WISE is an Integrated Spatial Decision Support System (ISDSS) designed specifically for New Zealand which focuses on the Waikato region. It is developed as part of the Creating Futures project (, a 4-year project (2006–2010) funded by the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science, and Technology. The project brings together a regional council (Waikato Regional Council) and several research partners in New Zealand and from overseas to provide better knowledge, methods, and tools to support long-term integrated planning. WISE uses knowledge, models, data and parameters obtained from several central and local government agencies and research organisations, including the project partners. Its principal purpose is to support policy, planning and decision-making.


This integrated spatial decision support system is intended to support regional policy development, planning and resource management. It allows future scenarios to be explored and evaluated to inform community engagement, policy development and political decision making.

Latest Version 1.2
State of Development Stable Release
Current Development Activity Development is on-going. Development is dependent on the requirements of Waikato Regional Council.

Development Contact

Dr Beat Huser
+64 7 859 0998
Waikato Regional Council
Waikato Regional Council Private Bag 3038 Hamilton 3240, New Zealand

Main Developers

  • Landcare Research
  • AgResearch
  • National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA)
  • Waikato Regional Council
  • University of Waikato (UoW)


Outcome Areas Economic, Environmental, Social
Management Domains Land, Urban Systems, Biodiversity, Freshwater
Subdomains Contaminant Losses, Ecosystem/Habitat, Transport, Land Use
Intended End Users Initially regional councils but could be adapted or applied to cities, districts, catchments, sectors, etc depending upon need.
Spatial Resolutions 100-500m
Spatial Extents Local (i.e. Catchment or District), Regional
Spatial Dimensions 2D
Temporal Resolutions Years
Temporal Extents Decades
Steady State or Dynamic Dynamic
Level of Integration Economic, Environmental, Social

Input & Output Data

Key Input Data Macro-economic data, Land Use, Land Cover, Rainfall, Temperature, Population cohorts, Migration, Fertility
Input Data Formats GIS compatible files
Key Output Data Macro-economic data, Land Use, Population cohorts
Output Data Formats XLS(S), CSV, Image File(s), GIS Compatible Files


Open/Closed Source Closed Source

User Information

Operating Systems MS Windows
Software Needed Geonamica
User Interface Graphical desktop
Ease of Use Moderate There is an inital level of learning required to understand how DSS works, the underlying assumptions, what parameters can be altered and what outputs can be created. This can all be done using a 'base-line' scenario. Developing and loading specific scenarios into WISE is more technical and can require expert input and review to ensure meaningful outputs are generated.
Use in Policy Process Plan (Policy Formulation), Review (Issue Identification)
Documentation WISE Technical Specifications and User Manuals are available.
Support High via WRC and RIKS. Individual contributors can also be called upon for their expertise and assistance.
Users Forum RIKS has a users forum. There is currently no users forum for WISE, although one may be developed as WRC gains experience and possibly shares WISE with other organisations in the region.

Technical Considerations

Programming Language C++
Analytical Techniques Spatial Dynamics
Model Structure

WISE model diagram

Keywords regional policy, planning, resource management
Linkages to other Models
Links WISE includes 1) Sparrow, which is also a componet of CLUES; 2) climate change projections from NIWA that are used in numerous studies of climate change; 3) the Waikato Regional Dynamic Economy-Environment model that also exists as a stand-alone module used by WRC and was based on a model orginally developed for Auckland; 4) Threatened Environments, PAN-NZ and LENZ which is used nationally to assess representativeness; and 5) the RIKS land-use change model, which is found in numerous other decision support system internationally as well as emerging systems in Wellington adn Auckland regions.
Key References For a range of resources see:

Associated Case Studies

  • WISE - Urban Growth

    This case study applies Waikato Integrated Scenario Explorer (WISE) to explore urban sprawl scenarios for the Future Proof project centred on Hamilton and surrounding districts.

    Read more