Locally applicable information about climate and soil properties can help farmers identify opportunities and reduce risks associated with changing to new land uses. This article describes techniques for preparing high-resolution regional maps and GIS surfaces of agriculturally relevant climate parameters. Ways of combining these climate surfaces with soil data and information about the physical requirements of crops to identify areas likely to be the most suitable for new high-value crops are then outlined. Innovative features include methods for merging observations from temporary climate stations installed for one to two years in conjunction with longer-term climate station observations to improve input data for the maps, and techniques for mapping quantiles of climatic factors that may constrain agricultural operations. Examples are the expected ‘one-in-five year’ first and last frost dates, and the ‘one-in-five year’ lowest and highest seasonal rainfalls. The use of night-time satellite infrared observations to improve spatial resolution of frost hazard maps is also described. Typical standard errors of these climate mapping techniques are summarised. The benefits of ongoing consultation with local farmers and local government staff during the design and implementation of climate/soil/crop potential studies are described. These include optimising products to meet local needs, quality control of the resulting maps and GIS surfaces through local knowledge, and improved uptake of information by users. Further applications of techniques described in this paper include products useful to the energy sector, preparation of daily gridded climate data estimates for use in water quality and plant growth modelling, and development of regional climate change scenarios.