26 Jan 11
The matplotlib basemap toolkit is a library for plotting 2D data on maps in Python. It is similar in functionality to the matlab mapping toolbox, the IDL mapping facilities, GrADS, or the Generic Mapping Tools. PyNGL and CDAT are other libraries that provide similar capabilities in Python. Basemap does not do any plotting on it’s own, but provides the facilities to transform coordinates to one of 23 different map projections (using the PROJ.4 C library). Matplotlib is then used to plot contours, images, vectors, lines or points in the transformed coordinates. Shoreline, river and political boundary datasets (from Generic Mapping Tools) are provided, along with methods for plotting them. The GEOS library is used internally to clip the coastline and polticial boundary features to the desired map projection region.