Where can I find a set of basic, public domain state maps?
March 1, 2006 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find a set of public domain images of the U.S.A. and individual States? I am looking for something a little stylized and without much detail, similar to a weather map.

I am looking to build something similar to a weathermap, but with prices (served from a database) rather than temperatures. I'd like to have a map of the entire country which clicks through to images of the individual states. Very little detail is needed except the outline of the state. I am thinking of something similar to the image of Texas on this page. Does anyone know where I can find a free set of these?

Bonus Points: The same as above for Canada and/or state maps with telephone area codes (I know I said no detail, but a boy can dream).
posted by dripdripdrop to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
How about the PDF maps at nationalatlas.gov provided by the US Department of the Interior. They also provide the raw shape file data used to produce the maps.
posted by RichardP at 2:06 PM on March 1, 2006

Response by poster: b1tr0t: Thanks, I had seen those before but don't have Illustrator and was hoping to not have to carve each state out from the nation. This will probably be what I use though if no pre-made sets come up.
posted by dripdripdrop at 2:09 PM on March 1, 2006

Wikipedia? You'd have to get rid of the state names though.
posted by Orange Goblin at 2:23 PM on March 1, 2006

Netstate.com has a free, complete set of state outlines.
posted by initapplette at 2:27 PM on March 1, 2006

The United States map links at the above site are all broken, however.
posted by initapplette at 2:34 PM on March 1, 2006

There is or once was a resource called Maps On File. It included reproducible template maps probably intended for use by school teachers. I don't know what's become of it in the digital age, but you might ask your local reference librarian.
posted by scratch at 5:19 PM on March 1, 2006

Best answer: This link looks the best to me: nationatlas.gov

Otherwise, the New York State Library (NYSL) has a nice page of links.

Numerous government websites do some (free) interactive mapping, i.e. the "poor man's" GIS. This one from the USGS is as good as any.
posted by bim at 5:57 PM on March 1, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks bim, I found this map of the US and Canada through the NYSL link that is not copy protected and should be pretty easy to play around with in Photoshop.

As a bit of a derail, are the U.S. government maps public domain for citizens of other countries?
posted by dripdripdrop at 11:37 AM on March 2, 2006

I don't know about the public domain thing. Personally, I wouldn't worry about it that much if this is just something casual. But that's up to you.

BTW, have you considered a basic GIS package. (Forget finding anything free & user-friendly on the internet that allows you to import your own data. It doesn't exist.)

You might want to consider Microsoft Mappoint 2004 (North American Edition). It's a basic, fairly easy to use GIS package (I use it at times). It would be very easy to import a spreadsheet and have it place the prices on the map in each state. I am positive that it would do this for the U.S. I haven't fooled with any Canadian portion of the maps, but I suspect that the underlying structure is there too.

If you are associated with a university or know someone who is, you can get Mappoint at a HUGE discount (50 bucks rather than $300). Something to think about. :)

Good luck.

ps. I know everyone hates Microsoft (count me in), but Mappoint is good GIS package at a reasonable price.
posted by bim at 2:15 PM on March 2, 2006

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