OSMCoastline extracts the coastline data from an OSM planet file and assembles all the pieces into polygons for use in map renderers etc.
https://github.com/osmcode/libosmium https://osmcode.org/libosmium At least version 2.13.1 is needed.
https://github.com/mapbox/protozero Debian/Ubuntu: libprotozero-dev At least version 1.6.1 is needed.
zlib (for PBF support)
https://www.zlib.net/ Debian/Ubuntu: zlib1g-dev
GDAL (for OGR support)
https://gdal.org/ 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 https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuGIS when using Ubuntu to get newer versions of GIS libraries.)
https://trac.osgeo.org/geos/ Debian/Ubuntu: libgeos-dev
https://www.gaia-gis.it/fossil/libspatialite/index Debian/Ubuntu: sqlite3, spatialite-bin
Pandoc (optional, to build documentation)
https://pandoc.org/ Debian/Ubuntu: pandoc (If pandoc is found by CMake, the manpages will automatically be built.)
You'll need the prerequisites including
OSMCoastline uses CMake for building:
mkdir build cd build cmake .. make
make doc to build the Doxygen API documentation which will be available
A few tests are provided that can be run by calling
The tests themselves are written as shell scripts and can be found in the
test/t directory. Some test use the
nodegrid2opl helper program found in
src directory, it has some documentation in the source code.
Run the script
runtest.sh from the directory you built the program in. It
will read the supplied
testdata.osm and create output in the
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.
runtest.sh -v to run the tests under Valgrind.
Note that you might want to run
osmcoastline_filter first, see below under
osmcoastline -o DBFILE PLANET-FILE
osmcoastline -o coastline.db planet.osm.pbf
This will create a spatialite database named
DBFILE and write several tables
with the output into it.
--verbose to see whats going on. Start with
--help to see other
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_linesLines that have errors (for instance not closed rings or self-intersections).
error_pointsProblematic points such as intersections.
ringsCoastline 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-ringsto populate this table.
land_polygonsFinished assembled land polygons. Depending on
--max-pointsoption this will contain complete or split polygons. Only filled if the option
--output-polygons=land(thats the default) or
=bothhas been given.
water_polygonsFinished assembled water polygons. Only filled if option
=bothhas been given.
linesCoastlines as linestrings. Depending on
--max-pointsoption this will contain complete or split linestrings. Only filled if the option
--output-lineshas been given.
By default all output is in WGS84. You can use the option
create output in "Web Mercator". (Other projections are currently 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
--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_and_split_spatialite or the
directories for scripts that help with simplifying and splitting geometries
using Spatialite or PostGIS, respectively.
The database tables
meta contain the command line options
used to create the database and some metadata. You can use the script
osmcoastline_readmeta to look at them.
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
Step 3: Assemble polygons from the rings, possibly including holes for water areas.
Step 4: Split up large polygons into smaller ones. The options
--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
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.
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.
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.
Set spatial reference system/projection. Use 4326 for WGS84 or 3857 for "Web 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 currently not supported. Default is 4326.
Gives you detailed information on what osmcoastline is doing, including timing.
osmcoastline --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 extend to the South Pole or to the 85.0511° line.
osmcoastline_filter can be used to filter from an OSM planet file
all nodes and ways needed for building the coastlines and write them out in
OSM format. The resulting file will be a lot smaller (less than 1%) than the
original planet file, but it contains everything needed to assemble the
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
Run it as follows:
osmcoastline_filter -o OUTFILE.osm.pbf INFILE.osm.pbf
osmcoastline_filter can read PBF and XML files, but write only PBF files. PBF
files are much smaller and faster to read and write.
Generally you can not run OSMCoastline on extracts. OSMCoastline assembles ways into continuous coastline linestrings and then into land and water polygons. But if the coastline is not closed, it can't do that. This might work if your extract only contains an island, but in most cases this will not work.
OSMCoastline is available under the GNU GPL version 3 or later.
Jochen Topf (email@example.com)