Waikato Integrated Scenario Explorer (WISE)


WISE is an 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. The model provides projected outcomes for land use, environmental, economic, and demographic indicators.  These scenario outcomes can be used to inform community engagement, policy development and political decision making.


The Waikato Integrated Scenario Explorer (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 (www.creatingfutures.org.nz), a 4-year project (2006–2010) funded by the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science, and Technology. The project brought 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 through integrated scenario planning.

WISE is a dynamic, spatially-explicit computer simulation model that integrates economic, demographic, environmental (climate, hydrology, water quality, biodiversity) and land use (suitability, accessibility, local influence, zoning) information to assess the effects and trade-offs of alternative future development scenarios or the consequences of policy options.

The WISE model is setup with a 'Reference' scenario which represents the modelled projections of population and economic growth for the Region and the current policies and plans that influence growth and land use development. The WISE User Interface allows for these key drivers to be changed to represent alternate scenarios of policy outcomes on economic/population growth and land use.



WISE - User Interface


Additional spatial layers can be easily imported into WISE to represent new/additional land use zoning or changes in suitability or accessibility for specific land uses as part of creating alternative scenarios.

Both numerical and graphical indicators are outputs from WISE. Further manipulation and analysis of scenario results can also be undertaken through additional spatial analysis (GIS).

Latest Version 1.5
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, Ecosystem Services
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)

WISE Technical Specifications and User Manuals are available from WISE Website

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 for Web

Keywords regional policy, planning, resource management
Linkages to other Models

WISE includes 1) Sparrow, which is also a component 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 and Auckland regions.

Key References

For a range of resources see: http://www.creatingfutures.org.nz/resources/

Associated Case Studies

WISE - Carbon Forestry

This report sets out the principles of how the ETS can be utilised at a regional level to encourage forestry plantings and associated environmental benefits.


WISE - Waipa District Growth Strategy

The key questions that were of interest to Waipa DC with respect to draft Growth Strategy were: