Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday Data: Map Library

Map Library is a data source project of the Map Maker Trust that is devoted to providing free “basic map data concerning administrative boundaries in developing countries” for any public user. Currently, the project is limited to maps of countries in Africa and Central America, but the available data is still quite elaborate. Once you have selected the region and country you desire, a list of all the available data will open. You can then download various files, including administrative areas and satellite images in either a latitude and longitude coordinate system or in the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinate system. The available files come in three or four formats (depending on the country and coordinate system) including shapefiles for ArcGIS use, KMZ files to be used in GoogleEarth, Map Maker DRA format, and MapInfo MIF format.

The Map Maker Trust, creator of the Map Library project, provides access to more than just maps. Currently, the charity's website is hosting version 0.9 of the Global Administrative Areas (GADM) database of the BioGeoMancer project. GADM, as discussed in our Dec. 10 blog, “is a database of the location of the world's administrative areas. Administrative areas in this database are countries and lower level subdivisions such as provinces, departments, districts etc.” Again, this data is available in a number of formats (shapefile, Map Maker DRA, and MapInfo MIF format) and is provided in a  latitude and longitude coordinate system. Additionally, the Map Maker Trust provides access to free software tools that can be used to easily display and manipulate map data. To get a look at some of the software that is available, as well as some external links to mapping data, visit The Map Maker Trust.

Below is a look at some of the data that the Map Library project has to offer.