What is NIWA Quantum Map?
NIWA Quantum Map is a free, open source, desktop mapping tool based on the popular Quantum GIS application. It is simpler for new users to learn as it has had some GIS functionality hidden or removed to be less confusing. It also has a custom plugin added to provide easy access to NIWA map data over the internet.
Download NIWA Quantum Map (EXE 65 MB)
Have a look at our Introduction to Quantum Map (PDF 268 KB)
Let us know what you think - email Brent.Wood@niwa.co.nz.
Why has NIWA developed and provided NIWA Quantum Map?
NIWA has established a programme supporting the New Zealand Government's policy on open data, using standards and protocols consistent with government guidelines, such as eGIF (e-Government Interoperability Framework) and the SDI (Spatial Data Infrastructure) Cookbook.
Making data available is only one step in NIWA's programme, equally important is ensuring the public can find and use the data being provided. NIWA Quantum Map is a free tool that people can use to access and use NIWA data, as well as data from any other agencies that provide their data using the same standards. As a desktop tool rather than a web based application, users are easily able to use local datasets, perhaps private or confidential, in conjunction with NIWA's data. NIWA Quantum Map also provides an extensible platform for purpose specific tools to work with NIWA data, and NIWA is continuing to actively develop and enhance it.
The simplified tool allows users to become familiar with the basic program, without the often intimidating complexity of a complete GIS application. Once users are comfortable using NIWA Quantum Map, those that have a need for more powerful analytical capabilities are able to install Quantum GIS, or any other GIS application of their choice.
Why is it free?
NIWA wants to provide access to its data. To do this, it is ideal to provide users with a desktop tool that allows them to interact directly with NIWA's datasets, rather than to develop or enhance web portals for every dataset NIWA provides. This tool means that NIWA can focus on providing data, rather than on developing websites and portals where users can interact with data.
Quantum GIS (also called QGIS) is free, as is Quantum Map. They are both Open Source applications, the developers and maintainers of these programs are paid for the work they do directly by users of the tools, so sell support rather than the program itself. For example, NIWA paid for the developments necessary for this release, and they can now be freely given to anyone.
What does it do?
NIWA Quantum Map is primarily a tool data to display data in various formats as maps. It does not have analytical capabilities (you can use the original Quantum GIS with other analytical tools like R, SAGA:GIS and GRASS if you want such capabilities). It does, however, include the editing (digitising) tools that are part of Quantum GIS.