Seeing a Better World™

The Top Image of 2011 – Announced

By DigitalGlobe | Published:

And the winner is…The Rakaia River in New Zealand!

The Rakaia River is in the Canterbury Plains in New Zealand’s South Island. It is one of the largest braided rivers in New Zealand. The river has a mean flow of 203 cubic meters per second and a mean annual seven-day low flow of 87 cubic meters per second. It rises in the Southern Alps, travelling 150 kilometers in a generally easterly or southeasterly direction before entering the Pacific Ocean 50 kilometers south of Christchurch. For much of its journey, the river is a braided river, running through a wide shingle bed. Close to Mount Hutt, however, it is briefly confined to a narrow canyon known as the Rakaia Gorge.

In the 1850s, European settlers named it the Cholmondeley River, but this name lapsed into disuse. The Rakaia River is bridged in two places. The busiest crossing is at the small town of Rakaia, 20 kilometers from the river mouth, where State Highway 1 and the South Island Main Trunk Railway cross the river using separate bridges. These two bridges are New Zealand’s longest road and rail bridges respectively, approximately 1.75 km long. A second bridge, much shorter and less used, spans the Rakaia Gorge.The Rakaia River is a celebrated Chinook salmon fishery. Bird species known to be found in the Rakaia riverbed are Wrybill, Black fronted Tern and Banded Dotterel.

18 Responses to The Top Image of 2011 – Announced

Ninad Bodhankar says: February 16, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Amazing details. Equal opportunity for academicians and planners. For me, the utility lies for study of depositional environment in a braided stream coupled with flow/discharge data.

Lifelong visitor says: January 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm

The Rakaia River runs into a lagoon separated from the sea by a boulder bank, with a constantly moving outlet to the sea, which is where most of the sport fishing takes place. Unfortunately the northern end of the lagoon is not shown. Is it possible to show this? It appears this photo was taken March 28th 2011, after harvesting of grain crops.

Charlie says: January 13, 2012 at 1:10 am

There’s no place like home. I remember as a kid crossing the longest bridge in NZ as we called the Rakaia Brdge. you couldnt see the other side and we sounded like a train as we drove over it. Always knew we were “nearly there” on our trips to Christchurch from Omarama. Fabulous picture. fabulous NZ!

Lee Harris says: January 12, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Thrilled that Selwyn District (borders the Rakaia River) is featured here. Would love to be able to use this image to promote the district – it’s fantastic!

Jas says: January 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Great work DG and a fantastic image showcasing our beautiful country. Great to be partnering with you to deliver satellite imagery for fleets around the world!

David Leggott says: January 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm

…..anyone else remember crossing that Rakaia River bridge as youngsters in the back of the car, and being challenged to hold your breath until it finishes. As it was near on a mile long, I guess it provided Mum & Dad with a breather and a small interlude of peace on the journey.

Kiwi says: January 12, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Great image. Sad that the Rakaia is heavily polluted from dairy runoff. Should be renamed The Nitrate Stream.

Seager says: January 12, 2012 at 4:11 pm

That image includes Rakaia Island, a very large and incredibly productive dairy farm that produces 1000 tonnes of milk solids per year. The green in the image is very real, and you can see the massive rotary irrigation markings if you zoom up on Google Earth. You can also see at least 4 separate large herds on zoom. An amazing place situated in the middle of an amazing river.

Jenny Dynes says: January 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Amazing! I live in Rakaia and it’s fantastic to see the river from space. I hope all who see it get the chance to visit Rakaia and see it for themselves.

Ian Forsyth says: January 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Thanks – I live nearby and I can now use it to find and utilise the Salmon Holes shown- in the image – Great work !!

Trees says: January 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm

New Zealand is a beautiful country with incredible trees, rivers, mountains. The garden of the south seas. Congrats to the winner and to DG for producing this amazing picture.

Stewart says: January 12, 2012 at 11:58 am

Yet another stunning image from Digital Globe. It brings a whole new eye on the world when seen from above like this, what an amazing place the Earth is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>