Frequently Asked Questions

What is Our Environment?

Our Environment is an online service providing access to some of Landcare Research´s considerable holdings of environmental data. Using Our Environment you can:

What is the accuracy of the maps viewable in Our Environment?

See the information provided under the Data Provenance tab.

Where can I find more information on New Zealand's Land Resources?

If you are seeking more information on New Zealand's land resources, visit the website of New Zealand's National Land Resource Centre.

Where can I find information on soils?

You can view soils information through another Landcare website, S-map Online.  S-map Online is the web delivery service for S-map a new digital soil spatial information system for New Zealand. Like Our Environment, it has been developed and is operated by Landcare Research's Informatics team. For areas of the country not yet covered by S-map Online, visit the maps section of Landcare Research's Soils Portal.

Can I download Our Environment data to use on my computer?

Much of the data used in Our Environment are available through the Landcare Research LRIS Portal ( If you can't find the data you want, please contact us.

Are these map layers available for me to use in my own web site or desktop applications?

We are slowly making map layers available through web services.  You can find out what layers are currently available and how to access the services at Currently four types of web mapping service are provided: OpenGIS® Web Map Service Interface Standard (WMS) Version 1.1.1, OpenGIS Web Map Tile Service (WMTS), Tile Map Service (TMS) and Google Maps XYZ Service.


Task or functionality related questions...

I'd like to be able to create a map by selecting data from particular datasets, e.g., the Land Resource Inventory, LENZ, etc?

Use the Content listing view to create a map by selecting data from a particular dataset.

Can I maximise the size of the map I see on the screen?

Use the 'Toggle full screen' button in the top menu bar of the mapping application. Alternatively, on most browsers there is a simple and quick way to expand your browser display with a one key press. Find the key labelled F11. (You will find it on the very top row of your keyboard). F keys are normally labelled F1 through F12. F11 is your current target. Hit the key and the browser window will go full screen. Press F11 again to return to the normal browser window.

When I click the Print button, nothing happens.  What's wrong?

If nothing happens when you click the Print button your web browser is probably set to block pop-up windows. To change this you need either to allow all pop-ups, or specifically allow those from  This setting should be under Tools >> Internet Options >> Privacy in Internet Explorer, or under Tools >> Options >> Content in Firefox.

Sometimes, because of the number of users requesting PDF files, print fails to work. Wait a few minutes and try again.

Why when I use the transparency slider in Internet Explorer 7 and 8 does the resulting map look very odd?

Unlike other web browsers, Internet Explorer does not render transparent images correctly. This is fixed in Internet Explorer 9.

Why can't I produce maps as PDFs larger than A3 size?

It takes quite a lot of computer processing time to create maps larger than A3 in size and typically browsers time out before the file is created. We are considering some kind of email delivery mechanism by which a request is made for a PDF file and a link is emailed to you when the file is ready. This won't be available for some months.

I'd like to be able to combine some of the map layers, e.g., to see what threatened indigenous vegetation is found on steep slopes. Can I do this?

Not at the moment. It would be a very valuable capability but we are conscious that we do not want to increase the complexity of the mapping application thus making it hard to use. This might be something we support in the future.

Will my browser be able to view this site?

The Our Environment website has been designed for and tested against browsers that are compliant with relevant standards from various software providers. Older browsers, such as Internet Explorer v.6, or other browsers that do not support all the required standards may not be able to access all the site's functionality. Some features do not work properly in certain versions of Internet Explorer 8. You also need to have reasonably good boardband to use this website.

What is the preferred browser for mobile devices such as tablets?

Google Chrome. Other browsers such as the default that comes with Android are not fully supported.


Last updated: 25 June 2014