Marine navigation

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Logo. Feature : Marine navigation
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Mapping for marine navigation

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Deer Sailors,
With your GPS, you can do a lot for and with OpenStreetMap...

Marine navigation explains how to map the many natural and man-made features associated with the safe movement of ships and boats on the sea. See Marine for details about more general features of the marine environment and Coastline for details about how to tag features found along and close to the shore. Waterways provides information about navigation of inland waterways.


See also: Coastline

The coastline is a rich and complex environment consisting of many natural and man-made features. Tags relevant to marine navigation include man_made=beacon, natural=coastline, man_made=lighthouse, natural=peak, amenity=place_of_worship, man_made=tower, man_made=gasometer, man_made=windmill and wind generators (power=generator + generator:source=*).

Harbours, marinas and anchorages

See also: Harbour

Harbours, used by ferries and commercial shipping should be mapped using a node tagged with harbour=yes and the area of land used to support the harbour should be tagged as an area using landuse=industrial with industrial=port. Ports for ocean going vessels can also be represented with the proposed tag seaway=port. Marinas, used by pleasure boats and yachts should be tagged with leisure=marina. Naval bases should be tagged with military=naval_base. Piers against which boats can be moored should be tagged as (man_made=pier) together with mooring=yes/ferry/etc.

Use seamark:type=mooring for mooring buoys and an anchorage moorings can be marked with seamark=ACHBRT. depth=* can be used to indicate how deep the water is at a particular point.

Ferry and shipping routes

Ferry routes can be marked with route=ferry and shipping lanes with seamark:type=separation_boundary, seamark:type=separation_zone and seamark:type=separation_lane.

Navigation aids, including lighthouses, beacons, seamarks and buoys

In addition all navigational aids are tagged use the seamark schema(en). See key wiki pages in the box on the right:

Seamark Tagging
General Information
Objects, Usage
Categories of Objects, Attributes
INT-1 Cross Reference
Inland (CEVNI)

seamark:type=* is used for a wide variety of shipping markers, including:

These tags are examples from a larger set, details of which can be found here: Seamark Tag Values


The OpenSeaMap project provides marine navigation mapping based on these tags.


OSM Seamark Resources

Seamark Tag Values(en)
Seamark Objects(en)
Seamark Attributes(en)
Categories of Objects(en)
INT-1 Cross Reference(en)
Inland waterway notice marks (CEVNI)(en)
Inland waterway lateral marks (CEVNI)(en)

External sources

S-101 ENC/iENC registry (, the ENC Data Classification and Encoding Guide (DCEG) can be downloaded as zipped PDF, online access to symbols in Portrayal Register
International nautical chart symbol legend (Chart INT-1, NOAA)
Encoding Guide for Inland ENCs (, 2018), an international standard of the Inland ENC Harmonization Group is currently in development (IEHG Publication S-401, 2019)
European Code for Inland Waterways (CEVNI), (UNECE, Fifth revised version 2015)
European Code for Signs and Signals on Inland Waterways (SIGNI), (UNECE Resolution N0. 90, 2018)

External links

  • LOCODE covers 60,000 locations in 242 countries and 1000 regions. Among other things it is used to identify international seaports. The local-code consists of 5 characters. The first 2 descibe the country (ISO-3166-1) the last 3 following the location of the harbour.
  • World Port Index contains 4300 harbours in 400 regions. Every harbour has a 5-digit number as index.
  • World Port Index [1]
  • Marine Navigation Charts: This shows nautical charts covering USA, Canada, Europe and Australia.