Latest News

Mapping the Mataura River with the latest LiDAR tech

If you’re in the Southland region, you may have seen our twin-engine plane flying up and down the Mataura River and wondered what it’s all about! We've been out there measuring the riverbed, mapping out where the gravel is and how it has moved. This will help develop a better understanding of the current flood risk and how it can be mitigated. 

We flew the river in two sections – first starting from the coastal outlet to Waikaia. We decided to fly this section first as the conditions were perfect. With the river flowing at around half its usual height at the time, the water was running clear which meant we could capture the best picture of how the riverbed looks.  

Using the newest LiDAR technology, which we’ve just purchased into New Zealand, we can gain a better picture in a much shorter timeframe. With traditional survey techniques, we would have to measure each part of the riverbank manually, and then gauge the base of the river to get the depth. Capturing every metre of the river like this would have been near impossible. 

Jason Harvey-Wills, Landpro’s General Manager, explains: “Using this LiDAR system for our clients is a New Zealand first! The ability to measure above and below the water by flight saves a massive amount of time and resources, while giving us a 100% true picture of the entire waterway and how it changes over time. By re-flying at a later date, we’re able to see exactly where the sediment has moved and deposited to. This is critically important for managing flood protection, gravel extraction, port dredging, and beach erosion. We’re certain this technology will provide huge benefits for New Zealand in years to come.” 

Previously, LiDAR technology was only able to measure above water, as it bounces off the surface. But this new tech, using a special green lasered bathy LiDAR, can measure both above and below water. For good measure, our team will also do some traditional cross-section measurements on the ground to ensure our digital model is correct. 

You can see what we captured in the image below. This is a digital visualization of the data captured with the LiDAR bathymetry – picked up from 600m high, flying at around 130 knots. You can see the buildings, the base of the riverbed, and the river level in red where the laser has bounced off the surface. 

 If you know the Mataura River well, you’ll be able to visualize the area behind the Mataura Paper Mill. Compare the photo below – where the cross section runs from the white building (left – the abattoir), across the river and up the paper mill side – where you can see a tree on top of a large concrete wall.  

The final section above Waikaia was less flow-critical, as the river runs clearer and at lower levels than the first. That means we were able to map and measure the full river in a matter of weeks with a level of accuracy that was near impossible before purchasing this new LiDAR into the country. We’ll be able to fly again in 1-2 years’ time to gather an accurate comparison, better understand the dynamics of the river, and better understand flood risks in the area. 

We've had a blast using this new technology and are looking forward to flying the next project. 

Look out for our pilots flying overhead and give us a wave! 

Landpro to use new tech surveying gravel build up in Southland rivers

Environment Southland is gearing up to complete a high-definition river survey in the coming weeks. The project aims to measure the amount of gravel build-up in the Mataura and Waikaia rivers. The contract was awarded to Landpro in February 2022, to survey the rivers using new technology relying on light detection and ranging equipment. This new approach offers a huge increase in the amount of data gained, with 3-dimensional data of the entire river compared to cross-section methods for around the same cost. The survey data will shed light on how much gravel and sediment is in the rivers, where it’s sitting, and the potential impact. The capture component of the project will take approximately one week.

Southland farmers have been concerned about the gravel build-up, as it washes down from the mountains and changes the course of the rivers. This impacts the local environment, eroding banks and felling trees, with the potential to impact local pastures, infrastructure, and increase the risk of floods in local townships. Locals expressed their concerns following flooding in 2021 which impacted surrounding farmers’ land and brought even more gravel down into the main river systems. Locals have called for extracting the gravel build-up from the rivers to minimise risk. Surveying is an essential part of the process, providing the right data to navigate the best solutions and resolve the gravel issue.

While Landpro has been using LiDAR for the last 5 years delivering cross section data for the land-based component of sections, this survey will be the first time in New Zealand that such enabling data will be used by council to make really informed decisions. Landpro’s geospatial team will be working closely with the Environment Southland team to assist with data multiplication of the dataset ensuring the final data is of the most benefit to Southland.

Surveying is due to start Early-March and the data gathered will be delivered to the Catchment Operations team but will be widely used across different teams within council.

Christmas Closedown

After what has been another busy and unpredictable year, our team will be taking a well deserved break over the Christmas and New Year period.

Our offices will be closed from 5pm Thursday 23 December and reopening on Monday 10 January. If you require any urgent assistance over this period, please feel free to call 0800 023 318.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a safe and Merry Christmas/New Year period and we look forward to seeing you in 2022!

Proposed Changes to Freshwater Farm Plans

This week Kate Scott, one of our Executive Directors was invited to speak as a panelist on Sarah's Country - Opinion Maker -  the panel discussed proposed Freshwater Farm Plans and Intensive Winter Grazing.

The Freshwater Space has seen a lot of change in the past 12 months from a policy/regulatory perspective, which has kept those of us working to help farmers and growers to navigate the change space on our toes trying to keep ahead of what is coming, and in trying to support this with positive action on the ground.

When these regulations first landed, its fair to say many of the requirements were unworkable, and impractical. The Ministry for the Environment has taken on board this feedback and are looking at making some changes which  will improve the workability of the rules.

