Vector political boundaries for NASA Blue Marble?
June 6, 2011 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Map Geo filter: Need political map overlay for NASA Blue Marble image, help!

I'm designing interactive maps to teach kids geography. We're using the NASA pictures as a backdrop, now I need to make the .svg of the political boundaries we got off Wikipedia fit on top of it. They are in different projections, how to do it?

Alternatively, does anyone know of a political svg already in the same projection?

posted by Tom-B to Education (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I think this is the right projection (equirectangular)
posted by desjardins at 6:11 PM on June 6, 2011

Response by poster: It's a bingo!*

Thanks desjardins!!!

* just saw Inglourious Basterds
posted by Tom-B at 6:31 PM on June 6, 2011

Yeah, it's an equirectangular (plate carrée) projection, so you'd have to find .svg boundaries in that projection (unless you've got some GIS software to reproject). I'm having a hard time finding any.

Conversely, those wikipedia boundaries are in a Robinson projection. Can you use different background imagery?
posted by gordie at 6:31 PM on June 6, 2011

(...or listen to desjardins, who consistently beats me answering mapping questions)
posted by gordie at 6:37 PM on June 6, 2011

Response by poster: Hi gordie, it's kinda hard to beat the Blue Marble imagery, it's so beautiful — it also has a grayscale heightmap that I'm using to show mountains.

I'm trying to find a different vector set though — the one desjardins linked to fits perfectly but is very low-res, and I need to zoom in to show very specific places such as classical Greece and Mesopotamia.

So, happen to know where I can find higher res equirectangular vector political maps? Thanks!
posted by Tom-B at 6:42 PM on June 6, 2011

Wikimedia? (Timezones, PNG)

Search Google Images for equirectangular vector political map, and select the size you want.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:50 PM on June 6, 2011

Best answer: This looks like the right projection. Free Illustrator file or PDF.
posted by desjardins at 8:10 AM on June 7, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks desjardins, that has much better resolution!

I found and fell in love with the Natural Earth dataset, though. It's got beautiful raster overlays, rivers, cities etc. (need them for Tigris and Euphrates, Athens, Rome etc.), at 1:10m resolution and all in the public domain. Only problem is, it's in obscure (to me) GIS formats such as .MXD, QGIS documents and ESRI shapefiles.

Is there a way to convert this to a format that works in Illustrator CS5, such as .svg or .ps?

Thanks in advance!
posted by Tom-B at 9:49 AM on June 7, 2011

Not off the top of my head, but I'll take a look-see when I get home. I have Arc GIS 9 and Adobe CS2. I'll also post this later to my Twitter feed - I know a lot of GIS geeks.

A cursory search brought up this Flash tool, which you can supposedly use to export SHP to EPS, but I can't test it right now.
posted by desjardins at 12:21 PM on June 7, 2011

Best answer: OK, I figured it out, posting here for future reference... MAPublisher is an awesome GIS plugin for Illustrator CS5, there is a Mac version. It's commercial, but the free demo lets you import data into Illustrator and save it. I used it to import all the Natural Earth vectors and rasters, which by the way fit the Blue Marble perfectly. Thanks for the help everyone!
posted by Tom-B at 3:29 PM on June 7, 2011

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