I see that you can download Ordnance Survey maps as ESRI Shape files, so I would like to take those and convert them into a .osm.pbf file so that I can more easily use them.

Are there any tools out there that do this? Or, sources of Ordnance Survey .osm.pbf files?

  • Pbf is mostly a data transfer format and seldom used directly except in vector tiles. Usually people make conversion FROM pbf into other formats with ogr2pgsql etc. What is your use case?
    – user30184
    Jul 1, 2016 at 21:47
  • Thanks. I realize what .pbf files are for. I use libosmscout to convert .osm.pbf files into different usable formats for quick viewing. And, since it only supports osm.pbf files, I wanted to see if there was a way to get Ordnance Survey files into that so I could convert them. Jul 1, 2016 at 21:50
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    So you want to convert Ordnance Survey shape files into OpenStreetMap pbf files just so you can convert them into some other format? If you tell us what the "different usable formats" are maybe there's a direct way of converting the Ordnance Survey shapes to that.
    – Spacedman
    Jul 2, 2016 at 7:54
  • @Spacedman - The "different usable formats" are the database and index files that libosmscout creates. They are specific to that tool, so that is why I am needing them to be in .osm.pbf because I use libosmscout in my projects. Jul 4, 2016 at 20:17
  • Have you tried the "conversion tools" listed here: wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Software_comparison/…
    – Spacedman
    Jul 5, 2016 at 7:20

1 Answer 1


You can have a look at the OSM wiki about Shapefiles and Converting_map_data_between_formats to get all known tools for converting shapefiles into raw OSM XML format or compressed binary PBF files.

  • You are seeing an option to convert to compressed binary PBF? I am not seeing that. Jul 7, 2016 at 17:37
  • Indeed ... on the last mentioned wiki page there is no link to the often used and popular wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Osmconvert ... this tool should do the job.
    – stephan75
    Jul 8, 2016 at 5:57
  • But it doesn't look like you can convert from ESRI Shape files. Jul 8, 2016 at 18:10
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    So you are looking for a tool that convers shapefiles directly to osm.pbf format? If yes, and there is not tool available for this, you can consider two ways: use raw osm.xml format as a between file format, or find out whether libosmscout can use osm.xml files next to compressd osm.pbf files. Success?
    – stephan75
    Jul 9, 2016 at 9:58
  • Correct. I need to convert shape files to osm.pbf. Jul 11, 2016 at 17:49

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