Over the next couple of weeks two key pieces of the Freshwater Regulations will be closing for submissions. The Draft Freshwater Farm Plan Regulations and Stock Exclusion Regs/Low Slope Maps on the 26th Sept, while consultation on proposed changes to the Intensive Winter Grazing Rules close on 7th Oct.

If you are keen to understand how these changes might affect what you are doing, and how to have your say then take a listen to the this informative episode -



Aerial to the Rescue!

Our dedicated aerial team have been busy recently capturing vital data over Canterbury for Environment Canterbury, to help them understand the extent of the recently flooding that hit the area!

As soon as the clouds parted and the rain stopped our team were airborne, acquiring the aerial imagery of key rivers over the region across two days!

Once they were on the ground, it was a midnight dash from Cromwell to Timaru for our aerial director Mike Borthwick, to collect the data and deliver it to our processing team of Andy Burrell and Greg Wooding!

These two worked through the night to have the data processed and up on the big screens at the Disaster Management Centre the next morning!

Our team were proud to be involved in capturing and delivering this critical and time sensitive information for our clients! 

South Island Field Days

Heading to South Island Field Days on 24-26 March in Kirwee?


Come and see the Landpro team on Site 435B (Section W) to discuss how we can help you make the most of your land! 

Daily Flight Times

Wednesday 17 February and Thursday 18 February 2021

Our aircraft will be operating between 12pm - 8pm on both days for approximately 2 hours. 

We will be flying over the following areas: Port Hills, Lyttelton, Ashley River and Rangiora


Aerial surveying project underway in Christchurch!

Media Release:

If you’ve noticed a small plane flying around over Christchurch recently, it may be Landpro working on its latest aerial survey project, to learn more about the changing shape of our city.

Landpro specialises in land surveying, mapping and planning throughout New Zealand and is currently using their twin-prop aircraft for a large-scale project in Christchurch.

Mike Borthwick, Director says surveying and mapping helps to ensure efficient development and use of land.

“We are often involved in regional, environmental and Resource Management planning, for which aerial and land surveys are essential“ Mike says.  “Aerial survey allows for the right accuracy, resolution and detail for more large-scale jobs and our team of planners and scientists use the information to ensure the best strategies are applied.”

The aircraft ZK-SVY is currently undertaking a high-resolution survey of the greater Christchurch area. The data from this survey will enable Christchurch to lead the way in sustainable and efficient design and development in future.

Mike says completing this survey will require a large number of flight lines backwards and forwards over the city. He says to keep the amount of flying to a minimum, operations are being scheduled outside commercial airline flight operations times, which means some night time operations.

“We are working closely with Airways Corporation, who control the airspace around Christchurch,” he says. “All our aerial surveying complies with air safety regulations. This includes flying above 3000ft and operating within specific hours set by Airways to avoid interfering with commercial flight paths. We realise this may be an unwelcome annoyance for some, and apologise to anyone our aerial work has disrupted.”

Landpro says the aerial work won’t last much longer – the company expects to complete the project within the next two weeks, subject to weather.

Details of upcoming flight times in urban areas will be updated frequently. 



What work is this aircraft being used for?
The aircraft is capturing a high density aerial (LiDAR*) topographic survey of Christchurch. These surveys are routinely captured and the last time this was captured over Christchurch was 8/Feb/2019.

Why is this aircraft flying low?
The aircraft is required to fly low to capture up to 16 pulse returns per metre for highly accurate topographic mapping of the natural environment, city surfaces and the built environment.

How long will this work be carried out?
The work is due to be completed today (weather and flight clearance dependant). The company has been asked not to fly past 20:00 for the remainder of the project.

Why is this air craft being flown at night?
The aircraft has been coordinating with air traffic control to get flight clearance. Unfortunately they have not been given the airspace during the day so have had to fly into the night. 

Why does this aircraft fly over the same area multiple times?
The flights are conducted with front and side overlap in their capture swathes so a continuous ground and surface model can be extrapolated.

*LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data, or height data, is precise laser measurements of the Earth's surface that is used for creating highly accurate 3D maps of the land. Having better elevation data will enable the city council to map infrastructure including transport network and impervious surfaces and improve the slope and elevation information that go into Land Information Memorandum reports. LiDAR topographic datasets are also foundational datasets that scientists use to improve geological, flood and coastal natural hazard models. It provides land information to benefit better planning for development, engineering, architecture, and design applications by the private sector and is available to the public via open data on Canterbury Maps, a joint project by regional and territorial councils of Canterbury.


Kate's Nuffield Presentation

Check out this short video snip it of Kate presenting her Nuffield New Zealand Report on 'Enabling Better Environmental Outcomes in Agriculture'

We are so proud of Kate and her achievements!

To listen to the full video head to - enabling better environmental outcomes in agriculture

Pyramid Valley Bridge Opening!

Pyramid Bridge Project!

For the past 18 months, Landpro in conjunction with Gore District Council, Southland District Council and Environment Southland have been working on the Pyramid Bridge rebuild. Our team were involved in the surveying, ecology and consenting components of this project and last Friday marked the official opening of the bridge!

Mike Freeman (Senior Planner/Scientist) attended the opening and was proud to have been part of this great community project!