hastie, who champions this campaign, sees as encouragement in the form of a map:
Image courtesy of NEXT Predator Free Wellington’s, ArcGIS Online Webmap, Dec 2017.
"This map gives you a fairly good picture on how we are doing with our Urban areas, Parks and Reserves trapping in Wellington City……and I think it shows awesome density. Keep on trapping, still plenty to do"
Kelvin Hastie – NEXT Predator Free Community Champion, Facebook, December, 2017.
Big thanks go to Shaun Weston and Ed Cook for developing these services on behalf of NEXT Predator Free Wellington.

Spotlight on Keith Levy,
GiC’s Treasurer

Broken Woman Mural
Photo: Keith and his wife Jackie, with Owen from Wellington Regional Council, courtesy of Keith Levy, Dec 2017.
Keith is captured here watching North Island Robins in Gollans Valley near Eastbourne, where these birds were released as part of MIRO (Mainland Island Restoration Group).

With a different hat on, Keith is GiC’s volunteer Treasurer. We decided to throw the spotlight on him and his lifelong interest in conservation. Keith is in his 80th year and has only recently given up monitoring trap lines. Here is his story in his own words:

I have always been very aware of the environment that I grew up and lived in and have loved over my whole life. I grew up in Takapuna, 5 minutes from the rocks, the reef and sand – what a play area. I was a keen scout in my teen years, getting to know the trees, birds, mapping and camping skills.

A move to Masterton in 1970 opened up the Tararuas to our emerging family. We had a 12-acre block east of Masterton where we had our own little remnant of native bush, a real joy for my wife and I. We had many mature natives and added NZ clematis which loved showing itself through the totara trees. At the same time, nearby Mount Bruce Forest Reserve was in the process of eliminating predators with extensive trapping. The change in the undergrowth was just fantastic in not having all the young trees being eaten off by possums.

With the Henley Trust in Masterton, there was much more than book keeping to be done. This group looks after an artificial lake and wetlands area on the outskirts of the city. I built tracks and planted trees and accompanied school groups in planting programmes. This was a real highlight for me, as there is nothing better than encouraging young people to recognise the value of ecology in the community. They were great experiences for children and I am sure they will appreciate their contribution looking back in later years.

On retirement at the young age of 65, Jackie talked me into moving to Wellington where I had dragged her from 37 years earlier.

This is when I got involved with MIRO and was given a trap line of 26 stations baited for rats and stoats. I did this trap line for 10 years. If you ever get the chance to walk along the track following the river along Gollans Valley, the nikau trees in the wet areas with the profusion of young ones reaching up, is just fabulous.

Another highlight was the MIRO North Island Robins release. Unfortunately, it was not successful but there were a few families that managed to survive on my area until a year ago. I was always on the lookout for them, watching them, feeding them, and calling them. The birds seemed to enjoy this interaction too.

Photo: North Island Black Robin in Gollans valley near Eastbourne, courtesy of Keith Levy, Dec 2017.
Finally, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to monitor a group of banded dotterels that turned up on the Eastbourne foreshore about 3 years ago. Watching their process of the males and females sorting things out, locating their nesting sites, and seeing their little ones tearing round on the stones, hunkering down when danger appears has been quite a joy.

This is how I met Parker Jones and became involved with NZGiC, and although I have no GIS skills, I do enjoy sitting in their meetings and listening.

GiC News
SCGIS 2018 Scholars Program
On behalf of SCGIS (Society for Conservation GIS), we are pleased to announce that applications are open for the SCGIS 2018 Global Scholars Program, offering a bunch of learning opportunities at the hub of Esri, with key annual events including:

  • Specialised GIS training at the University of California, Davis Campus (13 June – 4 July, 2018).
  • ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro and web-application training at Esri head-office in Redlands, California (5-8 July, 2018).
  • The ESRI International User Conference in San Diego, California (9-13 July, 2018)
  • The SCGIS Annual Conference in Monterey Peninsula, California (15-18 July, 2018)

GiC encourages candidates who are fairly new to GIS, and are using it to solve an Iwi or conservation issue to take the leap. The deadline for submissions is the 7th January, 2018. For further information, please email us.

2017 Spatial Excellence Awards
People and Community Finalists
GiC were very excited to be named as a finalist in the 2017 NZ Spatial Excellence Awards ‘People and Community’ category. We’d like to thank everyone who helped make that possible. The winners were announced on the 15th of November, and although it wasn’t us, we were proud having made it that far.
Message from the Chair

Forthcoming Regional Focus

As we look to 2018, GiC is aiming to extend its turf beyond Wellington.

To date, most of our engagements have evolved there, simply because most of the committee lives there. However, we’re gradually adding to our tally from the regions, with Martin Slimin from Tauranga, who joined us last year and has already engaged with local groups there.

Lucas Mostyn in Manawatu is doing great things with Environment Network Manawatu, and Kath Henderson in Nelson has recently joined

the committee as our newsletter editor. She will be engaging with local groups in the top of the south, and will be putting together these quarterly newsletters.

The plan is to eventually have regional GiC representatives throughout NZ, who will engage with local groups, offering advice and contacts. On that, we’d like to give our thanks to the Esri User Group for giving us a slot at the 2018 regional conferences, to help kick this off.

Parker Jones, Chairman GiC

Banded Dotterels Collector App


Image: courtesy of MIRO Banded Dotterel Collector App, Dec 2017.
We heard a bit about MIRO from Keith earlier. They are a conservation group working in partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) in East Harbour Regional Park (EHRP). There are a number of initiatives under their management, one of which is the monitoring of nesting banded dotterels.
Photo: Banded Dotterel at beach near Eastbourne, courtesy of Keith Levy, Dec 2017.
Banded Dotterels are threatened and in decline. By catching and banding a sample of them and recording information about them in Collector for ArcGIS, MIRO is hoping to answer a number of unknowns, including:

  • the local survival rates of banded dotterel chicks at different locations between hatching and fledging.
  • the local survival rates for adult banded dotterels during the breeding season.
  • their principal wintering sites.
  • the proportion of locally-fledged banded dotterels that return to their ‘natal’ breeding sites as mature adults.
  • the proportion of adult banded dotterels that return to their breeding sites each year.

For the second consecutive year, Collector has been used to collate and manage this data, and could be easily be extended to other species.

Our thanks go to Parsi Hyvonen who developed the app on behalf of MIRO.



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

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