Global Boundary Data

The following websites contain information and more important the possibility to download national and second level administrative boundaries.

Please be aware that some national boundaries may be under dispute and hence use your downloaded data with precaution.

  • GADM: GADM database of Global Administrative Areas “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…
    The data are available as shapefile, ESRI geodatabase, RData, and Google Earth kmz format. Shapefiles can be used for most mapping and “GIS” software. You can download a free program such as Q-GIS or DIVA-GIS. The RData files can be used in R with the ‘sp’ package loaded.

    You can download the data by country or for the whole whole world.”


  • GeoCommons: is a website containing a number of maps and downloadable data, as well as the possibility for you to upload your own maps for the community to use. Among them there is a datasert containing global boundary data:World Country Admin Boundary Shapefile with FIPS CodesThis dataset displays country administrative boundaries across the world. The data includes both the country name and the 2-digit FIPS code for each country.


  • Thematicmapping: contains a number of maps, among them a dataset containing national boundaries. Unfortunately it appears that this dataset and website wasn’t updated in a while and hence should be used with the required care.


  • Second Administrative Level Boundaries (SALB): The UN project to provide second level administrative boundaries for countries. Files are downloaded as shapefiles (.shp) and (.e00); metadata and JPG preview are available for each.