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Digital Chart Of The World Server

A handy source of world vector data, the National Geospatial Agency’s VMAP0 vector data from 1992/1993 has been converted to E00 format and issued as the Digital Chart Of The World. While more recent VMAP0 data is available from the NGA (and even higher-resolution VMAP1 for some areas of the world), it tends to be in the VPF format, which many GIS programs don’t read. While it may be a bit older, DCW data is readily available in E00 format, which many GIS programs can read directly, and it can be converted to shapefile format for compatibility with virtually every GIS viewer and editor.

Penn State maintains the Digital Chart Of The World Server, which offers up DCW data in E00 format by country (and in some cases, e.g. Brazil, Canada, and Australia, by state). Data available includes:

  • Political/Ocean (Point)
  • Populated Places (Polygon)
  • Populated Places (Point)
  • Rail Roads (Line)
  • Roads (Line)
  • Utilities (Line)
  • Drainage (Network)
  • Drainage (Point)
  • Drainage Supplemental (Point)
  • Hypsography (Network)
  • Hypsography (Point)
  • Hypsography Supplemental (Line)
  • Hypsography Supplemental (Point)
  • Land Cover (Polygon)
  • Land Cover (Point)
  • Ocean Features (Line)
  • Ocean Features (Point)
  • Aeronautical (Point)
  • Cultural Landmarks (Point)
  • Cultural Landmarks (Line)
  • Transportation Structure (Line)

You can download the digital vector data directly, or view a GIF preview of the data individually or collectively. Most data is in geographic format (latitude/longitude), with the notable exception of Russia in Lambert Conformal Conic. While the documentation states in one place that the spheroid is the Clarke 1866, it appears from other references that the data is actually in WGS84 datum.

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