Are there any sources for free and distributable building footprint datasets for major cities around the United States?

Ideally, the data would also have the number of stories of each building; is that available as well?

I'll give you an idea of what I'd like to do: I want to estimate population within an area of a map based on building square-footage and day/night population densities.


5 Answers 5


Yes, Boston has some publicly available here for the metro area. This is just the building form, but there are some other shapefiles from the local authorities in this region that have number of floors (for Cambridge, Boston and Sommerville I believe). Using average floor heights you can also estimate it.


Chicago: http://data.cityofchicago.org/Government/Boundaries-Buildings/w2v3-isjw

Seattle: http://data.seattle.gov/dataset/2009-Building-Outlines/y7u8-vad7

Bellingham: http://www.cob.org/services/maps/gis/index.aspx

Bloomington: http://bloomington.in.gov/documents/viewDocument.php?document_id=1870

Spokane: http://www.spokanecity.org/services/gis/data/

Kitsap County: http://www.kitsapgov.com/gis/metadata/

  • Looks great! Exactly what I'm looking for. Hopefully soon I'll be up to 15 rep so I can upvote you! Sep 20, 2010 at 23:03
  • I find it interesting that the original post is looking for nation-wide data and this answer that only points to data for one city gets all six up votes. The other answer includes the same data for Boston and data for several other cities.
    – DavidF
    Sep 27, 2010 at 14:21
  • Your link for Boston is broken.
    – Ruslan
    Oct 10, 2017 at 15:40

Microsoft just open sourced 124,885,597 million computer generated building footprints in all 50 US states


  • Amazing dataset!
    – Aaron
    Jun 29, 2018 at 5:10

If you are looking for more cities that just Boston, you should check out OpenStreetMap. http://www.openstreetmap.org/

People have been adding building outlines for many cities, some are better than others. People continue to add buildings individually, and sometimes complete cities are added when the data license from the administrative body is compatible with the license for OSM.

The data is free, and you would be able to distribute it under the CC-BY-SA license (Creative Commons, with attribution, Share Alike). Even better, as you and others improve the buildings data, you will always have access to the latest and most improved data.)

Boston: http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=42.3687&lon=-71.08189&zoom=16&layers=M

Minneapolis: http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=44.97819&lon=-93.26105&zoom=15&layers=M

Washington DC: http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=38.89763&lon=-77.03236&zoom=15&layers=M

Not as good:

San Francisco: http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=37.7792&lon=-122.3935&zoom=14&layers=M

New York City: http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=40.71209&lon=-74.00249&zoom=15&layers=M


San Francisco - https://data.sfgov.org/Facilities-and-Structures/Building-Footprints-Zipped-Shapefile-Format-/jezr-5bxm


Some cities have a GIS department. City of Austin data (including footprints) is here:


  • Your link is expired.
    – Aaron
    Jun 29, 2018 at 5:10

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