What is the fastest way to plot map using Basemap and shapefile?

As the title suggest What is the fastest way to plot map using Basemap and
python?

I have a requirement of plotting 100s of images for a area where basemap
does not have the better resolution. Therefore I have choose to plot
shapefile for boundary and basemap for projection. I have already read this
file https://github.com/matplotlib/basemap/blob/master/examples/hires.py and
it seems to be the way ahead for plotting maps faster. However, when I tried
to do the same example for shapefile, the current axis gets removed. Here
is my work flow:-

import required modeules

# initialise basemap
m = Basemap(projection='merc', llcrnrlat=south, urcrnrlat=north,
            llcrnrlon=west, urcrnrlon=east, resolution='c',
area_thresh=10000.)

# I have a seperate plotting function
def drawmap(data, string1, strin2, strin3):
    print 'Plotting the actual map.'
    F = plt.gcf() # Gets the current figure for later use
    ..... do some code

def plot_variable():
    .... some code
    # call the drawmap function
    drawmap(data, string1, strin2, strin3)
    
plot_variable()

If I use the following line just after Basemap instance all works fine
without any error (though that is what I want as the boundaries wont be
plotted later). The same line included with the def drawmap(data, string1,
strin2, strin3): function also works fine but increases the plot time as it
has to read every time the drawmap function is called.
m.readshapefile('data/gis-data/NaturalEarth_10M_India_corrected/world_countries/ne_10m_admin_0_countries_lakes',
'ne_10m_admin_0_countries_lakes', drawbounds=True, linewidth=0.7)

Then I tried to pickle the above line from outside the drawmap(data,
string1, strin2, strin3) function and reload it after whenever drawmap is
called. However, I get the following error:-

    F.add_axes(cax) # Adds the new axis to the figure as the current
working axis
  File
"/home/sundar/anaconda2/lib/python2.7/site-packages/matplotlib/figure.py",
line 901, in add_axes
    raise ValueError(msg)
ValueError: The Axes must have been created in the present figure

Any solution for above or any I dea to plot faster is appreciated.

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As the title suggest What is the fastest way to plot map using Basemap and
python?

As the title suggest What is the fastest way to plot map using Basemap and
python?

I'd take a look at Cartopy:
http://scitools.org.uk/cartopy/docs/latest/index.html