Walking in the Wellington region
By John Rhodes
Lower Hutt man Geoff Aitken has published two maps to encourage people to walk and tramp around Wellington, Kapiti and Wairarapa.
Retired from Land Information New Zealand, the tramper and cartographer loves map-making so much that he sought a project to use the skills he’d built up over 40 years. “The answer was a pair of maps to highlight the huge number of walks in our region,” he says. After three years of research and late nights at the computer, Geoff’s brainchildren, published by his company NewTopo (NZ) Ltd, have rolled off the press at Format Print in Petone.
The retail price for the maps is $25 each plus $5 for a mini-CD of the map.
Maps are available in:
Four ideas impelled him to start the project, he says. “First, as a walker and tramper I use maps a lot, and I was dissatisfied with the ones that were available. Second, I wanted to bring some innovation to New Zealand cartography. Third, I wanted a bright and interesting map to encourage walkers of all abilities. And fourth, I wanted to have some fun!”
Geoff Aitken’s “Wellington Walks” map covers the Wellington area south of Waikanae and Featherston, while the overlapping “Tararua Tramps” map covers the Tararua Ranges. Both are at a scale of 1:75 000 in which 13.3mm represents a kilometre. “I’ve aimed to make them bright and easy to read,” says Geoff. “Contours and relief shading give a context for the walking information, and roads and car park symbols show the way to track entry points. Both maps come with a CD which allows users to enlarge areas of interest.”
To compile his track information he consulted with the Department of Conservation, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and city and district councils. Geoff created the maps using digital topographic data from Land Information New Zealand and computer software from France. The GPS-compatible maps are the first to use the recently adopted NZ Transverse Mercator projection, which will soon be the standard for all New Zealand maps.
The veteran mapmaker emphasises that people navigating off the beaten track will still need the 1:50 000 scale maps published by Land Information New Zealand. However, he’s especially pleased with the waterproof synthetic paper on which his own maps are printed. “They’ll stand up to rugged use in any weather!” he says.