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Extracts coastline data from OpenStreetMap planet file.
branch: master
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simplify_and_split Simplifying and splitting polygon code.
.gitignore Rename osmcoastline_extract to osmcoastline_filter
COPYING First commit
Doxyfile Updated Doxygen configuration.
Makefile Remove CXX definition from Makefile
README Clarification in README: osmcoastline_filter only writes PBF.
TODO Improve reporting of warnings and errors. fix mapserver config
coastline_handlers.hpp Ignore bogus coastline in Antarctica
coastline_polygons.cpp Make sure there are warnings created for invalid polygons when splitting
coastline_polygons.hpp Make sure there are warnings created for invalid polygons when splitting
coastline_ring.cpp Add missing include
coastline_ring.hpp Add extra check for missing positions.
coastline_ring_collection.cpp Add extra check for missing positions.
coastline_ring_collection.hpp Add extra check for missing positions.
coastline_sources.qgs Add osmcoastline_ways program
coastline_sqlite.qgs Add more error checking code. This will find some questionable polygons
options.cpp Removed experimental simplification code.
options.hpp Fix include dependencies
osmcoastline.cpp Move VerboseOutput class into it's own file.
osmcoastline.hpp Add return codes.
osmcoastline_filter.cpp Remove unused debug option. Improve README, Makefile, readmeta
osmcoastline_ways.cpp Add 'bogus' field to output of osmcoastline_ways.
output_database.cpp Add INIT_WITH_EPSG=no option when opening spatialite db.
output_database.hpp Fix for #6. Mismatch between declarations of class/struct Stats
output_layers.cpp Conditionally compile exportToGEOS() call based on GDAL version.
output_layers.hpp Throw exception if commit fails Add mapserver config for testing. Use exec in
simplify.sql Add instructions for polygon simplification
srs.cpp Refactoring of SpatialReference handling.
srs.hpp Remove bogus lines from coastline line output.
stats.hpp More stats
taginfo.json Fix logo URL in taginfo project settings.
testdata.osm Find double points
verbose_output.hpp Move VerboseOutput class into it's own file.



OSMCoastline extracts the coastline from an OSM planet file and assembles all
the pieces into polygons for use in map renderers etc.


    (Do not use the Osmium coming with Ubuntu 12.04, it is too old.)

boost (several libraries)
    Debian/Ubuntu: libboost-dev

zlib (for PBF support)
    Debian/Ubuntu: zlib1g-dev

GDAL (for OGR support)
    Debian/Ubuntu: libgdal1-dev
    (Must be built with Spatialite and GEOS support which is true for
    Debian/Ubuntu packages. You need GDAL 1.7.0 or greater, consider using when using Ubuntu to get newer
    versions of GIS libraries.)

    Debian/Ubuntu: libgeos-dev

    Debian/Ubuntu: sqlite3 


You'll need all the prerequisites including Osmium installed.

Run "make" to build the "osmcoastline" and "osmcoastline_filter" programs.
"osmcoastline_ways" is usually not needed and not built by default.

Run "make clean" to clean up.


Run the script "". It will read the supplied "testdata.osm" and
create output in the testdata.db spatialite database.

It is normal for this program to create errors and warnings, because it is
testing a rather broken input file. You will get messages such as "Closing
ring between node -84 and node -74" and "Warning 1: Self-intersection
at or near point 7.48488 53.8169". At the end it should print:
There were 35 warnings.
There were 1 errors.

You can use the supplied "coastline_sqlite.qgs" QGIS project file to open the
output with QGIS.


Note that you might want to run osmcoastline_filter first, see below.

  osmcoastline -o DBFILE PLANET-FILE

For example:
  osmcoastline -o coastline.db planet.osm.pbf

This will create a spatialite database name DBFILE and write several tables
with the output into it.

Use --verbose to see whats going on. Start with --help to see other options.


The output is a spatialite database with the following tables. All tables are
always created but depending on the command line options only some of them
might contain anything.

* error_lines
  Lines that have errors (for instance not closed rings or self-intersections).

* error_points
  Problematic points such as intersections.

* rings
  Coastline rings as linestrings. The table is not populated by default,
  because this is only needed for finding errors in the coastline. Use the
  command line option "--output-rings" to populate this table.

* land_polygons
  Finished assembled land polygons. Depending on -m/--max-points options this
  will contain complete or split polygons. Only filled if the option
  --output-polygons=land (thats the default) or =both has been given.

* water_polygons
  Finished assembled water polygons. Only filled if option
  --output-polygons=water or =both has been given.

* lines
  Coastlines as linestrings. Depending on -m/--max-points options this
  will contain complete or split linestrings. Only filled if the option
  --output-lines has been given.

