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Maverick Sanchez
Maverick Sanchez

Asia Countries Shapefile Download: Tōa gojūmanbun no ichi zu and Tōa yochizu Historical Maps



Thousands of shapefile maps can be downloaded for free from the following websites, including country shapefiles, shapefiles at province or state level, and other administrative boundaries maps. The shapefile (or ESRI shapefile) format is a geospatial vector format, and is one of the most commonly used map formats.




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Free country shapefile maps can be downloaded below, which have already been integrated into StatPlanet. Maps indicated with an asterisk (*) are Flash maps rather than shapefile maps. Please note that not all country versions are using the latest version of StatPlanet. To update the country version to the latest version, please see the update instructions.


1. Once you have downloaded StatPlanet, find the folder 'Shapefile_map' and then go to the sub-folder 'map'.2. Remove the included example map files, and copy your own shapefiles here.3. Rename your files (e.g. xxx.shp and xxx.dbf) to map.shp and map.dbf. Only these files are required.4. Open the StatPlanet_data_editor file. Click on the button 'Setup shapefile' (in the top-left).5. Select the map.dbf file in the 'map' sub-folder, and follow the instructions.6. Run StatPlanet.exe or StatPlanet.html to see the results with the included sample data.


FEWS NET maintains current and historical national and subnational administrative boundaries for FEWS NET-monitored countries. These geospatial data resources identify the geographic boundaries of administrative divisions within a given country. FEWS NET monitors changes to administrative boundaries over time and uses these shapefiles to develop a variety of FEWS NET mapping products (i.e., acute food insecurity classification maps, livelihood zone maps, trade route activity, and market functioning maps).


FEWS NET maintains a database of current and historical sub-national administrative boundaries for FEWS NET-monitored countries. These files are available for download in a geographic information system (GIS) shapefile format.


While the site is now defunct, Oracles, Thinkquest.org site consolidated a series of country boundary data into shapefiles. Created as an educational site in 1996 and acquired by Oracle in 2002, the site went defunct in 2013. Thanks to the Wayback Machine, the shapefiles of country boundaries spanning between 2000 BCE and 1994 CE can still be downloaded. The data itself should be used with caution and only for small scale projects. Created by students, the archived disclaimer page explains that the data has a spatial error of roughly +/- 40 miles and the best available information, especially for the oldest years, is not the most reliable.


The site A Vision of Britain through Time from the the University of Portsmouthhas made historical boundary information for counties, parishes, and constituencies for England, Wales, and Scotland available for download in shapefiles format. The data downloads cover a variety of timeframes in the 1800s and 1900s. The county information is available for free download but the constituencies and parishes are offered under restricted downloads.


But I have some good news: I have done this for you! I have used the shapefiles of countries from Natural Earth, and matched them to the QoG country data. I have created spmap coordinate files that we can use to draw maps of the World, but also regional cutouts of Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Asia.


Built by the community and William & Mary geoLab, the geoBoundaries Global Database of Political AdministrativeBoundaries Database is an online, open license resource of boundaries (i.e., state, county)for every country in the world. We currently track approximately 1 million boundaries within over 200 entities,including all 195 UN member states. All boundaries are available to view or download incommon file formats, includingshapefiles;the only requirement for use is acknowledgement.


