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The cartographic boundary files are simplified representations of selected geographic areas from the Census Bureauís MAF/TIGER geographic database. These boundary files are specifically designed for small scale thematic mapping.
When possible generalization is performed with intent to maintain the hierarchical relationships among geographies and to maintain the alignment of geographies within a file set for a given year.
To improve the appearance of shapes, areas are represented with fewer vertices than detailed TIGER/Line equivalents. Some small holes or discontiguous parts of areas are not included in generalized files.
Generalized boundary files are clipped to a simplified version of the U.S. outline. As a result, some off-shore areas may be excluded from the generalized files. This simplified U.S. outline is available for download for reference.
The 2013 cartographic boundary shapefiles are named cb_2013_ss_<entity>_rr.zip and the 2013 cartographic boundary KML files are named cb_2013_ss_<entity>_rr.kmz where:
For a list of entity names and their descriptions for the 2013 cartographic boundary files, please see our Entity Name Description [PDF] document.
The 2010 cartographic boundary files are named gz_2010_ss_lll_vv_rr.zip where:
For a complete list of summary level codes for the cartographic boundary files, please see our Summary Level Codes Page.
For the naming convention of cartographic boundary files created prior to 2010, please see our naming convention page for previous versions.
Files are available at target map scales of:
Geographic areas are not available at all target scales.
If the Cartographic Boundary files are not detailed enough to meet your needs, try one of our other types of