Data example

High-quality maps can be downloaded from the home page of the Norwegian Mapping Authority. You can get the SOSI files for the nation-wide N500 map here.

The N500 package consists of several SOSI files, each representing a set of various geographical features. One SOSI file may contain a multitude of geometries and object types. However, Shapefiles can contain no more than one geometry type each (typically polygons, polylines or points). Hence, one SOSI file may generate several Shapefiles, as individual geometries and object types are singled out and exported to separate Shapefile layers.

One of the files in the N500 package is named Arealdekke.sos. The file title is Norwegian for “land cover”. This SOSI file has a length of just over three million lines, and contains the polygons defining common features like “forest”, “open land”, “lake” and so on.

Copy sosicon to the same directory as the SOSI files, and run the following command to start extracting land cover geometry:

./sosicon -2shp Arealdekke.sos

The conversion will take a couple of minutes (just over 2 minutes on a Macbook Pro). Sosicon will produce 23 Shapefiles or layers:

Shapefile Feature Geometry type
Arealdekke_%C5pentOmr%E5de_FLATE.shp Open land Polygon
Arealdekke_Arealbrukgrense_KURVE.shp Land use boundary PolyLine
Arealdekke_Dataavgrensning_KURVE.shp Data delimitation PolyLine
Arealdekke_ElvBekkKant_KURVE.shp River/brook edge PolyLine
Arealdekke_ElvBekk_FLATE.shp River/brook Polygon
Arealdekke_ElvBekk_KURVE.shp River/brook PolyLine
Arealdekke_FiktivDelelinje_KURVE.shp Fictitious dividing line PolyLine
Arealdekke_Golfbane_PUNKT.shp Golf course Point
Arealdekke_HavElvSperre_KURVE.shp Sea/river delineation PolyLine
Arealdekke_Havflate_FLATE.shp Sea surface Polygon
Arealdekke_Industriomr%E5de_FLATE.shp Industrial area Polygon
Arealdekke_Industriomr%E5de_PUNKT.shp Industrial area Point
Arealdekke_Innsj%F8ElvSperre_KURVE.shp Lake/river barrier PolyLine
Arealdekke_Innsj%F8_FLATE.shp Lake Polygon
Arealdekke_Innsj%F8kant_KURVE.shp Lake edge PolyLine
Arealdekke_KantUtsnitt_KURVE.shp Edge view PolyLine
Arealdekke_Kystkontur_KURVE.shp Coastline PolyLine
Arealdekke_Lufthavn_PUNKT.shp Airport Point
Arealdekke_Myr_FLATE.shp Marsh Polygon
Arealdekke_Skog_FLATE.shp Forest Polygon
Arealdekke_Sn%F8Isbre_FLATE.shp Snow/glacier Polygon
Arealdekke_Steinbrudd_PUNKT.shp Stone quarry Point
Arealdekke_TettBebyggelse_FLATE.shp Developed area Polygon
Shapefiles exported from Arealdekke.sos as described, and imported in QGIS. All features are in individual layers, eliminating the need for extensive editing of the files beforehand. (Source: Statens Kartverk/Norwegian Mapping Authority)


A closer look at the same map. Some of the land cover features described above are included, but not all of them. (Source: Statens Kartverk/Norwegian Mapping Authority)

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