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In May 2015, WLASS entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with LINZ to scan the Waikato Historic Aerial Photos archive. The LINZ Crown archive contains over 500,000 historic aerial photo negatives captured by surveys flown over New Zealand between 1936 and 2005. All of the shareholding councils are participating in this 4-year project, which is expected to be completed in 2018.
Each quarter, the latest batch of scanned photos are uploaded onto the Retrolens website www.retrolens.nz. Retrolens is a public website that the Local Government Geospatial Alliance has developed. It allows the public and all councils to easily search and use the images. Councils have been using the images for vegetation change detection, contaminated land identification and to locate changes to coastal accretion and erosion. Members of the public have said how valuable it is to be able to access these photos, which were previously costly and difficult to find. Being able to access the images 24×7 means an increase in effectiveness and a reduction in council staffs’ time to find and provide the images.