I am using the OpenStreetmap Plugin for QGIS to download the information for my university extent.

The information as I see is downloaded in vector format divided into Points, polygons and lines...

I want to confirm whether this corresponds to all the elements of Open street map within that area with all associated tags or does it exclude something that the maps contain ?

2 Answers 2


Yes (almost), QGIS plugin will download everything available from the OpenSreetMap server. The raw data is convert into a default attribute table. All attributes that don't fit into the standard column are listed in the 'Tags' column.


1.There is a limit on the length of the string in the tags column (80 charaters). Sometimes if there lots of tags or very long tags, some information will be lost.

  1. The relations e.g. bus routes are not exported.

Import OSM into a database to get around these problems. See How to overcome field truncation when converting OSM to shapefile with QGIS?

  • I'd say yes, too. If you want to check this load all of your OSM vector data and then use the OpenLayers plug-in to add an OSM background map. This is quite handy, because you can then query the vectors using the info tool to see how they are tagged. N.
    – nhopton
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 7:53

I guess you are mentioning the OSM plugin. The openlayer plugin(s) adds a raster (tile-based) image, a map based on OSM data. The OSM plugin is easy to use, but as some limitations. I have listed some of them here: http://hub.qgis.org/projects/quantum-gis/wiki/Using_OpenStreetMap_data

Which led me to build my own tool (described along with other ones, with a video), then add some C++ code in QGIS, then develop my own tiles (outdoormaps dot org website), all of this with QGIS.

This is significantly harder to use and configure than the plugin. However, it is meant for Quantum GIS as well and works well even for large dataset, and really keep all data (all tags, tries to keep some buggy geometries).

If you really want something easier, you can also try the daily shapefiles made by cloudmade or geofabrik (but with less data and more problems).

Hope this helps, Mayeul

(stackexchange.com anti-spam policy prevents me from putting more links).

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