What is a vector map? Examples you can download

All maps use a collection of data known as Geographical Information System (GIS) data. This collection of data covers the whole area of Earth.

GIS data has the capability to represent various levels of detail. When discussing the question: what is a Vector map? GIS data is key information.

All maps use GIS data that are in a visual format.

Technology, Online maps, and the Vector Map

Before advances in technology were made, maps were Raster tiles technology.

Raster maps use square tiles placed next to each other to represent a geographical region and scale. Raster maps displayed in an internet browser have limitations.

Vector technology delivers data in squared tiles too, buthas greater capabilities.

What is a Vector Map?

What is a Vector Map?

Vector maps are also known as Smart Maps. A Vector map has the capability to zoom in without losing its visual quality. These maps can better represent more detailed areas. Zoomed in, they can show greater data than any other digital map could.

Raster maps represent larger mapped areas.

In a lower resolution image, there are less squares that need to make up the image displayed. These squares are pixels. An image that is of low resolution will lose its quality and allow the squares to become visible.This is also true of Raster maps.

Raster maps use fewer pixels and are suited to larger style maps. Vector maps have a higher resolution and represent more detailed data.

Vector Maps Technical Features

Greater Data Capabilities

Greater Data Capabilities

A Vector map has the capability to allow a greater amount of data assigned to each tile. This means demographic data on the maps shows greater detail.

Analysis of the GIS data makes it a powerful decision-making tool.

Vector tiles can define map components such as rules for data representation. For example, street-level data layers can be set with constraints, such as always being on top. Other conditions can be set such as map design elements, fonts used for labels, the language used, as well as tags.

The Vector map data is also faster and easier to update and keep current. Vector tiles are flexible.

Levels of Resolution of Vector Maps Explained

There are three standard levels of resolution of Vector maps. Level 0 represents low resolution, level 1 represents medium resolution, and level 2 is high resolution. The following outlines each category with examples.

Level Zero (VMAP0)

Level Zero (VMAP0)


Level Zero covers the worldwide area of GIS data and is the smallest scale resolution. The data sets for this level are available for public use.

The data structure standard is the Vector Product Format (VPF).

This data is used to map large areas and/or data sets including the following:

  • North America
  • Europe and North Asia
  • South America, Africa, and Antarctica
  • South Asia and Australia

Level One (VMAP1)

Level One is subject to a standard named the MIL-V-89033 standard. This level must meet the following criteria:

  • Horizontal accuracy: 125-500m
  • Vertical accuracy: 0.5-2 Contour Interval (for example: if contour interval is 50 m, accuracy will be 25 to 100m)

Example Data sets that this level covers are as follows:

Level One covers 234 geographical areas. These include Costa Rica, Libya, United States, Mexico and Iraq.

Level Two (VMAP2)

Level Two data represents the largest scale resolution. Level Two tiles are subject to the MIL-V-89032 standard. This level must meet the following criteria:

  • Horizontal accuracy: 50-200m
  • Vertical accuracy: 0.5-2 Contour Interval (for example: if contour interval is 50 m, accuracy will be 25 to 100m)

Level Two data represents all data that covers the most detailed mapping information.

It is important to note that this data is subject to copyright. There are strict standards for its use in the creation of maps.

Vector Map Attributes

Vector Map Attributes

A vector map is a database of polygons, lines, and points which make up all the features on the map. Vector data is not made up of a grid of pixels. Instead, Vector images use vertices and avenues.

The three basic symbol types for vector data are points, lines, and polygons (areas). Cartographers use these symbols to signify attributes on maps.

Vector points are generally longitude and latitude, and use a spatial reference framework.

Enhanced Visual Display

There are limitations with large scale maps.

Raster data, for example, is represented in pixels. A good example of Raster data is imagery, having data saved in pixels.

Vector information has attributes saved against capabilities. A good example of vector data collection can be data for the road network of a city.

Raster tiles are images stitched together and do not have detail. Raster tiles have fixed styles, defined when created.

