New Print: Typography Map of Auckland

A follow up from the 2016 Christchurch map, the Auckland Typography map is a new print beautifully representing central Auckland’s streets, motorways, rail lines, parks and more in flowing street names and places. Check it out below:

This design was more ambitious and time consuming than the last, covering a much larger area and including more streets than ever. New features not present in the first map included the locations of universities, hospitals and several popular locations. Each piece of text was carefully handcrafted and placed to avoid overlapping and ensure clarity of street names. A particular challenge was Auckland’s complex motorway system, but I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. What do you think?

Prints of this Auckland design are now in the store, check it out! Be sure to check out the Christchurch map as well if you haven’t seen it.

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Te Reo Māori Map of Aotearoa/New Zealand

As part of the 7 day cartography challenge last year, I created two maps showing Te Reo Māori names of towns and cities names across Aotearoa/New Zealand which were well received. Naturally, I wanted to improve the maps by researching the spelling of place names further to ensure they were accurate, and to spend more time fine tuning the design of the map.

Check out the finished product below (full image):

This map is a fantastic resource for learning more about New Zealand places from a uniquely Te Reo perspective. For those interested, prints of this map can be purchased on the Map Kiwi Store below:


Continue reading →

Posted by andrew in Blog, New Maps, 1 comment

Blog Update January 2018: The year that was, and looking ahead

It’s been several months since my last Map Kiwi blog update, so what better time to do it again at the beginning of a new year!

2017 was a busy year for me, filled with many projects and maps. It was the year I finally managed to finish my Masters in Geographic Information Science (MGIS) thesis last April. It was a stressful experience pushing it over the finishing line, but graduating the degree with first class honours was better than I could have hoped. For those with an interest in crowdsourcing and public transport, my thesis on ‘Gaining Insights into Public Transport using Crowdsourced Information’ is available here (warning, it’s lengthy!).

It was then I decided to pursue work as a freelancer instead of the traditional route of an office job in the GIS industry coming out of University. Having a well-known brand that people knew me by and a web store already selling maps helped with the decision, but it was the chance to take a more flexible approach and work on the kind of projects I enjoyed the most. Cartography is something that’s fairly specialist in New Zealand with not a lot of work positions in demand, so being able to further develop my skills through my own projects was the best way to pursue the work I’m passionate about. Of course, I continue to keep my eye out for work positions that interest me (don’t hesitate to ask if you are looking for someone with my skills!)

Some of my highlights during 2017 include the 7 Day Cartography Challenge, which I’ve previously written about. Not only did it provide a test of time pressure and cartographic skills, it produced some awesome maps which many of you loved! Participating in the GovHack Civic Hackathon in July was also an awesome experience, my team member Steve Ford wrote about the experience on the Interpret blog. Towards the end of the year, making a debut with my first retail partner Shopology in Christchurch’s Art Centre selling my work was a new experience, and yet another surprise was the popularity of the ‘Nobody Lives Here’ map in social media and the news articles that followed. I was even interviewed for a profile piece in’s The Press Newspaper which you can read here. The article as it appeared in the newspaper is below:



Looking to 2018, I hope to dive deeper into a greater number of interesting freelance projects whenever I can, and expand The Map Kiwi further still. I’ve got a couple of interesting personal map projects in the pipeline over the next few months, with the aim of learning new cartographic skills along the way (pinakographos, your awesome tutorials keep making this list longer!). I’d like to get into more interactive maps as well using tools like Leaflet for web mapping. Something I’d certainly like to do again is a second Cartography Challenge, so keep an eye out for that and feel free to send in your ideas for what I should create for it.

Wishing everyone the best for the coming year ahead. Don’t hesitate to get in touch or catch me at a local GIS event!

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Nobody Lives Here: Uninhabited Areas of New Zealand

With 4.6 million people spread out over 268,021 km², New Zealand is not a crowded place when compared to more densely populated countries such as Japan and the UK. The below map shows just how much land is uninhabited per square kilometre, making up 78.21% of our total land area.

The above map received plenty of attention on Reddit’s r/newzealand and r/mapporn, and featured in articles in The New Zealand Herald and Newshub. You can also check out a web map displaying the data here.

Posted by andrew in Blog, Portfolio Work, 0 comments
Holiday discounts on The Map Kiwi Store!

Holiday discounts on The Map Kiwi Store!

It's that time of year again, the Christmas rush! To make it easier to find that great Christmas gift, you can now get a 15% discount on the New Zealand State Highway Metro Map print (A1 size), and 10% off all other map prints. That includes the full range of print designs, including the Lakes of New Zealand, Metro Map Night Design, City Maps, Topography maps and Map Dots to name a few.

If you're ordering as a gift to someone, you can now specify a gift message. Just write your note at checkout and include the words 'gift message' to include a festive note alongside your order.

If you're ordering from overseas, order as soon as possible to ensure that your package arrives before Christmas. Cutoff dates are December 7th for Australia, and December 2nd for the UK/Europe/Asia/North America. 

The sale runs for one week from the 30th November up to the 7th December, so get in quick! 

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Custom Map Dots now available

Custom Map Dots now available

When I first made Map Dots during the 7 Day Cartography Challenge, some of you were asking for designs of different cities. Now, you can order a custom Map Dot for a town or city of your choice, and choose the colour as well! If you need help deciding on a location, this interactive map can help you get an idea.

