A global, public domain map dataset available at three scales and featuring tightly integrated vector and raster data.
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10m_cultural eSwatini May 21, 2018
10m_physical eSwatini May 21, 2018
110m_cultural eSwatini May 21, 2018
110m_physical fix corrupted v4.0.0 poly files (bad topology, omg) Apr 27, 2018
50m_cultural eSwatini May 21, 2018
50m_physical add wikipedia and names alts to 50m rivers scalerank Apr 30, 2018
geojson bump to v4.0.1 to fix #238 and min_zooom typo on 110m coastline file Nov 14, 2017
housekeeping eSwazi& May 21, 2018
packages/Natural_Earth_quick_start rebuild mapshaper (superstition) May 19, 2018
tools targeted copies May 21, 2018
updates Github formatting Oct 27, 2017
zips Minor fix to restore missing Brcko District and portion of Republic S… Dec 31, 2014
.dockerignore docker: some minor fixes May 19, 2018
.gitattributes add .gitattributes ( force LF line endings on checkout ) May 20, 2018
.gitignore .gitignore : add .vscode/* ( visual studio code editor files ) May 20, 2018
.travis.yml wikidata: add fast test mode ( run only 110m ) - workaround for a tra… May 20, 2018
CHANGELOG Correct release date May 23, 2018
Dockerfile Dockerfile : add zip May 19, 2018
LICENSE.md Update for new Github markdown rules Mar 13, 2018
Makefile remove bogus 50m disputed, update real one May 21, 2018
README.md Fix markdown of headlines in README.md Mar 20, 2017
UPDATE_PROCEDURE.md Formatted, thanks Github Oct 23, 2017
VERSION bump version to v4.1 May 19, 2018
live live target tracking files Jul 4, 2012
live_ne store the new v3 files in all their cp, readme, version glory; new zi… Jun 2, 2013
run_all.sh limit copying to just valid shp parts, not change logs May 21, 2018
zip new zip tracking file for the zips Jul 3, 2012


Get the full scoop at NaturalEarthData.com

No, really! This readme is a poor substitute for the live site.

About Natural Earth Vector

Natural Earth is a public domain map dataset available at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110 million scales. Featuring tightly integrated vector (here) and raster data (over there), with Natural Earth you can make a variety of visually pleasing, well-crafted maps with cartography or GIS software.

Natural Earth was built through a collaboration of many volunteers and is supported by NACIS (North American Cartographic Information Society), and is free for use in any type of project (see our Terms of Use page for more information).

Get the Data »



Natural Earth solves a problem: finding suitable data for making small-scale maps. In a time when the web is awash in geospatial data, cartographers are forced to waste time sifting through confusing tangles of poorly attributed data to make clean, legible maps. Because your time is valuable, Natural Earth data comes ready-to-use.

Neatness Counts

Neatness Counts

The carefully generalized linework maintains consistent, recognizable geographic shapes at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110m scales. Natural Earth was built from the ground up so you will find that all data layers align precisely with one another. For example, where rivers and country borders are one and the same, the lines are coincident.

GIS Atributes

GIS Attributes

Natural Earth, however, is more than just a collection of pretty lines. The data attributes are equally important for mapmaking. Most data contain embedded feature names, which are ranked by relative importance. Other attributes facilitate faster map production, such as width attributes assigned to river segments for creating tapers.


The 2.0 release in 2012 marked the project's shift from so-called marketing versions to semantic versioning.

Natural Earth is a big project with hundreds of files that depend on each other and the total weighs in at several gigabytes. SemVer is a simple set of rules and requirements around version numbers. For our project, the data layout is the API.

  • Version format of X.Y.Z (Major.Minor.Patch).
  • Backwards incompatible changes, increment the major version X.
  • Backwards compatible additions/changes, increment the minor version Y
  • Bug fixes not affecting the file and field names, patch version Z will be incremented.

Major version increments:

  • Changing existing data file names
  • Changing existing data column (field) names
  • Removing FeatureCla field attribute values
  • Additions, deletions to admin-0
  • Introduce significant new themes

Minor version increments:

  • Any shape or attribute change in admin-0
  • Additions, deletions, and any shape or attribute changes in admin-1
  • Additions, deletions to any theme
  • Major shape or attribute changes in any theme
  • Adding, changing FeatureCla field attribute values
  • Introduce minor new themes

Patch version increments:

  • Minor shape or attribute changes in any theme
  • Bug fixes to shape, attributes in any theme

Under this scheme, version numbers and the way they change convey meaning about the underlying code and what has been modified from one version to the next.

When we introduce a new version of Natural Earth, you can tell by the version number how much effort you will need to extend to integrate the data with your map implementation.

  • Bug fixes Z: can simply use the new data files, replacing your old files.
  • Minor version Y: limited integration challenges.
  • Major version X: significatnt integration challenges, either around changed file strucutre, field layout, field values like FeatureCla used in symbolizing data, or significant new additions or significant changes to existing themes.


Natural Earth is maintained by Nathaneiel V. KELSO (@nvkelso) and Tom Patterson.

The project transitioned to Github in 2012. Versioned files are here to collaborate around. The frontend still lives at NaturalEarthData.com.