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I'm looking for good free online sources of vector data on China (shapefiles of cities, provinces, terrain etc). Would anyone be able to suggest where to look? Are there any open repositories of this type of data? Raster suggestions are welcome too.

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Open Street Map appears to have pretty comprehensive coverage of China's transportation and political boundaries. You can download a zip file of Chinese OSM shapefiles from Cloudmade at:

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OpenStreetMap is a great source for vector data, however beware that you need to share any derivative works according to their data licensing. I posted a related question on the subject. – Jaime Soto Dec 1 '10 at 18:09
Note that the link points to a 404 now, as well as Does anyone know if Cloudmade is still making OSM data freely available still? If so, what is the link? – jvangeld May 7 '14 at 18:05

Digital Chart of the World - DCW (China)

Admin Boundaries (e00 format)

Open Street Map #OSM n shapefile format (same as jvangled)

Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED)

Admin BNDS


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does any one still use e00 files? can anything still read them? – iant Dec 1 '10 at 16:10
yes > Import from .e00 [ArcGIS 10] (Conversion)… – Mapperz Dec 1 '10 at 18:09
It looks like ogr2ogr allow's you to convert e00 files directly. Otherwise, if you don't have an ArcInfo license (required to import e00 files in ArcGIS), consider using the Import71.exe utility by ESRI. It is a standalone utility (no ESRI software needed) that was created for use back in the ArcView 3 days. Of course then you would need to convert to shapefile or other. – RyanDalton Jan 12 '11 at 16:31

Global Administrative Areas also has a nice multi-level dataset :

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It is not shapefiles but if you can read Chinese, then Environment and Ecological Science Data Centre for West China might be of help. Although it says West China but many datasets are countrywide. Has things like landcover, vegetation, locations of glaciers and so forth. The catalog is a bit messy though...

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After trial, the best free resources are:

The best non-free ressource is :

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For rast data (elevation models, satellite imagery etc), check (China is large enough... and even high-res maps are listed there).

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Could this be of help? Map data for all of the world:

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