This is currently under development, and is blocked to search engines (using robots). Some of the site may not work. The site is incomplete and is liable to violent change.
west3 is currently building a set of GIS data covering the whole world, using:
- Data corresponding to the ISO 2-character country codes. Various sources present this data as 3-character codes, or as 2-character codes, but incorporating dependant or semi-dependant areas within the main country. We have decided to use the 2-character codes exclusively, so, for example, Martinique is shown as 'MQ', rather than as an integral area of 'FR' (as in OpenStreetMap). This follows (roughly) the correlation between the country codes and the tld (top-level Internet domain) codes
- Administrative areas in line with the latest information available from government sources (where available)
- Gazeteer data which has been correctly positioned within its administrative area(s)
All data is open source, and the raw data is freely available.
The majority of the maps data (shapes) is open source and is made available by openstreetmap.This is always a fall-back, as government data is generally (but by no means always) more accurate and comprehensive.
An ever-increasing number of governments are now making their GIS data available to the public and/or commercial organisations. The majority of this data is free, although some of the governments distribute it via commercial outlets, usually at a fairly high price.
The gazetteer is of great importance, as it provides much of the metadata which is otherwise difficult to find. Some of this data is available from OpenStreetMap, but we find that the most comprehensive and consistent data is that produced by Geonames.
Data sources are changing daily - each country page shows the source of both the GIS data (shapes) and the Gazeteer data for that country.