Natural Earth

Natural Earth, built through a volunteer collaboration and supported by the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS), was developed as a public domain resource for making custom maps and offers free vector and raster map data at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110m scales. 

It was created with the aims of:

  1. Giving cartographers an off-the-shelf solution for creating small-scale world, regional, and country maps.
  2. Including many features missing from people’s mental map of the world in the hope of improving overall geographic literacy.

Key features of Natural Earth include

  • Vector features include name attributes and bounding box extent.
  • Large polygons are split for more efficient data handling.
  • Projection friendliness — vectors precisely match at 180 degrees longitude.
  • Raster data includes grayscale-shaded relief and cross-blended hypsometric tints derived from the latest NASA SRTM Plus elevation data and tailored to register with Natural Earth Vector.
Spatial Coverage: 
International

Data Publisher:

Documentation: 

Online help available in the Advice & Tutorial sections of the Natural Earth online forum.

Format: 
  • Natural Earth Vector comes in ESRI shapefile format.
  • Natural Earth Raster comes in TIFF format with a TFW world file.
  • All Natural Earth datause the Geographic coordinate system.
Data Access: 

Data freely available on the internet for any type of project. The Terms of Use may be viewed here.