25 Sep 2012

Mapmaker leading edge

10:45 pm on 25 September 2012

A Wellington company started on a $100 investment 14 years ago has gained international recognition for its leading edge work making maps.

Geographx was a finalist for the recent coveted Global Map Awards, and it also won the top New Zealand map awards for the second year running with its 3D panoramic image of Tongariro National Park.

Founder and director of Geographx, Roger Smith, who calls himself a passionate mapsmith, says the company has clients from around the world.

MrSmith worked as a hill country farmer, geologist, and pilot before deciding to launch Geographx, based on the groundbreaking digital technology, Geographic Information Systems, or GIS.

From its office in the Dominion Observatory overlooking Wellington, he says his firm has carved a niche in visualising landforms in relief.

Its map of Marlborough Sounds has been selected as one of 27 from around the world to be featured in the inaugural Atlas of Design to be published next month by the North American Cartographic Information Society.

But Mr Smith says it's their work as chief cartographer and project manager for the largest world atlas ever produced that's given Geographx even stronger international links.

The result is a 150 kilogram book of five-metre maps called Earth Platinum.

Mr Smith says his firm is small but it is sitting on significant intellectual property.