User:NKA/seamark import

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I plan to import all nautical beacons, buoys and signs in Norway from the official database provided by The Norwegian Coastal Administration (“Kystverket”). The import is currently (as of 14 November 2017) at the planning stage and ready for review by the OSM and OpenSeaMap communities.


The goal of this import is to add all nautical beacons, buoys and notice marks (including corresponding lights) for the Norewegian coast so that they together with the existing lights in OSM will provide a more complete repository of navigational installations.


Files for the import has already been produced and will be imported into OSM as soon as the import plan has been verified by the OSM community, including:

  • The Norwegian mailing list
  • The OpenSeaMap mailing list
  • The Import mailing list

Import Data


The Norwegian Coastal Administration's maintains the official database for "navigational installations" (beacons, buoys, lights and notice marks). It provides access through a WFS service.

Data source site:
Data license:
Type of license: NLOD - (listed as compatible with CC-BY 4.0)
Link to permission (if required): In process
OSM attribution (if required): Yes, for "Kystverket"
ODbL Compliance verified: In process

The dataset may be inspected at (layer "Temalag"->"Farled og merker"->"Navigasjonsinstallasjoner") and through WMS at

OSM Data Files

The original data as well as proposed OSM tagging is here: The data was extracted 3 November 2017.

Please note that Lights with TypeID="LykteFundament" will not be imported (they are larger light_major and light_minor lights).

Import Type

This is a one-time import. The data has been downloaded from Kystverket through its WFS service. There are 4 different sections of data which is relevant for this import:

  • Beacons
  • Buoys
  • Lights on beacons and buoys ("lanterns")
  • Indirect lights/flood lights
  • Notice marks

The WFS data was downloaded using QGIS and exported as GML files to JOSM. In JOSM, each category of beacons, buoys etc was identified and manually given proper seamark tagging according to the translation table in the next section.

Data Preparation

Data Reduction & Simplification

Each object is represented by one node, so no simplification is needed. Internal data attributes will not be imported.

Tagging Plans

Each OSM object will be tagged according to the following tables.


A beacon is a prominent, specially constructed object forming a conspicuous mark as a fixed aid to navigation. Norwegian term: “Fast sjømerke”.

Description Original data OSM tagging Beacons Comments
Port-hand Lateral Beacon TypeID=BabordLateralMerke seamark:type=beacon_lateral




Starboard-hand Lateral Beacon TypeID=StyrbordLateralMerke seamark:type=beacon_lateral




Isolated Danger Beacon TypeID=IsolertFareMerkeFast seamark:type=beacon_isolated_danger 10,691
Special Purpose Beacon TypeID=SpesialmerkeFast seamark:type=beacon_special_purpose 129
Other TypeID=AndreFastmerker seamark:type=beacon_isolated_danger 2,350

Shapes are added if "Merkeform" contains information:

Description Original data OSM tagging Beacons Comments
Pole Merkeform=Stang seamark:<beacon_type>:shape=pole 12,538
Beacon tower Merkeform=Varde seamark:<beacon_type>:shape=tower


Lattice beacon Merkeform=Båke seamark:<beacon_type>:shape=lattice



Topmarks are added if "ToppmerkeType" contains information. There is one top mark type for which I have not found an OSM tag. It is an arrow pointing away from a rock and with the direction of the arrow point towards safe water. In the table below, these arrows are called "Viser" (a simple arrow) and "Krekse" (a lattice shaped arrow). A OSM note has been added for these 6,790 beacons.

Description Original data OSM tagging Beacons Comments
Simple arrow ToppmerkeType=Viser ??? 5,349
White lattice arrow ToppmerkeType=Hvit krekse ??? 1,111
Black lattice arrow ToppmerkeType=Sort krekse ??? 273
White and black

lattice arrow

ToppmerkeType=Hvit & sort krekse ??? 6
Single sphere ToppmerkeType=Kule seamark:topmark:shape=sphere 158
Single sphere with

arrow above

ToppmerkeType=Kule med viser seamark:topmark:shape=sphere 46
Single sphere with

lattice arrow above

ToppmerkeType=Kule med krekse seamark:topmark:shape=sphere 5
Cone ToppmerkeType=Kjegle seamark:topmark:shape=cone, point up 12
Horizontal barrel ToppmerkeType=Tønne seamark:topmark:shape=barrel??? 6 Different orientation; horiztonal vs vertical
Cross ToppmerkeType=Kors seamark:topmark:shape=cross 7
X cross ToppmerkeType=Kryss seamark:topmark:shape=x-shape 7

5,396 topmarks with arrows also have data for the orientation of the arrow in degrees. I have not found a documented way to tag it. May want to preserve the information by adding seamark:topmark:orientation??? The value 0 has been omitted as it is likely to be a "no data" code.

Colours are given by "Farge1", "Farge2" and "Farge3". 691 beacons have 1 colour. 21 beacons have 2 colours, 18 beacons have 3 colours. Direct translation into seamark:<beacon_type>:colour. There is no information about colour pattern (based on observations horizontal is the prevailing colour pattern, most likely for all towers ("varder") and lattices ("båker")).

6,077 beacons have information about their retro reflective colour, to be set as seamark:retro_reflector:colour=<colour>.

Special purpose marks are given by "Merketype". Translation table between national codes and CATSPM is here: Only Special purpose beacons will be get marks (129 beacons).

Description Original data OSM tagging Beacons Comments
Leading mark Merketype=Overettmerke seamark:beacon_special_purpose:category=leading 33
Foul ground mark Merketype=Foul ground mark (yachting) seamark:beacon_special_purpose:category=foul_ground 94
Mark with unknown purpose Merketype=Merke med ukjent formål seamark:beacon_special_purpose:category=unknown_purpose 13

Other tags:

  • 58 beacons have a radar reflector, "RadarReflektor"="Ja" in dataset --> seamark:<beacon_type>:reflectivity=reflector (NOT seamark:radar_reflector=yes because the reflector is combined with a beacon???)
  • 774 beacons have a water depth --> depth=value of "Vanndybde" (in meters with decimal)
  • 1043 beacons have a height of the structure --> seamark:<beacon_type>:height=value of "Byggehoyde" (in meters with decimal). Value 0 omitted.


Description Original data OSM tagging Buoys Comments
Port-hand lateral buoy TypeID=BabordLateralBøye seamark:type=buoy_lateral




Starboard lateral buoy TypeID=StyrbordLateralBøye seamark:type=buoy_lateral




North cardinal buoy TypeID=NordKardinalBøye seamark:type=buoy_cardinal




East cardinal buoy TypeID=ØstKardinalBøye seamark:type=buoy_cardinal




South cardinal buoy TypeID=SørKardinalBøye seamark:type=buoy_cardinal




West cardinal buoy TypeID=VestKardinalBøye seamark:type=buoy_cardinal




Isolated danger buoy TypeID=IsolertFareBøye seamark:type=buoy_isolated_danger



Special purpose buoy TypeID=SpesialBøye seamark:type=buoy_special_purpose 78 Please see Special purpose marks below

Shapes are added if "Bøyeform" contains information:

Description Original data OSM tagging Buoys Comments
Spar/spindle Bøyeform=Stake seamark:<buoy_type>:shape=spar 1,815
Pillar Bøyeform=Bøyestake seamark:<buoy_type>:shape=pillar 139
Conical Bøyeform=Konisk bøye seamark:<buoy_type>:shape=conical 31
Spherical Bøyeform=Kulebøye seamark:<buoy_type>:shape=spherical 26
Ice buoy Bøyeform=Isbøye seamark:<buoy_type>:shape=ice_buoy 17
Barrel/tun Bøyeform=Tønnebøye seamark:<buoy_type>:shape=barrel 13
Can/cylindrical Bøyeform=Sylindrisk bøye seamark:<buoy_type>:shape=can 11
Super-buoy Bøyeform=Superbøye seamark:<buoy_type>:shape=super-buoy 11 Hyphen, not underscore???

Colour for Special Purpose buoy is given by "Farge1" (77 yellow, 1 orange).

There are no topmarks in the dataset. In general, topmarks are not used because of rough sea and maintenance problems.

Special purpose marks are given by "Merketype". Translation table between national codes and CATSPM is here: Only Special purpose buoys will get marks (78 buoys).

Description Originial data OSM tagging Buoys Comments
Outfall mark Merketype=8 seamark:buoy_special_purpose:category=outfall 4
ODAS Merketype=9 seamark:buoy_special_purpose:category=odas 1 Ocean Data Acquisition System
Recording mark Merketype=10 seamark:buoy_special_purpose:category=recording 2 Data recording
Recreation zone mark Merketype=12 seamark:buoy_special_purpose:category=recreation_zone 1
Mooring mark Merketype=14 seamark:buoy_special_purpose:category=mooring 7
LANBY Merketype=15 seamark:buoy_special_purpose:category=lanby 7 Large Automatic Navigational Buoy
TSS mark Merketype=19 seamark:buoy_special_purpose:category=tss 1 Traffic Separation System
Control mark Merketype=42 seamark:buoy_special_purpose:category=control 4 Location of restriction or requirement
Mark with unknown purpose Merketype=52 seamark:buoy_special_purpose:category=unknown_purpose 51

Other tags:

  • 141 buoys have a radar reflector, "RadarReflektor"="Ja" in dataset --> seamark:radar_reflector=yes
  • 8 buoys have a water depth --> depth=value of "Vanndybde" (in meters with decimal)

Lights on beacons and buoys

The dataset for lights also includes 2,560 lights for beacons and buoys as well as 1,840 indirect lights. The beacons and buoys structures are tagged as described above. The lights on those objects will be tagged as specified in this section. The other lights which are neither beacons nor buoys have already been imported in the LOL import.

