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This site was created by Landcare Research (LCR) under contract from Environment Canterbury. It provides access to a single soil layer, containing soil mapping for the parts of Canterbury that do not have S‑map data and are not part of the Department of Conservation estate.

The requirement for this dataset, and the development of this site to house it, came via the "Matrix for Good Management" (MGM) project. MGM is a major collaborative effort to define practical good management practices (GMPs) to minimise nitrogen and phosphorus losses from agricultural land, and to quantify these losses from farms operating at GMP across Canterbury’s soils and climates.

Use of the MGM table for catchment accounting and consenting purposes requires compatible soil information across the region. S‑map (Lilburne et al. 2012), and its web counterpart, S‑map Online, provide soil information for most of the flatter parts of Canterbury, but detailed soil mapping has not yet been completed for the hill and high country. Completion of these areas is likely to be several years away, depending on funding. To bridge this gap, LCR was contracted by Environment Canterbury to create an interim soil layer by filling the gaps in the S‑map coverage with polygons from the Land Resource Inventory (LRI), and linking the polygons to representative S‑map siblings. In addition, improvements have been made to the spatial and attributional accuracy of this interim layer using topographic and geological maps, aerial photographs, and a digital elevation model. Further detail of the methods used can be found on the Provenance page.

The resulting layer can be viewed and interrogated in the Home section of this site.

Known Problems

  • Requests for soil data for mountain tops incorrectly reports the existence of siblings. This is an error and the factsheets you download will contain no data.
  • The site doesn't present well in landscape view on mobile devices. We are working to provide a fix, but in the meantime, try portrait view or visit the site on a larger device.
  • Various button interaction issues exist when viewing site on touch-screen devices.


Landcare Research (LCR) created an interim soil layer by filling the gaps in the S‑map coverage with polygons from the Land Resource Inventory (LRI). A number of steps were carried out to improve the accuracy of the LRI data and to establish a link to S‑map.

  • Major errors in the spatial registration or soil and landform identification were identified using 1:50,000 topographic maps, aerial photographs, Digital Elevation Model, and geological maps.
  • Very small (area < 5 m2) and isolated map units were merged or removed.
  • Soil polygon boundaries were corrected where aerial photos and topographic maps showed a poor spatial match with landscape units.
  • LRI identification of moraines, soils from sandstone, siltstone and limestone, and soils with loess mantles was improved using the geomorphic map of Barrell et al. (2011) and the recent geological mapping of Canterbury (QMAP, GNS 2015).
  • Polygons were linked to representative S‑map siblings. The correlation with S‑map siblings has been done on the basis of similar functionality with respect to nutrient losses, which may make this layer unsuitable for other purposes.

Base maps contain data sources from LINZ.

The interim soil layer data was last updated Feb, 2018.

Terms of Use

Landcare Research has compiled the maps and other information available on this site from data derived from numerous sources. The information may not be complete, correct or up to date. We do not accept responsibility for any actions taken that rely on it or consequences arising from the use of it.

The maps and factsheets you can view and download from this website are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 New Zealand License (BY-NC-ND).

This licence allows you to use the maps, factsheets and data taken from the site only for non-commercial purposes. (If you wish to use material from this site for commercial purposes, please contact us.) If you remix, transform, or build on material from this site, you may not distribute the modified material. The full terms of the licence are available here.

Among other things, the licence also provides that:

  • except as required by law or as otherwise agreed in writing between the us, the maps and factsheets are licensed by Landcare Research on an "as is" and "as available" basis and without any warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.
  • subject to any liability which may not be excluded or limited by law Landcare Research shall not be liable on any legal basis (including without limitation negligence) and expressly excludes all liability for loss or damage howsoever and whenever caused to you.

Terms of Use of the Website

This website is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in whole or in part except under licence from Landcare Research.

By using this site you agree, and are deemed, to be bound by the following Terms. If you choose not to be bound by the following Terms, then Landcare Research does not grant you the right to use this site.

You acknowledge that Landcare Research acts as the provider of this website.

You agree that you will not attempt to alter this site or employ any robot, spider, or other device or process or means whatever to use this site for any unauthorised purposes.

You agree not to:

  • make excessive traffic demands;
  • deliver viruses or forward any other system that is of a destructive nature or capable of so being whether alone or in combination;
  • otherwise engage in any other behaviour that may be reasonably expected to inhibit other users from using and enjoying the site;
  • or damage or destroy the reputation of Landcare Research.

Landcare Research accepts no obligation to monitor the use of this site. However, Landcare Research reserves the right to disclose any information as required by law, to block access to you, your agents, associates or your company and take such other action as may be reasonably necessary to prevent any breach of these terms and conditions or any breach of applicable laws. Landcare Research will also in its absolute discretion fully co-operate with the relevant authorities with respect to any investigation of suspected unlawful activity or violation of the website's security.

Landcare Research does not warrant that this website or the internet generally will be uninterruptible or error free or that any information, software or other material accessible from this site is free of viruses or other harmful components.

Landcare Research is not responsible for any information contained on sites that this website provides links to nor any third party content that can be accessed through this website. The inclusion of any link to a website is not an endorsement of the linked site.

You also acknowledge that Landcare Research may suspend the operation of this website for repair or maintenance work or in order to update or vary the contents or functionality of the website. You accept that access to or use of this website or services or pages linked to it will not necessarily be uninterrupted or error free.

Landcare Research reserves the right to modify or terminate this website for any reason without notice at any time.

Enquiries or Complaints

If you have any enquiries or complaints about the data or services provided by this website then please address them to:

Linda Lilburne
Landcare Research
Gerald Street
New Zealand

We will only record your email address if you send us a message. Your email address, if supplied to us, will only be used for the purpose for which you provided it. We will not use your email address for any other purpose, and will not disclose it, without your consent.

These Terms were last updated on 20 January 2016.


If you have any problems or questions you can contact us at Please include "ECan Soils Viewer" in the subject.

Or you can write to us at:

Linda Lilburne
Landcare Research
Gerald Street
New Zealand