You can order these here:

You can also get our existing Map Dots of New Zealand cities below:

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Christchurch and Auckland Historical Tram Maps

Christchurch and Auckland Historical Tram Maps

Trams used to rule the streets of New Zealand in the first half of the 20th Century, with Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin and more all developing extensive tram networks. Sadly, as car use became more widespread and service running costs increased, these networks were replaced with lower cost bus services in the 1950's. Many of the historical routes can still be seen in modern bus routes today. 

With the widespread discussion ongoing about bringing modern light rail to cities, it seems a shame that the original streetcar networks are no longer around. Maybe it's a chance to bring them back?

To get a perspective of the extent of these tram routes during their heyday, I created these transit maps of the electric tram networks of Christchurch and Auckland

Check them out below:


These maps are indicative routes based on available historical information. If you're interested in reading in more detail about trams in New Zealand, check out End of the Penny Section: When Trams Ruled the Streets of New Zealand by Graham Stewart.

You can get prints of these maps on the store:

Posted by andrew in Blog, Metro Maps, Portfolio Work, 0 comments
The Map Kiwi, now in store at Shopology!

The Map Kiwi, now in store at Shopology!

I'm excited to announce that in addition to my web store, products from The Map Kiwi will be making their appearance at a retail location in Christchurch!

Shopology is a store located in Christchurch's Arts Centre, upstairs from the i-Site visitors centre on Worcester Boulevard. It offers a range of unique designer items including clothing, gifts & interior items. Of course, it wouldn't be complete without some maps on sale also!

Shopology opens for the first time on October 1st. I highly recommended checking it out!


Posted by andrew in Updates, 0 comments

Designing a Topo Themed Map with Mapbox Studio



I've been interested in trying out Mapbox Studio for a while, so I thought I'd have a go creating a custom basemap myself styled like the Topo maps made by Land Information NZ. Despite some of the limitations of OpenStreetMap data that Mapbox uses as their data source, the final basemap looks pretty close to the actual thing.

Check out the interactive map below. Have a zoom around and check out the detail, click here for a larger window.

[leaflet-map height=600 width=100% zoomcontrol=1 lat=-41.291350787447215 lng=174.00466203689575 zoom=15]

Since OpenStreetMap doesn't have all of the datasets found on New Zealand's topo map, I downloaded some extra individual layers from the LINZ Data Service and added them as Mapbox tilesets to help make the map a bit more complete. Mapbox has a huge range of options for changing the size, opacity, order and symbology of map elements at different zoom levels, which as a cartographer was really fun to play around with! The downsides are that labelling doesn't look quite as good due to automatic placement, but I was happy to let that slide for my first go.

Compared to sites like which shows topo maps as raster image tiles, Mapbox renders data using vector data which speeds up load times and allows for a greater range of zoom transitions and styling. It makes the good old fashioned topography map a lot more dynamic and usable on mobile devices. 

Posted by andrew, 9 comments
7 Day Cartography Challenge: A Recap

7 Day Cartography Challenge: A Recap

A little while ago, I set myself a challenge of creating seven maps over the period of a week, posting a new map each day on my Facebook and Twitter. It was challenging to complete each resulting map within the short space of a day, but were well worth the positive feedback and skills learnt.

Here's a summary of all the maps I made during the challenge in one place. Enjoy!

1. Christchurch Cycleways Map

A map showing the major cycling routes that the Christchurch City Council is in the progress of constructing across the city. The bright route colours are reminiscent of a metro map, but with a much higher degree of geographical accuracy of the routes. Places of interest along the routes are represented by friendly bubbles, creating a circuit board-like appearance where paths meet and intersect.

2. Lakes of New Zealand

This one ended up being closer to an infographic than a traditional map, but came together beautifully as an effective visualisation of lake area size and depth, represented by order and colour respectively. Direct comparisons of lake size was eye opening as well; I had no idea how much longer Lake Te Anau and Lake Wakatipu were in comparison to Taupo, NZ's largest lake.

3. Wellington 9m Sea Level Rise

My goal for this map was to put a twist on the familiar Wellington coastline by showing the dramatic impact of a 9 metre rise in sea level on the city. Evans Bay and Lyall Bay are now connected, Miramar has become a harbour and shoreline of Lambton Harbour resembles something closer to its historic boundary. LIDAR contour data provided by the Wellington City Council meant that it was possible to derive this hypothetical new coastline with high accuracy.

4. A Map of Puns: The Town of Bulls

The town of Bulls, located near the west coast of the North Island, is widely known for their bullish marketing of the town's amenities. This map points out many of the pun-related (and real!) names of locations throughout the town. Unbelieva-bull!

5 & 6. Te Reo Maori Place Names of New Zealand

These ones were some of the most challenging ones to complete within a day, due to the amount of research required in finding the Te Reo names of places. I'm very happy with how it turned out though, and thanks to everybody that contributed corrections! 

Update: A researched and updated Te Reo Maori Map of New Zealand is now available as a print!

7. Map Dots

For the last day, I focused on something minimal and beautiful. And circles of course, who doesn't love those? The silhouettes of New Zealand cities using roads and coastlines made a perfect choice, for something I like to call 'Map Dots'. They're on the store right now! Thank you to OpenStreetMap contributors for the data used to create these.

A big thank you to everyone on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit who followed along and supported my 7 days of cartography. It was an ambitious yet very satisfying challenge to pull off. I learnt so many useful things (ideas, data sources, cartographic techniques) along the way out of necessity that will be very helpful in future situations, and of course, it helps to further demonstrate my cartographic skills to others.

I plan to refine some of the designs (some ideas need longer to mature) so keep an eye out for revised editions!

Posted by andrew in Blog, Portfolio Work, 1 comment