By default all output is in WGS84. You can use the option -s/--srs=3857 to
create output in "Google Mercator". (Other projections are curently not

OSMCoastline always creates only this one database. If you need shapefiles
use ogr2ogr to convert the data:

  ogr2ogr -f "ESRI Shapefile" land_polygons.shp coastline.db land_polygons

By default geometry indexes are created for all tables. This makes the database
larger, but faster to use. You can use the option -i/--no-index to suppress
this, for instance if you never use the data directly anyway but want to
transform it into something else.

Coastlines and polygons are never simplified, but contain the full detail.
See "simplify.sql" for a way to simplify polygons.

The database table "options" and "meta" contain the command line options
used to create the database and some metadata. You can use the script
"" to look at it.


OSMCoastline runs in several steps, each can optionally create some output.
In most cases you will only be interested in the end result but preliminary
results are supplied for debugging or other special uses.

Step 1: Filter out all nodes and ways tagged natural=coastline and all nodes
        needed by those ways. (This can also be done with the
        osmcoastline_filter program, see below)

Step 2: Assemble all coastline ways into rings. Rings that are not closed
        in the OSM data will be closed depending on the -c/--close-distance

Step 3: Assemble polygons from the rings, possibly including holes for
        water areas.

Step 4: Split up large polygons into smaller ones. The options -m/--max-points
        and -b/--bbox-overlap are used here.

Step 5: Create water polygons as the "inverse" of the land polygons.

The errors encountered in each step are written to the error_points and
error_lines tables.


-c, --close-distance=DISTANCE
    OSMCoastline assembles ways tagged natural=coastline into rings. Sometimes
    there is a gap in the coastline in the OSM data. OSMCoastline will close
    this gap if it is smaller than DISTANCE.
    Use 0 to disable this feature.

-b, --bbox-overlap=OVERLAP
    Polygons that are too large are split into two halves (recursively if need
    be). Where the polygons touch the OVERLAP is added, because two polygons
    just touching often lead to rendering problems. The value is given in the
    units used for the projection (for WGS84 (4326) this is in degrees, for
    Mercator (3857) this is in meters). If this is set too small you might
    get rendering artefacts where polygons touch. The larger you set this the
    larger the output polygons will be. The best values depend on the map scale
    or zoom level you are preparing the data for.
    Disable the overlap by setting it to 0.
    Default is 0.0001 for WGS84 and 10 for Mercator.

-m, --max-points=NUM
    Set this to 0 to prevent splitting of large polygons and linestrings.
    If set to any other positive integer osmcoastline will try to split
    polygons/linestrings to not have more than this many points. Depending on
    the overlap defined with -b and the shape of the polygons it is sometimes
    not possible to get the polygons small enough. Osmcoastline will warn you
    on stderr if this is the case.
    Default is 1000.

-s, --srs=EPSGCODE
    Set spatial reference system/projection. Use 4326 for WGS84 or 3857 for
    "Google Mercator". If you want to use the data for the usual tiled web
    maps, 3857 is probably right. For other uses, especially if you want to
    re-project to some other projection, 4326 is probably right.
    Other projections are curently not supported.
    Default is 4326.

-v, --verbose
    Gives you detailed information on what osmcoastline is doing, including

Run osmcoastline with --help to see all options.


osmcoastline uses the following return codes:

0 - OK
1 - Warning
2 - Error
3 - Fatal error (output file could not be opened etc.)
4 - Error parsing command line arguments

The difference between warnings and errors is somewhat muddy. Warnings are
geometry problems that have either been fixed automatically or seem to be
small. Errors are larger problems that couldn't be fixed. If there were errors
you probably do not want to use the generated data but fix the OSM data first.
If there were warnings the data might be okay, but there still could be data
missing or geometry problems such as self-intersections in the coastline. But
the classification of problems into warnings and errors is difficult, so to be
on the safe side you might only want to use the data if there are no warnings
and no errors at all.


OSMCoastline has special code for the coastline of Antarctica. This is the only
coastline that can remain open. The coastline starts somewhere around 180° East,
77° South and ends around 180° West and 77° South. OSMCoastline will find those
open ends and connect them by adding several "nodes" forming a proper polygon.
Depending on the output projection (EPSG:4326 or EPSG:3857) this polygon will
either go to the South Pole or to the 85.0511° line.


The program "osmcoastline_filter" can be used to filter from an OSM planet
file all nodes and ways needed for building the coastlines and writing them out
in OSM format. This file will be a lot smaller (less than 1%) than the original
planet file, but it contains everything needed to assemble the coastline polygons.

If you are playing around or want to run "osmcoastline" several times with
different parameters, run "osmcoastline_filter" once first and use its output
as the input for "osmcoastline".

Run it as follows:
  osmcoastline_filter -o OUTFILE.osm.pbf INFILE.osm.pbf

osmcoastline_filter can read PBF and XML files, but write only write PBF files.
PBF files are much smaller and faster to read and write.


OSMCoastline is available under the GNU GPL version 3 or later.


Jochen Topf <>

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