Base Maps

#tools #projections #d3.js

25 September 2017


Here is a small series of base maps that you can freely download. It’s the beginning of a collection that we will expand gradually.

Created by us for our our needs, they are also available for you, for free (and we mean free as in freedom), for all mapping usages. We hope they can be useful to teach geography, history, as well as to paint, draw, color, and think about the world’s structures…

This is a preliminary version. After several months of work we have the pleasure to share these files. But we know that they still contain bugs and omissions, particularly in islands and micro-states. We count on your eyes and experience to help us find what we missed out, and we will fix them quickly. All comments, suggestions and extensions are welcome at Thank you in advance!

In this stage, we share the planisphere with the 2018 borders, following three projections:
— Bertin (1953)
— Robinson
— Winkel-Tripel
— Airocean (1954)
— Cahill-Keyes (1975).

Two base maps centered on the poles are also available. For these we chose an azimuthal equal-area projection, which maintains a constant ratio for surfaces.

You can print the PNG files and use them as-is. To go further, the files are also available in the vector format SVG, which allows to work on the map with specialized software such as Inkscape (or Illustrator) — to highlight certain geographic features or print in higher quality.

↬ Philippe Rivière.

Are you using these base maps for an innovative, artistic, pedagogical use? We would be delighted to discover your work. Please don’t hesitate to send your drawings and sketches by email to or, if the files are too heavy, through a file sending service such as framadrop. (Rest assured that we will not circulate them without your permission.)


Download SVG.


Download SVG.


Download SVG.


Download SVG.


Download SVG.


Download SVG.


Download SVG.


Here are a few indications to use these SVG base maps in a vector graphics software:


PNG - 154.4 KiB
Layers structure

All places (cities, countries, continents…) are identified in a systematic and standard way, in order to help color them, or retrieve their contours and isolate regions.

We chose English as the technical naming language, in order to stick to the nomenclature of the majority of software packages and international databases.

Information layers

Several layers are available (most of them hidden by default). You can activate them individually, in order to display various pieces of information:
— the capital city of each country;
— populations (symbols are proportional to the number of inhabitants) ;
— an estimate of the size of their economies (symbols are proportional to their gross domestic product).
— a specific layer contains the “small States,” that are invisible at this planetary scale.

Each country is represented by a path (containing one or several polygons) named and identified by its ISO code.

Layers Structure

One of the layers contains all the countries. But borders are not only the “countries’ edges.” The land borders are joined in one specific path, and another path contains all the coastline. In the same fashion, the five continents (without borders) are present on a layer that is “below” the countries layer.

The Antarctic continent is dealt with separately, and hidden by default on most projections.

This layering system helps with creating differentiated presentations, and allows visual effects. The logic presented here is not cast in stone, and we are open to all suggestions to make it better or to add layers that could make sense for various needs.

All the versions of this article: [English] [Español] [français] [italiano]