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Project: 3D Mapping Arthur's Pass

Accurately 3D Mapping The Highway Corridor and Associated Structures

The Challenge

Travellers heading down through the Otira Gorge along SH73 are usually too preoccupied with the dramatic scenery or with staying safely inside their lane on the steep and winding road to think about where the boundaries of the road might lie. There are generally no fences or other features to denote exactly where the State Highway stops and Arthur’s Pass National Park begins, and the road has had several major realignments since opening in 1866.

For Waka Kotahi (NZTA) who owns and maintains the State Highway network, it is vitally important to ensure that all their roading infrastructure is contained within their road corridor, and outside the strict environmental protections of the National Park.

To this end, Waka Kotahi’s agents, The Property Group Ltd (TPG) approached Fox & Associates to provide a solution to accurately map in 3D the current physical Highway corridor and associated structures in the 15km between Arthur’s Pass Village and Otira township. This solution meant that an arrangement could be reached between the various stakeholders as to where new road boundaries should be drawn.

Our Expertise

Specific services included UAV LiDAR and 3D Mapping.

The project presented some unique challenges which required careful and creative planning to overcome.

The UAV flight needed to be a mobile operation involving two vehicles, one with the pilot and one with the spotter following behind the UAV in a vehicle as the corridor was far too long and winding to keep the UAV in sight at all times.


The Solution

The data needed to be accurate enough to enable the plotting of these new boundaries. It also had to be captured efficiently and safely without compromising the operation of the busy State Highway. Our solution was to provide high-accuracy imagery and a 3d model of the road corridor based upon LiDAR data captured by our Innoflight Galaxy UAV (drone).

Once the data was safely captured, Phil Dewar, the company’s 3D data champion set about creating the various deliverables. The dataset presented unusual challenges both in its large size and its long, thin shape.

Once wrangled into a satisfactory 3D model, Phil then needed to provide information in formats that a wide variety of stakeholders of varying technical expertise could access and make use of. This included CAD files, PDF plans, and a Google Earth KML that automatically inserted the road corridor and survey accurate photos into Google Earth.

The Result

“The dataset provided by Fox & Associates exceeded our expectations in both quality and timeliness. It provided us with rich imagery and accurate 3D information to enable all the stakeholders to make good decisions with confidence and study the terrain in detail from a desktop location.

Steve Cottrell - Waka Kotahi’s Principal Property Manager 

We were very proud of both of the way the team worked together to solve problems and safely achieve the project goals and of the final deliverables.

To learn more about this project, read our blog Legacy Project: 3D Mapping Arthur’s Pass

Discover what we can do for you. Contact us for your free initial consultation and feasibility assessment.

Contact Details

Email :

Phone : 0800 369 787 (0800 FOXSURVEY)
+64 3 903 2770

Postal Address:
PO Box 895
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Office Locations

Christchurch Office:

195 Peterborough Street
Christchurch 8013

Ashburton Office:

AON House, 2 Queens Drive
Allenton, Ashburton 7700

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