Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Free Open GIS Shapefile Map Layers and GeoTIFF Images of the World by Country

The world of free GIS shapefiles is growing fast. Back in 1996 I started creating and collecting shapefile map layers. Most of what was available to me was United States based. Over the years more and more requests came in for GIS shapefiles for other places in the world. I've made an effort to provide more free international shapefiles, but until fairly recently, they've been difficult to come by.

With the advent of open source, open gis, creative commons and just plain sharing in general, much more is now available.

CloudMade provides free map layers in GIS shapefiles and several GPS formats. These global themes are available by country.

Natural Earth creates GIS shapefiles AND GeoTIFF images of countries of the world. These maps are in the public domain so you can use them for any purpose that you like. I'm very thankful for these extremely useful new cartographic resources. If you are new to GIS, check out the free Learn2map GIS Tutorial and Atlas.

Access the Openstreetmap - Cloudmade and Natural Earth GIS shapefiles, GeoTIFF images, and GPS maps

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