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Available languages — Tag:man_made=lighthouse
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Public-images-osm logo.svg man_made = lighthouse
Leuchtturm roter sand.jpg
A tower that emits (or emitted) a light signal assisting navigation on sea.
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areasuse on relations unspecified
Useful combination
Status: Approved

The man_made=lighthouse tag is used to identify a lighthouse or former lighthouse. Operational lighthouses show different colors in different sectors (e.g. white, red, green), so the relative direction of the light to the viewer can be approximated. Some lights are positioned behind each other and, when brought to an alignment act as a leading light. Often, lights incorporate radio transmitters, DGPS, radar and other things too.

How to map

Full mapping consists of at least two OSM objects. The lighthouse object describes the characteristics of the tower as a building; the light object describes the properties of the navigational light.

Building properties

Tag standing lighthouse buildings with man_made=lighthouse, and name=* if the name is known. Lighthouse buildings can be drawn as a node or as a closed way (area).

Navigational light properties

A sector light with multiple colours and angles.
Main article: Seamarks/Lights

Operational navigational lights should be mapped as nodes and tagged using seamark:type=* tags. If it's a sector light, every sector is described separately. The individual sectors are numbered. Every sector has a starting and an ending angle. If no angle is defined the light is visible from all directions: its angle is 360°.

Use for the attributes seamark:<object>:<number>:<attribute>=<value>

'# it can be entered multiple signals that are numbered here. The light sectors are shown graphically on the OpenSeaMap.

Use the JOSM-seasign-Editor Plugin, or the "OpenSeaMap online editor". Both offer a graphical interface for adding details about angles and flashing rates.

Disused lighthouses

If a lighthouse building no longer has a navigational light, add disused=yes to the man_made=lighthouse object. Update any seamark objects or tagging using the approved editors. Be certain not to create ambiguities on any object, as explained below. (Using disused=yes as a simple tag is deprecated. See Key:disused)

Re-purposed and multi-purpose lighthouse buildings

Lighthouses are frequently very substantial buildings, and sometimes are reused for other purposes even if their navigational light is removed. Conversely, it's possible for an operational lighthouse to have other uses to the public beyond assisting navigation.

Tags such as tourism=viewpoint, tourism=museum, amenity=restaurant etc. may be added to the lighthouse object, or as separate nodes or areas inside it or nearby as appropriate.

Be careful not to add new uses of the building to a lighthouse object which is tagged disused=yes. This creates an ambiguity because disused=yes does not state which other tags are no longer relevant. In this case, the new uses should be added as separate nodes or areas as described in One feature, one OSM element. (Using disused=yes as a simple tag is deprecated. See Key:disused)


  • OpenSeaMap displays details of navigational lights in much greater more detail.


Photo Tags Mapnik OpenSeaMap
Westerheversand Lighthouse.jpg man_made=lighthouse

Building: Way 87534169 (XML, Potlatch2, iD, JOSM, history)
Light: Node 1469613919 (XML, Potlatch2, iD, JOSM, history)


See also

External links


Related terms: ‹ beacon › ‹ light house ›