« Natural Earth v4.0.0 release notes 

Natural Earth v4.0.0 release notes


I’m proud to announce the immediate availability of Natural Earth version 4! After four months active development and more than 50 contributors Natural Earth v4 is now generally available on  NaturalEarthData.com and Github. See the CHANGELOG for full details. Here’s a quick summary:

  1. The v4 series introduces significant changes to admin-0 country shapes to account for the disputed area of Crimea, and several important admin-0 country name changes like Czechia renamed from Czech Republic. Admin-0 population and GDP values have also been updated to 2016/2017 vintage (primarily from CIA World Factbook).
  2. The v4 series introduces web map optimized min_zoom, min_label, and max_label properties that compliment the existing scalerank property that was originally curated for print cartography in proper projection glory. The min_zoom property is optimized for the web Mercator projection we are collectively hallucinating, and the min_label and max_label properties are optional on some themes when the label should be displayed later than the feature’s geometry (or should stop showing). A revised QGIS quickstart project is also included that makes use of the new zoom properties and is the source of the screenshot above.
  3. While the v3 series went full UTF-8 unicode (character encoding) language support a few errors were made along the way. v4 fixes bad Windows-1252 to UTF-8 conversion bugs (like for Zürich in the lower left corner of the image above). We also better document with the character encoding by adding a .cpg file to shapefile, and on the Natural Earth website documentation.
  4. More names in more languages! We added French names for marine areas way back in v1.4.0, and v4 adds many thousand more for populated places in the following languages: name_en, name_de, name_es, name_fr, name_pt, name_ru, name_zh. The existing name, name_alt, and nameascii fields have been updated, and name features over 600 labels with accent marks (versus the 80 or so that were garbled in the v3 series).


Many thanks to the over 50 people who contributed over the last year of development, we couldn’t do it without you! Jeremy, @raffam, @pnorman, @mojodna, @imresamu, Hannes, Axel, @pinakographo, @CaucasusandMercury, @jschleuss, Martha, Kuba, Jesús, Arkadiy, Philip, Benedikt, Ivor, @almccon, Jacob, Alice, Geoffrey, @ajmas, @instantdelay, Matt, Daniel, Felix, @karimbahgat, @migurski, Olaf, @mvexel, @yaph, Jessica, @kernc, Quentin, Peter, @xangregg, Roland, Rob, @teahan36, @dgddgd, @dkerkow, Graham, Michel, @dshorthouse, @pinakographos, Alain, Aileen, Daniel, Charles, Martin, Aaron, MattA, StephenE, NathanielD, Aron, Lou, and others.

Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso  30 October 2017