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Are there any free, vector, mercator projection maps available online? I'm not wanting satellite imagery, but more a stylized map along the lines of this:

alt text

However, I need it to be vector-based such that I can create sharp tiles for greater levels of zoom.

Ideally, I would like an Illustrator file for something resembling the above map.

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I am not sure of anything that comes in a Mercator projection, but have you checked out the NaturalEarth vector datasets? They come in a Geographic Projection (WGS84 datum) but that can be reprojected using a lot of Open Source (free) GIS Software and exported to a Format that AI can read. – SaultDon Jan 13 '11 at 16:45
Very interesting, @SaultDon. I'll look into that. – Kent Boogaart Jan 13 '11 at 16:54
I didn't wanna post these as answers, because they relate to Data, and not an actual Map, but there is also the Vector Map Level 0 from NIMA… this dataset can require a little more pre-processing but the Natural Earth Dataset might be preferred as it is 'cartographically' designed. – SaultDon Jan 13 '11 at 17:00
Did you look at – Brad Nesom Jan 13 '11 at 17:49

Not Mercator but Robinson Projection

SVG imported into illustrator (or inkscape) can be saved as illustrator format.

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With FlexProjector from B. Jenny, Institute of Geography at the ETH-Z and T. Patterson, US NPS, you can view and export the projected map in shapefile format.

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Can you import SVG?

A modified mercator prj:,_blank).svg

These are SVG files with just land outlines:

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