Vector maps have the capability to display:

  • major road networks
  • railroad networks
  • hydrologic drainage systems
  • utility networks (cross-country pipelines and communication lines)
  • major airports
  • elevation contours
  • coastlines
  • International boundaries
  • populated places
  • index of geographical names

More Benefits of Vector Maps

Vector Map created with MapSVG

Another element that makes vector tiles the better choice for rendering is that raster tiles are pre-rendered when viewed.

Vector tiles are smaller, approximately 20–50% of the size of Raster tiles. This means that they are more efficient, taking less time to and fewer resources to use.

Vector tiles offer high-resolution displays. Raster tile file sizes vary and don’t provide a high resolution on zoom levels.

Summary of Vector Maps Advantages

  • Reduced bandwidth consumption
  • Vector data displays streets, rivers, land
  • Useis easier than Raster data
  • No need for zoom levels , as consumerscan zoom and pan throughout all scales
  • De-facto mobile standard
  • Vector data are compatible with the relational database management program
  • Easy customization - with one small text file

Examples of Vector Maps Currently Used Online

Vector maps that are currently used on the web, for both private and commercial use, can be found below.Raster maps are still used for mapping requirements, but vector maps are gaining popularity.

The examples set out here show vector maps, their key features, and their technical capabilities.

Free blank SVG vector map of the world

World Map Vector that you can download for free, courtesy of MapSVG

Map of Larger scale earth and side by side visual examples of the data levels

Map of Larger scale earth and side by side visual examples of the data levels

This example outlines the three levels of data as mentioned above. It provides an excellent representation of all three levels in use. Shown side by side, it provides an excellent visual explanation of each data set.

Vector map of Japan customisable and scalable

Vector map of Japan customisable and scalable

Vector map of Japan which covers the area of Japan. This map is customisable and editable. It has the ability to zoom into the province level and create maps of smaller areas.

Map of Portland interactive 3D map

Map of Portland interactive 3D map

This vector map demonstrates its ability to create interactive maps. It has 3D feature capability, is customisable, multi-layered, and includes many other features. This map is a good example of the features of high-quality vector maps.

Example of mapping product that incorporates directional data

Example of mapping product that incorporates directional data

This vector map combines features in many geographical areas and shows directions.

Map of Germany with States – Single Color Product other options available

Map of Germany with States - Single Color Product other options available

This vector map covers the country area of Germany. It contains several attributes that are unique to vector maps. It is one colour with many more features and attributes available.

Map of London Centre – Multi-layer design options with single format output

Map of London Centre – Multi-layer design options with single format output

This is a vector map of the London Centre. It includes features that include major landmarks. It is available in Adobe Illustrator format which will accommodate extra design features.

Map of Washington in the United States – outline format

Map of Washington in the United States – outline format

This vector map covers the state of Washington. It is customisable and is available in various formats. Features include flags, name state, name state area, state area, texture and vignette.

Map of France and it surrounds

Map of France and it surrounds

This vector map covers France and surrounding countries. It is customisable and is available in several formats.

Colour maps of Rio de Janeiro Brazil Map

Colour maps of Rio de Janeiro Brazil Map

This colour vector map of Rio de Janeiro Brazil covers a 1200 square mile area. It includes features such as arterial and major road networks. It has various other details and is customisable. It is available in Adobe Illustrator format.

Outline map of the world

Outline map of the world

This vector map is an outline map of the world and includes outlines of each country. Each country is in alphabetical order with one country per layer.

There is a free version and paid version of this map.

Vector map of Italy outline

Vector map of Italy outline

This vectormap is a free map of Italy. It is printable and customisable. Its layers include country area, flag, name capital, name of country and vignette.

Map of Iceland broken down by regions in multicolour

Map of Iceland broken down by regions in multicolour

This map covers Iceland and has region level detail represented in different colours. It is available in many formats. It is a free version with an option for the user to provide attributes.

