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It is possible to convert to shapefile in JavaScript, in the client side. The following library accomplishes this. Perhaps it is outdated (2012-2013), but at least it shows the concept. JS2Shapefile JS2Shapefile is a Javascript class to create ESRI shapefiles directly in the browser. It also includes a couple of helper classes for creating and ...


For your data I suspect you can manage with the NaturalEarth data set. It contains a rivers set for the whole world with enhanced sets available for the USA and Europe. It also provides a set of raster images based on land use and shaded relief to use as background maps. As for the best way to get started with web mapping see this question.

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