24 Nov 2012

New high resolution maps of NZ sea floor

6:03 am on 24 November 2012

NIWA is about to release a new high resolution chart of New Zealand's sea floor.

The agency spent the last 15 years creating a new version of the maps it created in 1997.

So far it has charted about 20% of the seabed using new high tech sonar devices.

Marine geologist Dr Helen Neil said the maps will be used to find underwater wildlife habitats, build models of natural hazards and spot promising sites for mineral extraction.

The new charts will be available on NIWA's website on Monday.