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Example pages containing:tips resources functions/proceduresNCL Graphics: map outlinesNCL has three resolutions of map outline databases available throughthempDataBaseVersion resource.Note that the behavior of this resource has changed in NCL V6.4.0!This resource can take one of four values; see the "dynamic" value fordetails about the change in V6.4.0:"LowRes" - the default prior to NCL V6.4.0; recommended for global maps and not for regional areas"MediumRes" - recommended for regional maps; has more up-to-datepolitical boundariesSetting mpDataBaseVersion to"MediumRes" allows you to optionally setthe mpDataSetName resource to controlhow many outlines you get and at what resolution. See example mapoutines_7.nclbelow."HighRes" - a high-resolution coastline database; cannot be usedfor global maps as it will not be drawn correctly. Requires a "RANGS"database that you need to download and install. Go tothe RANGS page for moreinformation."Dynamic" - new default behavior introduced with NCL V6.4.0; the LowRes database is used unless either of mpFillBoundarySetsor mpOutlineBoundarySets is set to something otherthan "Geophysical", in which case the MediumRes database is used. (see example 6 below).To turn NCL map outlines on or off, setthe mpOutlineOn resource to True orFalse. You can also turn map fill on and off by settingmpFillOn resource to True or Falseto turn on/off map fill.There are many resources for customizing the look of your map outlines.You can see the full listof map resources here. Here's a sample:mpGeophysicalLineColormpGeophysicalLineThicknessFmpGeophysicalLineDashPatternmpNationalLineColormpNationalLineThicknessFmpNationalLineDashPatternmpProvincialLineColormpProvincialLineThicknessFmpProvincialLineDashPatternmpUSStateLineColormpUSStateLineThicknessFmpUSStateLineDashPatternmpCountyLineColormpCountyLineThicknessFmpCountyLineDashPatternIn some cases, NCL's map outlines may not give you the outlinesor resolution you desire. We recommend that people useshapefiles, which you can find numerous, free examples of using a web browser search.The Global Administrative Database (GADM)( ) offers variouslevels of outlines for many countries in the shapefile format. Seethe shapefiles examples page for moreinformation.This page shows you various comparisons of the three map databases, as well as how to add your own map outlines via shapefiles or simple polyline drawsvia:gsn_add_polylinegsn_polylinegsn_add_shapefile_polylinesmapoutlines_1.ncl: Shows how to draw the Changjiang and Huanghe Rivers on a zoomed in map of China, using gsn_add_polyline.The script was contributed by Dr. Xiao-Feng Li of the Institute ofAtmospheric Physics (IAP), Chinese Acadmey of Sciences (CAS), modifiedfrom a GrADS code from Dr. Pinwen Guo (NUIST) and NCL code of Dr. JunCheng (NUIST).mapoutlines_2.ncl: Shows how to draw outlines of Switzerland using shapefiles downloadedfrom example draws a panel plot, comparing NCL outlines with shapefileoutlines.mapoutlines_3.ncl: This script demonstrates the difference in resolution between thethree available map databases in NCL, via a zoomed in map of Norwayand Sweden.mpDataBaseVersion is used to set thedatabase that NCL uses to draw the basemap. Bydefault, mpDataBaseVersion is set to"LowRes".If you want to use the "HighRes" map database, you will have to download the RANGS database.mapoutlines_4.ncl: This example draws the same contours as the previous example, but usesgsn_add_shapefile_polylinesto attach outlines read in from Sweden and Norway shapefilesdownloadedfrom _5.ncl: This script demonstrates the difference in resolution between thelow resolution and medium resolution map databases of NCL,and a world shapefile downloaded from cannot use the"HighRes" database with aglobal map, so the shapefile outlines are your best bet if you needmore resolution.mapoutlines_5_zoom.ncl: This script is similar to the mapoutlines_5.ncl one above, except itincludes the "HighRes"database, if installed. It produces two panel plots, so you cancompare the various map outlines.mapoutlines_6.ncl: This script illustrates new default map database behavior introduced in NCL V6.4.0, and shows how to override the defaults. As with prior versions of NCL, the defaultmap database is LowRes, unless either of the boundary-set resources mpFillBoundarySets or mpOutlineBoundarySets are setto anything other than "Geophysical", in which case the MediumRes database is used. Thisrepresents a balance between performance and accuracy for common use-cases. The LowRes databaseis more than adequate for global scale maps depicting land/ocean boundaries, whereas themore detailed MediumRes database is preferred for its more up-to-date political boundaries.The default behavior can be overridden by explicitlysetting mpDataBaseVersion to thedesired database name.shapefiles_15.ncl: Thisexample is another one showing the difference between map outlines inNCL and map outlines added from a shapefile. The first plot in thepanel shows the counties of Colorado as plotted from NCL, and thesecond plot shows the counties as plotted from the USA_adm2 shapefiledownloaded from left image is from runningNCL V6.3.0 on thisscript. The right image is from runningNCL V6.4.0.In NCL versions 6.3.0 and earlier, the NCL outlines will not show thecounty of Broomfield or the updated counties around Denver. In NCLversion 6.4.0, the NCL map databases were updated to reflect thecurrent Colorado counties.mapoutlines_7.ncl: This script compares the four possible settings forthe mpDataSetName resource, whichgives you more map outlines and better resolution, depending on thearea of the map you are focused on.In order to use this resource,mpDataBaseVersion must be set to"MediumRes" (which is the default in NCL V6.4.0 if you zoom in on amap). Also, in order to see all the possible boundaries, you must setmpOutlineBoundarySets to "AllBoundaries", otherwiseyou will only get geophysical outlines.mpDataSetName has four possiblevalues:"Earth..1" - This is an older dataset that contains geophysical andpolitical boundaries including the states of the United States."Earth..2" - This is the default value. It is similar to"Earth..1" except that it contains the country Eritrea, and severalcountries resulting from the breakup of the USSR that were notincluded in "Earth..1". It also contains the provinces of Canada, thestates of Mexico, and all the counties in the United States."Earth..3" - Similar to "Earth..2" except that the United Statescounties are replaced with climate divisions within each state."Earth..4" - Similar to "Earth..2", but has about 10 times as muchdetail and is much more accurate.For more details, see the documentation for mpDataSetName.The four panel plots show the effect that these four values have onthe outlines when you zoom in on different parts of the world. Notethat the maps for "Earth..2" and "Earth..3" look identical for allmaps except the United States.


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