Specific Map Desired

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    I am new to this sort of digital cartography sphere, so please bear with me.

    I am interested in generating a 60″ by 40″ poster sized map of part of the world (the ~8000 miles between the middle of Iceland, all the way east across Asia to just past Japan).

    Ultimately I would like to get a 300dpi file colored like the Natural Earth II file I downloaded (NE2_LR_LC_SR_W_DR.tif).

    I would like to have all the rivers and lakes, etc, but do not require the sea-floor relief details. I do not want any country boundaries shown.

    How do I go about this? I assume that my download of the vectors (and GIS data?) and the free program “Quantum GIS Lisboa” will not be adequate to the task. I further assume that the raster art of NE2 is not high enough resolution to meet my needs.

    A scalable map based off of “raw” GIS vector data seems desirable.

    It appears that I might be able to get something similar to Natural Earth 2 (a shaded Plan Oblique Relief map generated automatically from free GIS data, a la this link) if I get some software called “Natural Scene Designer 5.0”. I assume this does not include the beautiful color palette of NE2.

    Any ideas for a fledgling would-be map-maker?

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