Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Maps of the globe

  1. Feb 17, 2010 #1
    I'd like to play with creating maps, as plane representations of the globe. I know a lot has been done, and I even considered buying some online, but at least for fun I'd like to compute my own projections, be able to tune them at will. So I would basically need a correspondence coordinate <-> country at some reasonable resolution level, in the form of a database or something more clever.

    Would somebody know how I can get this information ? How do they create maps anyway ? Assume you have a plain list of coordinate for points along all borders in the world, is there an efficient way to compute which country a random point belongs to ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 17, 2010 #2

    D H

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    A long time ago I worked on a joint NASA/NOAA/WMO/UN effort to put weather satellites around the world. We used the CIA World DataBank II to provide geographic features and country boundaries. Our first target installation was the People's Republic of China. They didn't particularly like the CIA's dashed line separating mainland China and Taiwan. We had to figure out how to hack that out of the DataBank. Our next installation was Argentina. They didn't like the CIA's dashed line between Argentina and the [strike]Falkland Islands[/strike] Islas Malvinas. Our third target was Bangladesh. They didn't like some of the boundaries, either. By that time we had become quite adroit at editing the WDB II.

    BTW, the CIA WDB II is still available (although horribly out-of-date). For example, http://www.evl.uic.edu/pape/data/WDB/.
  4. Feb 17, 2010 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  5. Feb 17, 2010 #4
    Would you be willing to sail the 7 seas with my in a sailing vessel? (it will have cannons for Africa's coastline)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook