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Public-images-osm logo.svg man_made = lighthouse
Leuchtturm roter sand.jpg
Tower that emits light to serve as a navigational aid at sea or on inland waterway Edit or translate this description.
Rendering in openstreetmap-carto
Group: Man made
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
See also
Status: de facto


The man_made=lighthouse tag is used to identify a  lighthouse or former lighthouse. Although the tower structure is very common, a lighthouse building can be any shape. The common factor is that these buildings have a lamp room at the top. Many lighthouses are no longer operational, so there may not be any form of light in the lamp room.

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.

Note that there are some small navigation aids that emit light that are not lighthouses but beacons (man_made=beacon).

How to map

Full mapping may consist of one or 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

Draw an area along the outline and tag it with man_made=lighthouse

Following tags also may be useful:

If mapping as areas in not feasible, map building as a node.

Navigational light properties

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

Operational navigational lights should be mapped as node and tagged using seamark:type=* tags (except rare situations lighthouses are seamark:type=light_major). 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.

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.


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


Photo Tags OSM Carto OpenSeaMap
Westerheversand Lighthouse.jpg man_made=lighthouse

Building: way 87534169
Light: node 1469613919

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See also

External links

Related terms: ‹ beacon › ‹ light house ›