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Penguin Mapping

Penguin Mapping Project

Our first project is to create web-based maps using free open source GIS to display data that are recorded in NatureWatchNZ (NWNZ). This will add some additional features to the mapping outputs currently available. As New Zealand’s pre-eminent citizen science database, NWNZ is a very good tool for collecting, storing and sharing data and so the idea behind this project is add the power of GIS in a user friendly way. Since it is often community groups who are collecting the data we will look to a ‘one click’ menu of maps that are very simple to generate. These can help visualise some of the key information recorded in a NWNZ project.

For the pilot project we have chosen penguin monitoring, being an activity very important for conservation, and one in which a large number community groups and volunteers are involved. NWNZ is an ideal data collection tool for community-based penguin monitoring thanks to its user friendly interface and centralised open-access database.  National monitoring projects have been set up in NWNZ which we invite people to use to record their penguin observations. The data fields are based on feedback from groups already involved and using these will help create a national consistent dataset for the future. Once we have sufficient data in the national project we’ll be trialling different mapping outputs and analyses and gathering feedback from user groups on what would be the most useful. These will be ‘served up’ directly to a web page where they’ll be freely available. The final step is to automate the process so the system serves up ‘real-time’ spatial analyses and maps showing data and trends of interest.

You can also enter any penguin observations you make directly into NWNZ, if you see Yellow Eyed, Snares or Fiordland Penguins – crowd sourcing in action!

Simply go to and type in ‘penguin’ in search box under the ‘Projects’ tab. Select the national project for the species you saw from the list that appears, click “Add an observation” and follow the prompts from there.

Project 1 - Little Blue Penguins - data entry and analysis

Groups involved:

Nga Motu Marine Reserve Society



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