I'm looking for a database of physical characteristics of the Earth at an arbitrary lat/long.

For example, a lat/long in the general vicinity of:

  • -1.710140, -52.961935 would result in river
  • 27.987785, 86.925013 would result in mountain
  • -80.926282, 112.655179 would result in tundra
  • 11.373333,142.591667 would result in oceanic trench
  • etc..

This would be the base set of data I would expect. Additional physical information such as elevation or urban, political information such as country and city, or biome information would also be great.

My searches so far has resulted in what seems to be map data when I was expecting something a bit more tabular (columns and rows). I'm sure my confusion is due to ignorance, but I'm at the point where I don't know what I don't know.

  • This question has a couple good answers about telling the difference between land or water. In general, you should look for a webservice, which you would query and then save the results as a table. Or, download and run the full 800GB OpenStreetMaps. (The reason is that no pre-made dataset will have all lat/long coordinates to the resolution you need.)
    – philshem
    Jul 3, 2016 at 7:46
  • @philshem a web service would be out of the question, I'm trying to create a miniature earth in code (no graphics) for some simulations, just for grins. Not grinning very much right now, though... anyway, I'd be hammering the service so much it would think i'm ddosing it. As for 800gb, I don't have that much disk space for a pet project. It seems like I can get lower resolution images that would work, though, so I'll start focusing in that direction. That and learning some GIS software.
    – anon
    Jul 3, 2016 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


I am not sure if this the one http://www.naturalearthdata.com/ you are looking for and that is probably you would have to look it up.

  • This is a good resource, unfortunately the coordinate data is locked up in the raster blobs.
    – anon
    Jul 5, 2016 at 19:42
  • I think it might be hard to find database what you are looking for. I would google it and keep searching to what your needs are.
    Jul 6, 2016 at 15:38

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