« About 


Natural Earth Raster + Vector Map Data Fourth Edition, Oct. 2009-2012

Making Natural Earth is a collaboration involving many volunteer NACIS members and cartographers around the globe. Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso and Tom Patterson began working on the project in late 2008. Following the path of least resistance, the idea was to re-purpose existing data that we already had as an integrated world dataset at three map scales.

The 1:50 million and 1:110 million-scale data comes from bases developed by Dick Furno and additional staff at The Washington Post for quick turnaround newspaper mapping— the Washington Post Legal Department kindly granted us permission to use these data.

Natural Earth is hereby granted a non-exclusive license to use the data being provided by The Washington Post for the sole purpose of creating a world base map.  The Washington Post makes no claims as to the completeness, accuracy or content of the data, and makes no representation of any kind, including, but not limited to, any warranty as to the accuracy or fitness of the data for a particular use (nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty). No responsibility is assumed by The Washington Post for any claims arising out of Natural Earth’s use of the data.

The kernel for the 1:10 million data was a compilation by Patterson for the “Physical Map of the World,” consisting of coastlines, rivers, lakes, and physical feature labels. Expanding and improving on this foundation has been our chief activity.


Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso, Project Manager and Chief Cartographer
Tom Patterson, Chief Cartographer
ShadedRelief.com and U.S. National Park Service
Dick Furno, Populated Places Guru
Azimuth, Inc. and The Washington Post (retired)
Tanya Buckingham, Supervisor of GIS
Bill Buckingham, LandScan Wizard
Nick Springer, Website Design & Development
Louis Cross, NACIS Liaison

Map Editors

Scott Zillmer, Chief Editor, XNR Productions Inc.

Craig Haggit, formerly of GeoNova Publishing and MapQuest Publishing


Research + Production Cartographers

Sarah Bennett, University of Wisconsin student

Ben Coakley, University of Wisconsin student

Kevin McGrath, University of Wisconsin student

Rozalynn Klass, University of Wisconsin Applied Population Labratory

Hans van der Maarel, Red Geographics

Beth Robertson , XNR Productions Inc.

Laris Karklis, The Washington Post

Craig Molyneaux, Spatial Vision

François Goulet, FG Cartographix

Jill Saligoe-Simmel, Mapdiva

Melissa Katz-Moye, SWCA Environmental Consultants

Andrew Matranga, Backpacker Magazine Maps

Anu, Maps and Locations



Laura McCormick, XNR Productions Inc.

Leo Dillon, U.S. Department  of State

Ray J. Milefsky, U.S. Department  of State

Will Pringle, Australian Geographic Pty. Ltd.

Martin Gamache, National Geographic Magazine Maps

Vince Osier, U.S. Census Bureau

Eric Muller, Efele.net


Technical Support

Ted Florence, Avenza Systems Inc.

Kimi Watanabe, Avenza Systems Inc.

Aron Kanyicska, Florida Resources and Environmental Analysis Center @ The Florida State University

Gene Thorp, Cartographic Concepts Incorporated and The Washington Post

Charlie Frye, Esri

Aileen Buckley, Esri