Sovereign Footprints

Sovereign Limits is composed of spatial data of various types which, when viewed together, give a complete view of sovereignty and overlapping boundary claims around the world. Across components the data is topologically tied, meaning there are no gaps or missing sections. This allows a complete view of the sovereign footprint of each country both on land and into maritime space.

The database includes the following primary components:

  • Land Boundaries
  • Maritime Boundaries
  • Provisional Equidistance
  • Territorial Seas
  • Exclusive Economic Zones
  • Implied Limits
  • Shared Sovereignty Areas
  • Straight Baseline Claims

Data Compilation at Large Scale

Data has been compiled at a scale of 1:25,000 (or larger) for the world. This means that when accuracy is important for statistical analysis or cartographic purposes, Sovereign Limits will hold up.

An example of this attention to detail at large scale can be seen on Pheasant Island, which has been shared between France and Spain since the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659. For 6 months of the year the small island is French, while for the other 6 months it becomes Spanish.

Construction Standards and Methodology

In all of our work, International Mapping maintains a high standard for ensuring data is as accurate as possible. This becomes especially important in the Sovereign Limits database, where maintaining accuracy often involves transformations from regional or historic coordinate systems into the modern global standard (WGS-84). As well, utmost effort is made to construct boundaries as specified by an originating treaty or agreement, often using geodesic lines or loxodromes to connect turning points.

This example shows the Colombia-Jamaica Joint Regime Area, which was established bilaterally in November, 1993. Here, Colombia maintains sovereignty over Seranilla Bank and Bajo Nuevo, as well as the territory extending 12 nautical miles from these features.

Boundary Disputes and Overlapping Claims

Sovereign Limits includes disputed areas both on land and at sea. In this way, the database doesn’t take any one side or viewpoint, but shows active overlapping claims where they exist, and supporting evidence to back up the data.

This example shows the dispute between Brazil and Uruguay over the source of the Invernada Stream. Brazil claims the lower (more westerly) branch and Uruguay the upper (easterly).