How Do I Get OpenStreetMap Data in Shapefile Type?


Scott Campbell

OpenStreetMap is a powerful open-source mapping platform that allows users to access and contribute to a wealth of geographic data. While OpenStreetMap provides various data formats for download, such as XML and CSV, many GIS professionals prefer to work with Shapefile, a widely-used geospatial vector data format.

Why Shapefile?

Shapefile is a popular choice among GIS users due to its compatibility with most GIS software and its ability to store both geometry and attribute data. It consists of multiple files that collectively represent a single spatial dataset.

Getting OpenStreetMap Data

To obtain OpenStreetMap data in Shapefile format, you can follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Visit the OpenStreetMap website at
  • Step 2: Use the search bar on the homepage to locate the area for which you want to download the data. You can search by place name, address, or coordinates.
  • Step 3: Once you have found the desired location on the map, click on the “Export” button located on the top toolbar.
  • Step 4: In the export panel that appears on the left side of the screen, select “Shapefile” as the export format.
  • Step 5: Adjust any additional settings you require, such as selecting specific map features or choosing a custom coordinate reference system (CRS).
  • Step 6: Click on the “Export” button to start downloading your selected area in Shapefile format.

Alternative Methods

If you prefer using third-party tools or APIs to retrieve OpenStreetMap data, there are several options available:

  • Overpass API: Overpass API allows you to query OpenStreetMap data and download it in various formats, including Shapefile. It provides advanced querying capabilities for extracting specific features or areas of interest.
  • Geofabrik: Geofabrik is a popular source for downloading pre-extracted OpenStreetMap data in Shapefile format.

    They offer regional extracts for different countries and continents, making it convenient for large-scale projects.

  • QGIS Plugin: QGIS, a widely-used open-source GIS software, offers a plugin called “QuickOSM” that enables you to access and download OpenStreetMap data directly within the QGIS interface. The downloaded data can be saved in Shapefile format.

In Conclusion

In this tutorial, we explored how to obtain OpenStreetMap data in Shapefile format. Whether you choose to download directly from the OpenStreetMap website or utilize third-party tools, having the data in Shapefile format allows for seamless integration into your GIS workflows.

Remember to credit OpenStreetMap when using their data and adhere to their licensing terms. Happy mapping!

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