Globe Map Europe and Africa Centred (outline)

Globe Map Europe and Africa Centred (outline)

Thisvector map represents Europe and Africa. This is a paid product and is available in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe PDF formats. It is a compressed ZIP file. This map has a high-quality range and magnification features.

Single Colour High level map of Australia

Single Colour High level map of Australia

This map of Australia covers the whole country. This is a high-level vectormap that covers the country in a solid colour. It is available in customisable formats. There is a paid and free version depending on whether you wish to provide attribution.

Vector map of New York region

Vector map of New York region

This coloured vector map covers the region of New York. It includes features such as a landscape overview. The details displayed are urban areas, parks, major roads, and other significant landmarks. This map is available in a printable version and JPEG or PDF format.

Solid single colour Vector Map of the Netherlands with Provinces

Solid single colour Vector Map of the Netherlands with Provinces

This is a solid colour vector map of the Netherlands with a breakdown of provinces. This version is free and available in many formats.

Vector Map of the World – Blue

Vector Map of the World - Blue

This vector map covers the world as a whole and is in a blue visual display. It is editable and layered. It is available in many formats and is suggested for use in backgrounds and presentations. Paid and free options are available.

Vector map of the United States of America

Vector map of the United States of America

This is a vectormap of the United States which includes land and oceanfloorterrain data. This vector map is a digital page size map for illustration and display purposes. It customisable within Photoshop.

Vector map of Greece (outline)

Vector map of Greece outline

This vector map of Greece is printable and customisable. It covers the whole area of the country. It is free and available for download in limited formats to use for its display quality.

Vector map of Sweden

Vector map of Sweden

This vector map of Sweden covers the whole area of the country. It is available as a free download in many formats.

Vector World map of the United States and Canadian Provinces centred

Vector World map of the United States and Canadian Provinces centred

This vectormap of the United States featuresland andoceanfloorterrain data. It features the United States and Canadian Provinces and is a large yet detailed map. It displays the digital terrain that covers the entire world area.

Details include rivers, lakes, capital cities and other world terrain data. The map has high display quality for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator formats.

If you liked this article on what is a vector map, you should also check out this article with map illustration examples.

We also wrote about a few related subjects like the map elementsmap vector, interactive maps, the choropleth map and how to make one, thematic map examples, websites with maps, statistical maps, and all the types of maps out there.

A bit obvious by now, but we really like maps so we wrote even more about subjects like funny maps, metro maps, fantasy maps, and even the US electoral map.

I take it you like maps as well so make sure to check out MapSVG, a great WordPress maps plugin you should check out.

Huge list of free map vector examples you can download now

A map vector is a tool that is often used by presenters and businesses to demonstrate their global market. They are map illustrations that can be included in a variety of business materials including websites, presentations, and other literature. Vector maps of the world or country vector maps can highlight office locations as well as international relations.

This is a comprehensive list of free vector maps that includes world map illustration as well as some more specific maps of countries or cities. There is a lot of variation in the level of detail depending on which vector map you choose. Some are highly detailed while others may have more of a creative theme.

Each description includes information about the formats available. The most common formats for free vector maps are Adobe Illustrator (AI), Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), and Encapsulated Postscript (EPS). However, some also have PDF, JPG, and PNG files for people who have less design experience.

Free map vector examples

Map of the United States Electoral Votes

This vector map of the United States electoral votes is available in AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats. It can be completely edited and is a layered image that is an accurate depiction of political information by state.

Map of the World – Stamp

This vector map of the world has a stamp effect that gives it a vintage appearance. It is available in AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats. It is a layered image and can be edited.

Vector abstract telecommunication earth map

This free vector world map is a colorful demonstration of connectivity using networks of dots transposed over the globe. It comes in an EPS format.

Outline Map of the World with Antarctica

An earth map vector that includes Antarctica and is styled as a black and white outline. Available in AI, SVG, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats with full editing capabilities.

