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RE: Plot a map of Europe

From: Jorgen Sandberg
Subject: RE: Plot a map of Europe
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2015 21:18:36 +0100

-----Original Message-----
From: Christian T. Steigies [mailto:address@hidden 
Sent: 10 November 2015 21:14
To: Jorgen Sandberg <address@hidden>
Cc: 'Nicholas Jankowski' <address@hidden>; 'help' <address@hidden>
Subject: Re: Plot a map of Europe

On Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 08:22:48PM +0100, Jorgen Sandberg wrote:
> Thank you for your reply. The reason for my vague question is that I am
starting from scratch on plotting maps in Octave. I have searched the
internet, and the best I came across was M_Map and a reference to get the
coastline data from a NOAA website.
> Ideally, I want to plot the coastlines of any selected part of the Earth
and the borders between the countries in a suitable projection such as
Mercator and hopefully others. On top of the map I want to plot the ground
traces of satellites.
> Francesco gave me the solution to the last part except that it is not
clear to me how to ensure the map and the traces use the same projection.
However, I also need to know how to plot the coastlines and borders. Where
do I find a dataset defining the coastlines and borderlines that I can plot
conveniently in Octave? So, I need to go further back to the fundamentals
than the reply of Francesco. His "mapfile" I need to know where I can get
one and how to select the part of the world I am interested in and also the
map projection.
> Yes, it is really basic stuff, sorry.
> M_Map has a lot of features for plotting maps, but there are
incompatibilities with Octave, unfortunately. The 'verLessThan' function I
have figured out to be a function determining whether the installed version
of Matlab is less than a specified version. The easiest is to throw it out
and ensure Octave compatible functions are called and not Matlab specific
> However, my hope was that there is an easy and ready package for Octave
having the functionality I need. I can't find it and was hoping someone
would know a package and would give me a reference to it.
> I have also contacted Rich Pawlowicz, who is the man behind the M_Map. He
replied to me that he had shown no interest in Octave since 2011 and hence
does not know about incompatibilities with Octave version 4.0.0.
> Any help and advice is most welcome.

Does it have to be Octave? This sounds like a job for GMT:

It takes a bit to get used to, but once you get the hang of it, it produces
excellent maps. It even mentions an octave API (never tried this):

Best you start with some examples:

Or you search a bit for an example with borders (and find a nice description


Dear Christian,

Thank you for the reply. No, it does not have to be Octave. I went for
Octave since it is free and I have have used it a couple of times earlier.

I will have a look at gmt.


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