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(NL) The National Guide Signing Service and open data


J N Winkler:
In the Netherlands, a central government agency called the Nationale Bewegwijzeringsdienst (Google translation) (NBd; in American English roughly "National Guide Signing Service") has had responsibility for guide signing across the country since 2015.  It has put its signing database online as part of an open-data initiative:

NBd open-data page

Entry for NBd dataset on Dutch government's open-data portal

Entry page for the signing database

There is a tremendous amount of information here.  A couple of indexes are available at the last link:  file KP.txt lists intersections (including motorway exits) and file WW.txt lists the signs at each intersection.  For each intersection there is generally a key plan that gives numbers for the signs used at that intersection (as well as numbers for any adjacent intersections) and then a sketch for each individual sign.  The sign sketches are in full color and most (not all) of the ones I have seen are pattern-accurate, down to use of the widely disliked ANWB typefaces on signs that have them.  The individual files are PNGs around 500 KB in size.

Taking KP 00083 (N235/N247 intersection in North Holland, near Amsterdam) as an example:

StreetView of approach, showing signs 1, 2, and 3 on overhead signbridge

KP 00083 page in dataset

Given that there are about 34,000 intersections and 180,000 numbered signs, I estimate the total size of the database at about 110 GB.

This is easily the biggest signing inventory that has been placed online on open public access anywhere--much bigger than NCDOT's photo inventory of overhead freeway guide signs, for instance--though many other agencies log signs by intersection when building sign databases for their internal use.

Road enthusiasts in the Netherlands track the main index page and sort them by date:

That way you can see all the new signs that will be installed. Some may not be installed in the field until a couple of months later.

The NBd files also include bicycle signage.

J N Winkler:

--- Quote from: Chris on July 16, 2021, 08:44:33 AM ---Road enthusiasts in the Netherlands track the main index page and sort them by date:
--- End quote ---

Is there a reason that folder is more likely to have updated signs?  Has it been observed whether new signs receive new numbers, or are files for existing signs simply overwritten when they are replaced under the same numbers?

(I'm tempted to write a script to try to download the entire database and then monitor it for changes to filesize and timestamp.  But 34,000 intersection folders and potentially 180,000 sign files creates issues of scale.)

--- Quote from: Chris on July 16, 2021, 08:44:33 AM ---The NBd files also include bicycle signage.
--- End quote ---

Here's an example of a padstool, a form of Dutch signing distinctive enough to have its own article in English Wikipedia.

The padstool is unofficially being phased out. They're still refurbished but I don't think they're installed brand new anymore.

New bicycle signage is usually mast signage like this:

N354 Brug Spannenburg 45 by European Roads, on Flickr

Mast signage for bicycles is not new though, it already co-existed with the padstools. I think this one probably dates back to the 1980s or before.

N340 Hessenpoort Zwolle 29-05-2021 17 by European Roads, on Flickr


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