Free Accurate World Map

This world map illustration is both accurate and highly detailed. Countries and country names in the illustration can be selected individually. Countries are also distinguished from one another using different colors. It can be downloaded in AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, or even CDR and GIF formats. Lower down on this page there is a related vector world map that is black and white.

New York Maps

This set of detailed map vector of New York City is perfect for any depictions of the city required in your literature, on your website, or in your presentations. This royalty free map does require attribution if you decide to use it.

World map background in abstract style

This free world map vector is an abstract depiction using a network of connected dots with long shadows. It is available in EPS format.

Map of North America with multicolor Countries

This map vector contains only North America with each of the countries distinguished by a different color. It is available in AI, SVG, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats, which all allow for full editing capabilities.

Map of Italy with Regions – Outline

A detailed map of Italy that distinguishes each different region within the country. It is a black and white depiction but can be fully edited. It can be downloaded in AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Simple Vector World map

An intricate world map vector portrayed in grey and black. It can be downloaded as an image or customized.

Countries Vector Map

A global map vector that is highly detailed in order to point out specific locations on any of the continents. It can be fully edited and is available as an AI or EPS file.

Map of Globe of Africa

This depiction of the map of Africa is also portrayed as being on a globe. In this way, it displays Africa in relation to other countries as well. It is a layered and fully editable vector map available in AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Map Of Lyon City

Lyon is a city in France. This vector map is detailed with a colored border to distinguish the city of Lyon. It is a royalty free map but the creator has stipulated that attribution is required.

World map icons modern shiny colored flat design

This world map illustration is available in EPS format. There is a focal point of light that gives the map a shiny metallic appearance and it can be seen in different colors.

Map of the World with Countries – Single Color

A grey and white map vector of the world with individual countries outlined by a thin black line. Includes Antarctica as well. It can be downloaded as AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats and can also be fully edited.

Multicolor Map of Jamaica with Parishes

This colorful map vector of Jamaica has chosen to depict each parish in a different color. It is available in AI, SVG, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats that can each be fully edited.

Map of the United Kingdom – Dots

A free vector map of the United Kingdom that has been designed as a pattern of perfectly aligned dots. It comes in AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats that all have editing capabilities.

Vintage World Map Vector

This map vector portrays a world map illustration as a weather-beaten paper map. In this way, it has a vintage theme. It is a royalty free map but does require attribution.

Travel Map with Landmarks

A playful depiction of a vector world map, there are popular landmarks scattered across the map to denote common tourist destinations. It is available in EPS formatting and attribution is required.

Political Map of the World

A free map image of the world that has all of the countries labeled and distinctly colored. Available as a royalty free EPS file but attribution is required.

Outline Map of Europe with Countries

This free vector map is an outline of Europe with lines to define each of the countries that make up the European Union in simple black and white. It is available as AI, SVG, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats that can all be fully edited.

Map of Canada

A royalty free map of Canada that has been layered with a Canadian flag. There are thin lines to outline each of the provinces and territories. It comes in AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats that can all be edited.

Digital World Map

A stylized world map with vibrant colors and dots that are connected by beams of light to depict a network. It is a free map vector that comes in EPS format but attribution is required.

Free Futuristic Worldwide Map

An infographic that includes a world map illustration with points and text on it that can be edited to include relevant information. Available in AI, EPS, PDF, and PNG formats.

Airplane Map Vector

This simple earth map has airplanes with dotted flight paths to different destinations. The vector map is free but requires attribution.

Map of Africa with Multicolor Countries

A vectorized map of Africa with each of the countries depicted as a different color. It is available for download as AI, SVG, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Grey World Map

A simple world map vector designed in grey and white. It is available in EPS format with required attribution.

Free vectorial world map

An AI map is a highly detailed world map vector free for personal use and the cost of a donation to a local charity for commercial use.

Map of India – Sketch

This map of India has been stylized to look like it has been shaded in with a charcoal pencil. It is a creative illustration of the country and is available in AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Free Word Map Illustration with Landmarks

This world map illustration has been creatively designed to have text fill the continents and countries with their respective names. In addition, there are popular landmark silhouettes at the bottom of the illustration. It can be used for free with attribution.

