qGIS makes it really straightforward to import data from Open Street Map (there's a good tutorial here). However, despite this process is relatively straightforward, it takes some time to download the data, convert it, select the desired attributes to import, and then make queries to save a new layer.

Since I am working on a project that will take some time to develop, I am concerned about having to repeat steps or losing data if I have to make new queries from OSM to add new data. Do you know if there's any way to automate this process as much as possible.

Let's imagine that I have already downloaded OSM data, created several layers (with their corresponding attributes) and I spend some more time doing started doing some extra work (for example a heatmap). Now Imagine that I want to do the same with a more up-to-date version of OSM which will have more features. If I am not wrong I will have to repeat everything and it will be like starting from scratch. Do you know any way to just update all the layers without having to delete them and start over again? (I was wondering if there's any way to automate the process or create "smart" layers which query an specific layer or any way to update the original database)

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    I'm not able to answer the question directly but the following seems worth asking... There are numerous methods to get OSM data into QGIS - am I right that you're asking specifically about the process in which QGIS is used to download an area of data and then create a spatialite database for this? And have you considered alternate methods for getting the OSM data - the Quick OSM plugin for example would make it easy to directly query OSM to get hold of just the data you want. This can be saved as a simple shapefile, which might perhaps make updates more trivial (save new file over old file)? Mar 11, 2015 at 21:00

2 Answers 2


Not that I'm aware of (although there may be some ways to automate the steps in that tutorial with a python script). If you wanted to go really high-tech (with a corresponding increase in the setup time) then you could setup a postgis database of the area you are interested in (with the tags you are interested in) using something like Osmosis or imposm and then apply daily, hourly or minutely diffs for it so that your database is kept up to date. This is quite a lot of work and a lot of data though, and it doesn't look like this would be worth it, unless you have to repeat the process above hundreds of times.


If you using QuickOSM you could try to put your customization work into a map preset https://docs.3liz.org/QuickOSM/user-guide/map-preset/

When running the preset all the layers can be automatically created, styled and so on.

It would be also great if you would share the map-preset or parts of it with the community, it if is useful for others and not proprietary.

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