I am creating an application that visually displays world regions, e.g. to place markers within an administrative region.

Does a dataset exist with geometrical or geographical (long/lat) descriptions of the world's current country borders (and possibly other administrative divisions)? Ideally the dataset would be in a format that I could easily generate border images of the size that I require.

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    Google showed me this: gadm.org seems to have exactly what you want (and more). – Joachim Sauer May 15 '13 at 9:47
  • @JoachimSauer Excellent reference. – Neil May 15 '13 at 9:57
  • @JoachimSauer Sir, You're an Genius! ;) I searched for "border coordinates" and don't get any link to gadm.org :(. THANK YOU! Please add your comment as answer - for accept. ;) – jm666 May 15 '13 at 10:09
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    Note that this can run into political problems: blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2003/08/22/54679.aspx – pjc50 May 15 '13 at 10:34
  • @pjc50 Good to know, thanx! I hope my images will not cause a war and in the worst case, they will be banned in some countries. :) – jm666 May 15 '13 at 10:39

http://gadm.org/ seems to have exactly what you want (and more).

GADM database of Global Administrative Areas

GADM is a spatial database of the location of the world's administrative areas (or adminstrative boundaries) for use in GIS and similar software. Administrative areas in this database are countries and lower level subdivisions such as provinces, departments, bibhag, bundeslander, daerah istimewa, fivondronana, krong, landsvæðun, opština, sous-préfectures, counties, and thana. GADM describes where these administrative areas are (the "spatial features"), and for each area it provides some attributes, such as the name and variant names...


Just earned the "popular question" bagde for this question. Therefore, maybe for someone helps the next.

I'm currently using free 1:110 mil. shapefiles from http://www.naturalearthdata.com.

From their site:

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).

For my needs (drawing an simple word map with an perl script) it is the simplest possible way.

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