A truck that uses a metal plate to send earthquake-like vibrations into the ground to test soil quality will be used to zone Christchurch land when it arrives on March 11.
It will be the first time the 30,000 kg truck - nicknamed T-Rex has been used outsidethe United States.
Canterbury University earthquake engineer Brendon Bradley says T Rex uses a large metal plate to send vibrations through the layers of soil, with instruments on the surface recording the vibrations.
Mr Bradley says the information will give geotechnical engineers greater understanding of soil properties and could improve the accuracy of land zoning.
He says the research is a collaboration between the university and Texas University, with most of the funding coming from the National Science Foundation.