World map with connection and blue background

This world map looks quite futuristic with a series of connected dots displaying a network. It comes in EPS format and can be fully edited.

Outline Map of South America with Countries

A map vector of South America that outlines each of the countries individually. It is a simple black and white design and comes in AI, SVG, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats. It is a layered illustration that can be edited.

World map drawing colored

This world map has intricate details and resembles the type of map you might see on a globe. It is colorful with accurately labeled countries. It is an AI map available for free personal use.

Map of the World – Outline

This black and white outline is a simple world map vector that could be a blank canvas for your next project. Available in AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Travel map infographic

This fun infographic includes a world map illustration with airplanes and destination dots as well as symbols along the bottom with a travel theme. It is a free map image available in EPS format.

Map of Asia with multicolor Countries

This depiction of Asia and all of its countries is a colorful and detailed map that can be fully edited. It is available in AI, SVG, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Creative color world maps vector

Warm colors are the basis for this world map illustration. It outlines individual countries and includes the names in black text. Available in AI format only.

White World Map

This global map vector is an elegant white with long shadows on a grey background. It is available in EPS format and attribution is required.

Green world map

Just as the name indicates, this is a green-colored world map. It also includes a banner underneath and red-colored destination dots of differing sizes. Provided in EPS format only and requires attribution.

Outline Map of Oceania

The content of Oceania includes Australia, New Zealand, and a number of islands such as the Polynesians. This is a simple map vector of the outline of the continent. It is available in AI, SVG, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Pack of Vector Maps

Set of highly detailed world maps with a number of layers each with their own set of details.

World Map 3D Silhouette Vector

Grey gradients give this vector map a simple and refined look. It is styled like a silhouette of the world map with some shadowing. It is a free download but requires attribution.

World Map Painting in Watercolor

This map vector is styled like a watercolor painting and rounded at the edges to depict the spherical nature of the globe. It is a highly detailed map illustration that is available only in AI format.

White world map infographic

The design of this vector map infographic is crisp and clean. The map is white with long shadows on a grey background. There are destination dots with lines connecting them to informative text. It is available in EPS and must be attributed.

Free vector world map countries Mercator

This world map illustration takes on a vintage style that looks like weathered paper. It is a Mercator projection that is highly accurate and centrally aligned to Europe-Africa.

Map of the United States of America with Counties

This American map vector is grey and white with white lines separating all of the various counties in the country. Each state has its own layer and all are fully editable. It is available in AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Flag Map of Australia

A map of Australia interposed with the Australian flag. Available in AI, SVG, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Green Global Maps Vector

A creative cartoonish illustration of the world map. Attribution is required.

Map of the United States of America – Stamp

This map of the USA includes Hawaii and Alaska. It is styled like an ink stamp, giving it a grunge look.

Vector world map design graphics set

A world map vector with countries depicted in a variety of jewel-tone colors that are visually bright and appealing. Available only in EPS format.

Free vector map of Middle America political with shaded relief

This map of Middle (or Central) America has a number of layers each with the countries, capitals, and bodies of water. All layers can be fully edited and file formats available include AI, PDF, and JPG.

Dot world connection map with blue background

The silhouette of the world map has been created with dots. There are a number of bright spots on the map connected with curved lines. Available in EPS format for free with attribution.

Triangled Vector World Map

Abstract vector world map depicted with triangle shapes that have various shadows. The download includes AI, EPS, PDF, and JPG files.

Free vector map of United Kingdom outline

A simple map outline of the United Kingdom that is layered over a faded Union Jack flag. London has a pinpoint with an appropriate label. The package includes AI, EPS, PDF, and JPG formats.

Map of the World with Glaciated Areas

This simple world map is green and blue but also includes areas of glaciers in white. Available in AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Hand drawn world map

With a hand-drawn style, this map takes on the artistic appearance of a pencil sketch. It is available in EPS format with attribution.

