I'm currently working on a project where we need some good looking maps with country boundaries displaying the world. We do not need the details of the maps, but the colors are important. It will we used in a Silverlight application that also should be available in offline mode, meaning no server connection. Can anybody help me finding some map resource we could use?
A good source of data for this type of map is Natural Earth as it provides good world wide data with a very permissive license. You don't say what your application is so it is hard to give advice on what colours you should use to display it but you may find UDig and the ColorBrewer color schemes that it provides useful.
Mapertive would be a good solution (you have good control of rendering and offline usage)
"Maperitive is a desktop application which renders maps in real time using OSM and other sources of data. "
Offline mode can be obtained with local tile server using MapNik http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Mapnik
10 Point Guide in setting up Maperitive