How to Download Building Footprints from Open Street Maps (OSM)

Sry Handini Puteri
3 min readJul 26, 2022

Many times we want to download the building footprints from one area. One of the options is the layer from Open Street Maps. Even thought not all areas are covered/has many building footprints, but it can be one of the way to collect data from openly sourced data.

Here are the steps:

  1. Open OSM website

Check out this OSM website.

Homepage of OpenStreetMaps

2. Type in the area/city in the left-top search box

3. There will be some options of the city name, choose one

In this instance, I am checking the data from My Tho City, Vietnam. The administrative boundary pops up to show the area

4. Click Export

5. Choose the covered area

There will be suggested coverage of the boundary. If the area is too big, there will be notification that will hinder you from downloading. If that happens, please manually select a different smaller area. Click export

Choose the area or manually select the area

After the Export button is clicked, then the browser will automatically download the file in the .osm format

6. Open the .osm file format in QGIS

Click Layer → Add layer → Add Vector Layer → Choose the Source of Vector Dataset (map.osm) → Add Layers

Open the layer in QGIS
Then this is the downloaded data

Then check out the attributes to ensure whether the data fulfill your needs or not.

Another Way is using QuickOSM Plugin

  1. Install the QuickOSM Plugin on your QGIS

Click Plugins → Manage and Install Plugins → Search for QuickOSM → Install

Install the QuickOSM Plugin
Then click “I understand the copyrights” to access the plugin

2. Proceed with the query

Find the data based on your needs
Type the key as the item that you’re looking for and the “In” bar to type in the area name



Sry Handini Puteri

Personal learning space ; A Geoenthusiast ; Interested in Disaster Risk Management