World map background blue silhouette design curves decoration

This world map vector is in different gradients of blue with yellow curves interposed overtop. It is available in EPS format.

Map of the World – Sketch

A global map vector that includes Antarctica and is styled to look like it has been shaded in with a charcoal pencil. Available in AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Free vector map of United States of America outline

This map vector shows an outline of the USA in an aged style. The American flag serves as a faded background and a point of interest denotes the country’s capital. It is available in AI, EPS, PDF, and JPG formats.

Red world maps pattern

These world maps are designed with different patterns that shade in the bodies of land in the color red. Available only in AI format.

Seagreen technical world map

A detailed depiction of the world map in various shades of sea green. There are points of interest with lines for labels or text. Available only in EPS format.

World Map Vector Background

This world map vector has countries separated with a thin line and each country is shaded in a different neutral color.

Free vector map of Australia continent political

This map of Oceania is centrally focused on Australia. It is highly detailed with different countries shown in different colors. Available in AI, EPS, PDF, and JPG.

Map of the World with Countries and US, Canadian and Australian States – Multicolor

Different shades of pastel colors define each of the different countries across the globe in this extremely detailed world map vector. There are over 240 layers for each of the countries as well as sublayers for the states and provinces in each of the USA, Canada, and Australia. Available in AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Earth and world map vector design

This world map illustration shows the world map in green as well as different views of the globe depending on how it is turned. Available in EPS format only.

Blue globes and world map

Similar to the above vector map, this world map is displayed in blue and is accompanied by different views of the globe in the same color scheme. Available in EPS format with attribution.

Free vector map of France political sci-fi

This vector map of France takes on a bit of an apocalyptic sci-fi style in dark blues and greys. It displays various political boundaries and can be fully edited. Available in AI, EPS, and PDF formats.

Grunge painted world map

The grunge style of this world map illustration gives it a rough-around-the-edges look. Key countries have labels in a steampunk metal design. Available only in EPS or JPG formats.

Blue vector world map background

This world map has a futuristic style in different gradient shades of blue. Available in EPS format only.

Map of North America with Countries – Single Color

A simple vector map of North America in grey with each of the countries separated by a thin line. Available in AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Free vector map of Costa Rica political

A map of Costa Rica in relation to the other Central America countries. Political borders for different state, province, and department levels are included. Available in AI, EPS, and JPG formats that are all editable.

Polygonal world map

A world map vector made up of different polygons in different gradient shades of blue and aquamarine. Available in EPS format with attribution.

Map of the World – Dots

A globe map vector that is shaded in by dots in uniform rows. Includes Antarctica and is available in AI, EPS, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Free vector map of Brazil outline

This outline of the country of Brazil is layered over a shaded version of the Brazilian flag. Available in AI, EPS, and PDF formats that are fully editable as well as JPG that is printable.

World map design blue dots decoration dark style

This world map is filled in by uniformly spaced blue dots over a black background. Available in AI format only.

Modern world map

Vibrant colors in modern designs make up this world map in rich blues and pinks. Available in EPS format with attribution.

Flag Map of Japan

This map vector of Japan is colored in with the Japanese flag. It is available in AI, EPS, SVG, PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Ending thoughts on this huge list of free map vectors

There is no shortage of free map vectors available for download. Globe map vectors are an excellent way to demonstrate to potential clients your international reach, office locations, or act as a planning tool for international expansion. Even vector maps of an individual country or continent can be a powerful tool in presentations or business materials.

If you liked this article about map vectors, you should also check out this article with map illustration examples.

We also wrote about a few related subjects like the map elementswhat is a vector map, interactive maps, the choropleth map and how to make one, thematic map examples, statistical maps, and all the types of maps out there.

A bit obvious by now, but we really like maps so we wrote even more about subjects like funny maps, metro maps, fantasy maps, and even the US electoral map.

I take it you like maps as well so make sure to check out MapSVG, a great WordPress map plugin you should check out.