My objective is to create map of San Francisco, specifically [-122.5145, 37.8092, -122.3716, 37.7085].

Using my (older, 1.8) version of qgis and the open layers plugin, I can find the San Francisco area. I simply wish to export the area bounded by the lat/lon coordinates above to an image file!

Its worth noting that on the openstreetmap site, I'm able to export the bounding box (via the Overpass API only), but the file is nearly 400MB.

Clicking the share icon on openstreetmap does allow me to download an image file. This is exactly what I am trying to do. HOWEVER, clicking on the manual selection box only allows the user to draw the area. I cannot manually specify the bounding box coordinates as I can when exporting the .osm file.

How can I get only the data within the bounding box ?

3 Answers 3


If you add the QuickMapServices plugin (I think it is automatically installed, but you may have to enable it under plugins), you can then go to the web->quickmapservices menu and select which sort of map you want.

Zoom into San Francisco and you will see your map. You can use another handy plugin Copy Canvas to Clipboard (you will have to install that) to copy the map to the graphics/word processing package of your choice and print from there.

enter image description here

Or use the QGIS print composer to generate an more complex map with scale bars, North arrows, titles etc but that is covered by other question and answers here.

  • 2
    QuickMapServices is not automatically installed, but very useful indeed.
    – AndreJ
    Mar 20, 2017 at 19:48

You can also consider to use other tools than QGIS ... then you can find a selection of webservices to your needs in the OSM wiki about OSM on Paper

Output formats from several platforms can be bitmap files derived from tiles, but maybe in different stylings than the styles on osm.org,

or choose vector graphics as output formats.


I found Mapzen's Metro Extracts to be really helpful and easy for this. They have a bunch of predefined areas (like San Francisco) but you can also specify a custom bounding box. They save that bounding box so it's just a simple click to get it again in 6 months or whatever. I think they also offer the data in either .osm XML or the compressed binary format to help with your file size


(And I am not in any way affiliated with mapzen)

  • Just realized the OP wanted just the map image, not underlying data. Leaving answer b/c I suspect it might come up in search engines for people wanting the data
    – wmebane
    Mar 21, 2017 at 23:12

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