I'm trying to find ferry route geometry data for the UK, particularly around Scotland. Things I've found whilst looking:

  • Anything reason for not using the data in OpenStreetMap? Sep 23, 2015 at 14:49
  • I didn't see it in any of my searches, looks ideal... thanks. Do you know if they supply raw data to download?
    – Adam
    Sep 23, 2015 at 14:54

2 Answers 2


Ferry data from OpenStreetMap can be got using the "Overpass API" - there's a nice friendly interface here:


If you zoom to Scotland and put the following Overpass API query in the box:

This has been generated by the overpass-turbo wizard.
The original search was:
// gather results
  // query part for: “route=ferry”
// print results
out body;
out skel qt;

and hit "Run" you should see:

ferry data

The "Export" button will then let you save in various GIS formats. Note that OSM data has a rich data model so is a bit confusing at first when you are used to Shapefiles and other rectangular database formats...

You may need to zoom out more, and its possible if you ask for too much data that the system will timeout - zoom in and get what you can in chunks, then merge unique items in your GIS of choice, or increase the timeout value in the query (although there's probably a hard limit)

  • I managed to pull the data using XAPI api.openstreetmap.fr/xapi?way[ferry=*] What's the difference between that and Overpass?
    – Adam
    Sep 23, 2015 at 15:23
  • That's great @SpacedMan - I hadn't seen the overpass turbo API before, much simpler than filtering a full extract.
    – kes
    Sep 23, 2015 at 15:25
  • I think the Overpass API is more flexible: " It supports most XAPI queries, as well as its own, more extensible query language."
    – Spacedman
    Sep 23, 2015 at 15:29

Ordnance Survey Strategi

Map showing ferry routes from OS Strategi on the West Coast of Scotland as blue lines

The small scale (1:250,000) Ordnance Survey Strategi vector product is available for re-use under the Open Government Licence and includes ferry routes in the ferry_line shapefile.

Both vehicular and passenger routes are differentiated by feature code - 5390 and 5393 respectively and are attributed with;

  • From
  • To
  • Journey Time
  • Ferry Type & Access
  • Seasonality

Information on the different layers is available in the Strategi user guide.

Unfortunately as you say ferry route geometries don't seem to be available in the more detailed products, however as they are a general delineation I don't think this would be a major issue.

Map Contains OS data © Crown copyright 2015

  • Thanks for your time, this is really helpful however I've ended up using the OpenStreetMap solution,
    – Adam
    Sep 23, 2015 at 15:20
  • Your welcome @Adam, depends what you are looking for whether to go with the OS or Open Street Map data - the latter can be richer but may not be as complete as the Ordnance Survey data which is created to the documented to standard.
    – kes
    Sep 23, 2015 at 15:27

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