Let me start by saying that I am not a GIS expert nor a cartographer , and my knowledge of GIS is limited to the quasi-null professional training I had as an architect.
My question here was triggered by another question I have asked on stackoverflow regarding the use of Google maps API.
My problem is this : I am making a web-app or a website, where I need to generate quasi random points on the surface of the earth.
Those points however , should be , like pointed on the SURFACE of the earth as intended in SOLID surface . (e.g. not in the middle of the ocean or deep inside a lake) In shorts - I need to be able to "separate" the bodies of water from the solid surface .
I am a fairly okay programmer for web-technologies, especially PHP - so generating points (nodes) was a 1-minute job , but verifying that they are "accessible" points to humans without a floating vehicle was another issue.
I will be able to exclude coordinates from the generated array - but where can I get this info ?
Is such information (like worldwide bodies-of-water including seas oceans lakes) available as coordinates ? as boundaries ?
Does anyone here knows how to use the data from Google-maps for this purpose ? like I said in the original question - they obviously have this data (the bodies of water are blue) - but can users separate those layers ?
I have from previous works a fairly okay resolution (for my purpose) of vector world map - But I have no Idea how to use it to generate even approximation coordinates ..
Please remember that I am not a GIS expert , so If you use any technical terms , Please try to explain them like you would explain to your 2-years-old neighbor´s kid .
Any help as to how to approach this will be more than appreciated.