Core Geo-Database

At the Seventh Plenary meeting, it was decided to merge the previous Task Group 1 (International and administrative boundaries) and Task Group 2 (Core Geo-Database), highly related and complementary at different levels and scales, into one single Task Group named "Core Geo-Database".


The objectives of this task group are: to identify and prepare a global framework core data layers for the UN systems; to provide the international community with a working platform for the collection, management, analysis, visualization and sharing of sub-national data down to the 2nd sub-national level.


This task groups is principally looking at the following set of fundamental layers:

  • International and administrative Boundaries
  • Human Health: boundaries and facilities
  • Human Population: centers and distribution
  • Infrastructure: roads, railways, airports, harbors, and navigation
  • Bathymetry, Topography and Digital Elevation Model
  • Hydrology: drainage, water bodies, watersheds

The task group is looking at the issues that would insure that the different projects and initiatives taking place within the UN, in relation to these layers, are converging towards the creation of an homogeneous and seamless UN Core Geo-Database.

Two specific projects are also directly attached to this task group:

The International Boundaries project (focal point: Ayako Kagawa). This project offers a 1:1 and 1:15 million-scale dataset, which reflects the cartography practice of the UN cartographic Section for the representation of International Boundaries. Due to the sensitivity linked to international boundaries, this layer is only accessible to the UN community from

The Second Administrative Level Boundaries project (SALB) (focal point:, UNSD and UNCS). This project launched in 2001 provides, for the UN Member States, the following information and data validated by the National Mapping Agencies of the respective countries:

  • the contact information of these National Mapping Agencies;
  • the historic changes observed since 1990 at the 1st sub national level and since 2000 at the 2nd sub national level as well as well as maps;
  • 2nd administrative level digital maps (ESRI format) for each period of representativity observed since January 2000.

This project has also lead to the development of a specific coding scheme that allows the management of sub national data through time and space. More details about this project, the coding scheme, as well as the data already available can be downloaded from the SALB web site.

Task managers

John Latham (FAO)

Steeve Ebener (WHO)