KIS Submarine Cables Import

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

KIS Submarine Cables Import was a manual import of "Kingfisher Information Service" submarine cables data around the UK, carried out by User:Olvagor in late 2010.

Permission / License

User:Olvagor sought permissions and received an email from the "Engineering Services Manager For and on behalf of Guernsey Electricity Ltd": "I have no objections for our cable routes to be imported. Regards". This was recorded along with several other such permissions at DE:Kommunikation#ab Juni 2010.

Dated 20th Sept 2010, the import was carried out shortly after.


The dataset has route positions of submarine cables for fishing purposes, covering UK and northern European waters. Their data can browsed on an interactive (google) map: (Post-import the OpenStreetMap data can now also be browsed via

In 2010 the data was taken from an excel file available at: . The whole website has appears to have since been moved to . It is not clear if the same or similar data is listed among the "downloads" on the new site (TODO: Can Olvagor confirm?)

Covered area

The following areas are covered:

Area South West North East
North Sea - North & West 58°00′ N 21°00′ W 66°12′ N 05°00′ E
North Sea - Central 53°00′ N 02°36′ W 58°00′ N 10°00′ E
North Sea - South 50°52′ N 00°20′ E 53°09′ N 05°35′ E
English Channel 48°22′ N 04°02′ W 51°00′ N 01°55′ E
South Western Approaches 47°20′ N 13°00′ W 51°40′ N 03°00′ W
Irish Sea 51°27′ N 07°36′ W 55°40′ N 02°44′ W

The limitation to these areas leads to (transatlantic) cables being cut off in the middle of the sea.


The data is thinned to preserve an accuracy of 10m. Its quality looks mixed in my (User:Olvagor) opinion, but I have no other data for comparison to endorse/disprove that impression.

A handful of cables with apparently bad quality (jumping nodes) were deliberately not imported.

Additionally, especially when it comes to inactive cables (disused=yes), large segments are missing, from which I don't know if the data is error prone or if the cable was actually removed from the ground of the sea.


Check for existing data

The import was done manually, i.e. the data was a little bit augmented (capitalization, spelling errors, additional information) and uploaded using JOSM.

For about 50% of the cables, I (User:Olvagor) checked if they were already present in OSM, which wasn't the case for a single one. The rest were then imported without explicit checks. If I created redundant data, please inform me (or fix the problem yourself, if you can).

Tagging Schema

The tagging schema was debated on the german mailing list.

This schema looked good to me (User:Olvagor) but later on additional suggestions were made. Please feel free to improve the tagging.

In the data there was no cable tagged as both power and communication cable. But I found at least one segment, where power and communication cables ran parallel. Maybe these cables are just a single one in reality.

seamark tags

The following seamark tags were suggested later (not actually part of the import). These have have since been added to some but not all of the imported data (e.g. not on [1] as of 2019)

Value Meaning
power Electricity supply
transmission High voltage power
telephone Telephone
telegraph Signalling
mooring Mooring chain or cable
optical Fibre optic cable
ferry Ferry cable


The import was carried out back in 2010 by the olvagor user account.

It may be possible to list all the changesets(?) but in the meantime some examples: