Free, Vectorized Political Map of Japan
April 3, 2005 10:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a political map of Japan, divided into prefectures, that is both free and compatible with Adobe Illustrator.

I've tried Google and Yahoo searches, but my results are either: a) not free, or b) not vector art. I need to be able to manipulate the titles, the prefecture/country borders, etc. with some ease. I can't afford to buy one, so I am hoping that one exists out there that I just don't know about. It's for a school project, so if there are any maps that have restrictions on commercial use but not personal/educational use I'd appreciate hearing about them.
posted by armage to Grab Bag (10 answers total)
Oh, I should add that language does not matter, as long as I can edit or remove the text if it is not in Japanese.
posted by armage at 10:28 AM on April 3, 2005

This isn't what you're looking for and it'll cost you unless you already have the application (cough cough or know where to get it...) but Adobe Streamline will turn "normal" art into vector art. I've never used it but have friends that love it.
posted by pwb503 at 10:41 AM on April 3, 2005

I couldn't find an vector maps of Japan that weren't for sale, but Silhouette is a plugin for photoshop that will vectorize images. You can try it free for fifteen days.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:32 AM on April 3, 2005

Japan map in PDF.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:43 AM on April 3, 2005

Thanks, b1tr0t, but that isn't broken down by prefecture.

pwb502 and monju_bosatsu, thanks for the advice. I may have to break down and vectorize a bitmap, though I'd really like to avoid doing that...
posted by armage at 1:19 PM on April 3, 2005

Try the directory of links at Blue Vertigo.
posted by sjvilla79 at 2:20 PM on April 3, 2005

This doesn't fill the "free" requirement, but it does match the "vector" requirement, and is worth purchasing.

Nova Devleopment's Art Explosion series of clip art cds contains a decent map section that has a map of Japan divided into prefectures. I just pulled it up, and it looks pretty clean, and also includes (country only) maps of the Koreas, China, Russia, and the disputed Sakhalin territory in the same shot. (I think the Sakhalin is's been a long time since that Japanese History class...)

A lot of the Art Explosion clip art is pretty cheesy, but it does have some usable stuff, such as maps and flags. The link above goes to "Art Explosion 300,000" which is only $29.95. I'm still using my old Art Explosion 250,000, so I would think the 300,000 would have the same map in it. One caveat: the one I own is a Mac version I bought a long time ago, and has the art in AI88 files; the one I just linked to has the art in WMF files, so make sure you can open those, or seek out a Mac version.

Ye cats! I just checked Amazon for the Mac version of Art Explosion, ans they're selling the 250,000 version (which is at least seven years old) for $94.99, whereas the Windows version of 300,000 is only the aforementioned $29.95. Obscene. Ah well. If you can use WMFs and transform them into Illustrator, you've saved a bundle.
posted by NewGear at 4:00 PM on April 3, 2005

Another pay route is Geoatlas who sell tons and tons of high-quality maps in vector format. They're not cheap, though.
posted by zsazsa at 5:32 PM on April 3, 2005

armage - try searching for "japan map pdf." PDFs are usually, but not always, vector artwork. Most of the time they will open in illustrator.

The National Tourist Organization may have some useful maps.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:39 PM on April 3, 2005

Also, wikipedia seems to have very clean bitmaps - they may be easier to turn into vector artwork.

The mapes come from here, but I don't understand enough Japanese to determine if you can get vector data too.

More Japan Prefectures.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:45 PM on April 3, 2005

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