for a visualisation project I need the boundaries of the UN regions as defined here : http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm

That's 21 polygons for the sub-regions.

I have been looking around on the usual places but couldn't find anything that also includes the oceans. The 21 polygons should cover the whole world so that any point over the world can be associated to one of the regions.

Does someone knows where I could find such file ? Or should I build it... Basically is there an official boundary in the middle of the atlantic ocean that separates the "Western Africa" region form the "South America" region ?

My assumption is that the sub-region contains more than just the countries (for example the "Caribbean" region also contains the ocean between the islands.

To clarify, I know how to identify if a point is in a polygon, that's not the point of this question. I'm looking for a shapefile (or geojson, or anything I can work with) with 21 polygons corresponding to the UN definition and covering the whole world to know if a point located somewhere in the atlantic belongs to west Africa, or to south America, or the Caribbean, etc.

  • 2
    Please edit the question to contain the GIS software you have available to perform this dissolve operation. You've got a completely different (and problematic) issue in wanting to associate ocean polygons to country groupings, for which I doubt resolution is possible.
    – Vince
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 16:59
  • 1
    I'm with Vince. I think the best you could do is find EEZ data for countries and merge that into the different regions.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 18:52
  • 1
    You have multiple questions in this Question (the title is completely different than the summary). Pick one, and edit the question to focus on that. I'd recommend you focus on the dissolve, and come back for how to determine values outside the specified boundaries later.
    – Vince
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 21:20

2 Answers 2


The shapefile can be found here: http://thematicmapping.org/downloads/world_borders.php

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