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Pacific Island groups/nations boundaries

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#1
amtait

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[cross posted with MAP-MAC listserv]

I have been looking at the lines on World maps dividing up the Pacific Islands. In the Times Atlas of the World for example (and in World Data Bank II digital dataset), there are the straight line segment defined polygons that divide the island groups (for example the Marshall Islands or Kiribati).

What are these lines?

I don't think they are International Boundaries because they do not follow the rules for determining maritime boundaries (from United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)). Territorial seas are 12 nautical miles and Exclusive Economic Zones are 200 nm. The boundaries do not follow either of those and they would in general be rounded not straight lines.

Are these lines simply cartographic conveniences to show which islands belong to which country?

I've seen several variations on world or Pacific Ocean maps.

I'm going to do more research when I have some time but if anyone has any immediate clues, that would be great.

__Alex
Alex Tait
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#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Alex,

I've seen those lines in other atlases and reference maps too. I've copied some of them for the globe maps, but purely as a cartographic 'trick' to show which areas belong to which countries.

I do remember one of those island nations trying to claim a particular reef that fell dry every now and then as being an island, which would entitle them to the 12 nm Territorial Sea and 200 nm EEZ...
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#3
amtait

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Yes, after a little poking around it seems to me that they are just tricks. If they were an attempt at the EEZ they would look something like this:

http://www.sopac.org...ndaries Project


Alex,

I've seen those lines in other atlases and reference maps too. I've copied some of them for the globe maps, but purely as a cartographic 'trick' to show which areas belong to which countries.

I do remember one of those island nations trying to claim a particular reef that fell dry every now and then as being an island, which would entitle them to the 12 nm Territorial Sea and 200 nm EEZ...


Alex Tait
VP, International Mapping, Ellicott City, MD, USA

#4
frax

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Yes they must be.

Fyi, some of my colleagues are working on a dedicated UN programme to assist developing countries in submitting their claims for the continental shelf. There is a deadline to present these for the UN convention on the Law of the Sea before 2008. If there are natural resources for extraction (i.e. oil and gas), this could be very valuable and important for the countries.

We are working on assisting them in gathering and analysing seismic data. This is a little more advanced than vanilla GIS - since it is all analysed quantitatively in real 3D (not only 2?D, as is more common).

I haven't really been involved in it, more than the interactive data request server - which is not that advanced.

Read more on the UNEP Continental Shelf Programme web-site.
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