I was wondering if there are some free projects which enable extracting the building height information from openstreetmap data?

I downloaded data for a couple of large cities (Manhattan island, Munich...) and none of them contained the height information.

I googled a bit and found a project where Lidar point clouds have been overlayed on top of openstreetmap data, and then the height of the building rooftops have been identified by checking the point's Z coordinates.

Are there any other free projects which enable defining the height of the buildings of openstreetmap data? At least for world's major (largest) cities?


The height of a building is difficult to obtain except when having official data. But the number of building levels is easy to obtain by just looking at the building. Maybe building:levels is sufficient for your use-case? Also see simple 3D buildings for various other interesting information regarding 3D tagging.

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    You are probably doing something wrong. Where do you get your data from exactly? Unfortunately I'm not familiar with QGIS. The building:levels key is only present on a subset of buildings of course. But I wouldn't call it rare. According to taginfo the OSM database contains this key currently 7 million times. See this example for Munich. – scai Jul 21 '16 at 17:47
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    Just follow the overpass-turbo link from my first comment, go to "Export" and download the raw data. This is an XML file containing lots of building:levels keys. See Overpass API in the OSM wiki to learn more about this API. – scai Jul 22 '16 at 6:42
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    Yes. overpass-turbo is just a frontend to Overpass API. Simply create an Overpass API query for the data your are interested in. See the examples from the language guide. You can specify a bbox or create even more advanced queries where you can specify a specific city boundary and similar things. – scai Jul 22 '16 at 10:53
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    No, because you don't have to use overpass-turbo at all. Clicking on the export button just converts the overpass-turbo query into an Overpass API query (which is essentially the same with only very few exceptions). See the "raw data" link from one of my previous comments, it calls Overpass API directly. Just build your query, optionally test it with overpass-turbo, then run it on Overpass API. No clicking involved if you don't want to :) – scai Jul 22 '16 at 12:16
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    Yes, this file is a valid OSM XML file. Note that Overpass API also supports JSON and CSV output. – scai Jul 22 '16 at 13:38

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