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World Explorer Premium

Technical Detail

The Data

Collins Bartholomew’s World Explorer Premium is a seamless digital map database of the world supplied as 27 feature classes, each containing either polygon, line or point geometry types. Designed and maintained by the team behind the prestigious Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, the accuracy and authority of the content is second to none. The rich feature coding supports complex GIS applications, where detailed knowledge of the earth’s surface is required. For example, there are over 100 river classifications and over 20 road classifications providing detailed information.

Boundaries are rigorously checked and verified in order to give an accurate picture of world political geography as it is today. First order internal administrative divisions are included for almost all countries, the exceptions being particularly small countries or dependencies.

On disputed territories, we aim to show what the situation is on the ground (de facto) whilst making sure to show that there is a dispute but at all times remaining neutral.

All names are in their local form, so Munich, Germany, would appear as München. Munich would be held as an alternative name. Currently we have nearly 2,000 alternative names in World Explorer Premium alone.

This product is used in a variety of applications and institutes such as academic research, creation of maps for television broadcast, defence and strategic planning, the production of customised printed and web-based mapping and global location-based queries.

Data Format – Vector

Vector data for ESRI users is supplied as either shapefiles or as a file geodatabase. For MapInfo users, data is supplied in either TAB or MID/MIF format. Other formats are available on request.

Accented characters are rendered in the ISO 8859-1 Latin-1 character set except for data provided in the ESRI file geodatabase format which renders characters in UTF-8. Please check that you have fonts that can utilise UTF-8 before requesting this format.

Geographic Coverage

World Explorer Premium covers the entire globe: -180 to 180 in degrees longitude, -90 to 90 in degrees latitude.

Coordinate Information

The data is supplied in WGS84 datum (WKID: 4326) by default.

Spatial Accuracy

The horizontal accuracy is ~ 5km @ 90% probability

Capture and Viewing Scales

The vector data was originally captured from compiled map sources at a nominal scale of 1:5,000,000. It is suitable for use at scales up to 1:3,000,000.

Because of the original compilation scale and cartographic generalisation, this product is not suitable for use with GPS based technologies.

The data can be viewed with basic symbols and labelling using the included ESRI map document(MXD) or QGIS project (QGS). The MXD is supplied with all ESRI formats of the data and will work with ArcGIS 10.5 or later. The QGS is supplied with the shapefile and TAB formats of the data and will work with QGIS version 2.14 or later.

Product Update Cycles

The Collins Bartholomew World Explorer Premium dataset is updated continuously and is released quarterly in March, June, September and December.

Quality Standards

Collins Bartholomew takes the greatest of care in assuring the high quality of our data. The data is constantly being updated and revised – each week we make approximately 950 changes throughout the World, amounting to an average of nearly 50,000 each year.

All of our database updates are thoroughly researched by our highly dedicated in-house team of professional cartographers, who collectively have over 300 years of combined cartographic and geographic experience.

We have a long established tradition of information gathering with a team of specialised, staff providing information to a team of highly trained cartographers.

We also use external experts, official organisations and agencies based in the UK and overseas in addition to government departments to assist in the information gathering process.

Policy changes (e.g. international boundary changes, new country depiction, name changes) are informed by external experts. For advice on name forms we look to the PCGN (the UK Government’s Permanent Committee on Geographic Names for British Official Use) and BGN (US Board on Geographic Names) plus of course local/country specific information. From this we would make our decision on the ‘de facto’ stance and apply geographical expertise to work out the details.


World Explorer Premium is available as a standalone dataset that you can download and store locally, or it can be accessed via one of our secure web services. Whichever you choose, our licence fees are based on the number of concurrent users with fees staring from £2,750 per annum.