NewZealand.com

The first resource any traveler to New Zealand should use is the excellent, Webby award winning, and official, newzealand.com. At its simplest it is a large listing of the cities, activities, accomodations, and information on New Zealand. What makes it really interesting is that every page includes an "Add to Travel Planner" button. When you add a page to your Travel Planner is sits in a list of collected items. So you can browse through all the cool things to do, mark interesting ones, and even pull in "collected travels" of suggested trips through various regions.

NewZealand.com Calendar

After you've gone around and collected all the things you'll want to do, you actually go into your travel planner. Here you can pull back up short descriptions, web sites, phone numbers and addresses of any of the collected items. You can also drag and drop these into a calendar to build up your itinerary. When you put successive activites in different regions a small link will appear that will give you travel information between the areas. This includes driving times and distances, airline carriers, or rail options.

If you've selected a "pre-designed trip" it will be brought into your calendar as several days of activities. For example, I brought in a 3-day driving trip of the southern cities of Dunedin, Invercargill, and Te Anau. I then added accomodations at the end of each day and other activies to do on the route.

And of course, after you've built up your calendar you can then view a map of your collection or your actual itinerary along with suggested or defined routes.

NewZeland.com Map

After you've done all this, you can then share your itinerary and contact information with a travel agent, friends/family (so they know where you'll be and how to get in touch), or for your own use for saving or printing along the way.

For general information that isn't part of a location you can add your own "Notes" and attach these at any point in the trip. This may be for suggestions you've received from friends or contacts.

Overall, NewZealand.com is an incredible resource and should serve as a model for any travel site.
Gusto uses the model of gathering up sites and locations, but just isn't quite as smooth as NZ.com does it.

A couple of things I wish the site did:

  • The map and calendar hold a lot of information and should be resizable to view larger
  • Export a set of driving directions and option GPX file for loading into a GPS or Nav system. Obviously this also includes exporting GeoRSS and KML for viewing in other maps, feeds, or GoogleEarth
  • iCal export of itinerary

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.