GeoBoundaries Database of Global Administrative Zones

GeoBoundaries is a spatial database that records the geographic boundaries of administrative zones across the globe. 

GeoBoundaries 1.3

The GeoBoundaries database is made available in a variety of software formats to support GIS software programs.  Contrasting to other administrative boundary datasets, geoBoundaries is an open product: all boundaries are open and redistributable, and are released alongside extensive metadata and license information to help inform end users.  We update GeoBoundaries on a yearly cycle, with new versions in August of each calendar year; old versions remain accessible through this website.  Users should cite GeoBoundaries by providing information on the authors (us), this website, and the version of GeoBoundaries used.  An example citation for the current version of GeoBoundaries is:

Seitz, L., Goodman, S., Lv., Z., Runfola, D. 2018. GeoBoundaries Database of Global Administrative Zones version 1.3.4. Accessed on: April 25, 2019.

The current version of GeoBoundaries is 1.3.4, and was released in November 2018. We expect our next major version, 2.0 to be released in December of 2019.

To download the data, you can go directly to

We do our best to correct errors in our data, but admit the dataset is not perfect.  Further, we intentionally do not include any  data that is not both open and redistributable.  If you have data sources we can use to improve our dataset that meet these criteria, or recommend changes to our existing dataset, please contact us at:

Currently Known Issues:

  1. Scotland and Northern Ireland are currently not included when a user requests to download the United Kingdom data layer.
  2. Metadata is not included in all downloaded layers.  If you are looking for specific licensure information for a given file, you can contact us.

Policy on Contested Boundaries:

All decisions on what data to include into this database are made on the basis of the best available data - i.e., if there are two competing shapefiles representing administrative zones for a single country, we will take the one with the most geographic precision.  All representations of zones are up to the data source, and do not represent the views or opinions of the GeoBoundaries team.

GeoBoundaries has been developed by a large cohort of interested faculty, staff and students based out of the geoLab at William and Mary.  The project would not have been possible without:

Version 1.0 – Version 1.3:
Leigh Seitz
Dan Runfola (contact at:
Seth Goodman
Miranda Lv
Version 1.* of geoBoundaries was created using computing facilities at William & Mary, which were provided by contributions from the National Science Foundation, the Commonwealth of Virginia Equipment Trust Fund, and the Office of Naval Research.  Further funding and resources were provided by the Hewlett Foundation (in collaboration with AidData), the Jeffress Medical Trust, and the Roy R. Charles Center for Academic Excellence.