Description Original data OSM tagging Lights Comments
Light character LysKarakter=
  • Fast
  • Fl
  • Iso
  • Oc
  • Q (+ LFI)
  • VQ (+ LFI)
  • F
  • Fl
  • Iso
  • Oc
  • Q (+ LFI)
  • VQ (+LFI)







  • Fixed
  • Flashing
  • Isophased
  • Occulting
  • Quick-flashing
  • Very quick flashing
Light colour LysFarge
  • Hvit
  • Gul
  • Rød
  • Grønn
  • white
  • yellow
  • red
  • green





Light group FyrlisteKarakter, 2nd part seamark:light:group 75
Light period FyrlisteKarakter, last part seamark:light:period 2,294
Light sequence KarakterTid (excluding "FastLys") seamark:light:sequence 1,590 E.g. "3+1"
Light elevation Lyshoyde seamark:light:elevation 2,324 Elevation above sea level
Light height Byggehoyde seamark:light:height 1,005 Height of structure
Light range RekkeviddeHvit (white)

RekkeviddeGul (yellow)

RekkeviddeRød (red)

RekkeviddeGrønn (green)

seamark:light:range 332 One colour only for each light.

Range in nautical miles.

Multiplicity of lights AntallIdentiskeLys seamark:light:multiple 1
Directional light/

Light orientation

RetningslysRetning semark:light:category=directional


9 Exclude "0" (uncertain data)

All light attributes to be grouped as sector 1

Leading light Lystype=Overettmerke seamark:light:category=front, rear, upper, lower (as apropriate) 102 Need to verify map/elevation
Aero light Lystype=Luftfartsfyr/lykt seamark:light:category=aero 2
Air obstruction light Lystype=Lufthindringslys seamark:light:category=air_obstruction 1

Indirect lights are either additional lights on on beacons and buoys, or separate structures. For separate structures, "TypeId" determines the type of beacon or buoy, as above. Indirect light renders as P63 yellow floodlight on national nautical maps.

Description Original data OSM tagging Lights Comments
HIB light Klasse=HIB - Hurtigbåtmerke med indirekte belysning seamark:light:category=floodlight



seamark:topmark:shape=triangle, point up


seamark:type=beacon_special_purpose (if separate beacon)

598 Special additional light for high-speed vessels, illuminating its topmark triangle and the area around it.

Separate node if there is another light on the beacon, or just status=illuminated???

Indirect light Indirekte_lys seamark:light:category=floodlight



seamark:type=pile (if separate)

seamark:pile:status=illuminated (if separate)

1,840 Additional or separate indirect lights.

Separate node if there is another light on the beacon, or just status=illuminated???

Notice marks

Notice marks will be tagged with seamark:type=notice. Check whether this is inland only??? The dataset for some reason contains only a fraction of all existing notice marks.

Description Original data OSM tagging Notice marks Comments
No anchoring Skilttekst=Ankring forbudt seamark:type=notice



Sea cable Skilttekst=Livsfarlig kabel seamark:type=notice



Overhead cable Skilttekst=Livsfarlig ledning seamark:type=notice



Low speed Skilttekst=Sakte fart seamark:type=notice




Additional text in seamark:notice:information (typically meters of claerance etc).

Common attributes

Description Original data OSM tagging Objects Comments
Kystverket identification SjomerkeNr seamark:reference or :ref???


13,244 beacons

604 buoys

2,540 lights

1,827 indirect lights

Buoys are also identified ny "NavID". Need to verify which ID to use???
Name Navn seamark:name 7,688 beacons

1,697 buoys

2,529 lights

1,809 indirect lights

Exclude 12 beacons without proper names
Source source=Kystverket

Changeset Tags

The import will be tagged with source="Kystverket".

Data Transformation

No specific data transformations apart from the translations shown above.

Data Transformation Results

The preliminary OSM files may be inspected in this folder:

There is one file each for beacons, buoys, lights, indirect lights and notice marks.

Note: The original data has been kept as-is in addition to the proposed OSM tagging in these preliminary files. The original data will be removed before import. Lights with TypeID="LykteFundament" will not be imported (they are larger light_major and light_minor).

Data Merge Workflow

Team Approach

I plan to do the import myself. It is a one time job. archie and other users have reviewed and contributed with their comments.


List all factors that will be evaluated in the import.


The input files will be imported with JOSM in this order: 1) Beacons, 2) Buoys, 3) Lights, 4) Indirect lights, 5) Notice marks.

The lights will be conflated with beacons and buoys using the Conflation plugin in JOSM. Lights without a corresponding beacon og buoy will be tagged as described in the Light file or, if no seamark:type is given, will get seamark:type=light_minor.

Need to decide whether floodlights need a separate node???


Except for larger lights there are currently few existing objects in OSM in the given geographical area, so a manual conflation is possible. For each file, the corresponding existing objects in OSM will be downloaded through Overpass turbo i JOSM and merging of nodes at the same geographical position will take place. In the case of non-matching data, the official data from the Norwegian Coastal Administration will prevail. Overlapping positions will first be determined using the validation function in JOSM, and then through a one-by-one inspection of the existing objects using the To-do plug-in.

Next steps

The larger lights which are not part of this import may at a later stage be supplemented to lights already imported into OSM during the LoL import.

Also, Kystverket provides a list of harbours/ports which may be imported at a later stage.


Samples of the end result will be compared with the corresponding WMS service as well as official nautical raster charts as separate layers in JOSM before uploading to OSM.

WMS-service for beacon, buoys, lights:

WMS-service for official nautical raster charts: