I have a project that requires the polygon files of a large lake in the United States.

I found Lake Michigan in QGIS with the osmSearch plugin.

enter image description here

I did not find a way to download this data as a vector or raster file.

Can anyone help with this?

  • Within the US, a lot of GIS data is available for free from the US Geological Survey. Access it here: viewer.nationalmap.gov/basic
    – csk
    Aug 11, 2017 at 16:26

4 Answers 4


I have spent few hours and find a way to download a data from OSM into Qgis:

1) You need to have the "OSM place search" pluginenter image description here

2)You need to add this plugin in the panel enter image description here

3)Search the item you need in the search bar enter image description here

4) After you double click one the result it will appear enter image description here

5)Add the item as a layer into your map enter image description here

6)make sure to use the right CRS enter image description here

7) Export the new layer as a file enter image description here

If you cannot find this plugin you need to go to the "setting" in the plugin and enable the experimental plugin setting enter image description here

  • About step 6 "make sure to use the right CRS". Have QGIS version 3.4.10-Madeira. The only projection actually working is EPSG:3857 (web mercator). Nor sure if it is a bug but when projecting in any other EPSG my new created scratch layer geometry is empty.
    – Camilo
    Oct 1, 2019 at 16:03

Using overpass-turbo:

  1. Go to overpass-turbo.eu
  2. Move the map to the place you're looking for
  3. Type your search query: relation["name"="Lake Michigan"]({{bbox}});
  4. Export as e.g. GeoJSON

enter image description here


You can use OSMInfo QGIS plugin

enter image description here

Small description and video.


It's also possible to use one of this two similar plugins: OSMDownloader InaSAFE. This two plugin are enabling to download a line and polygon layers form relatively small area. This two plugins are useful in an urban area and they provide an accurate line layer of street or polygon layer of buildings.

Take for example the city of New York: by clicking the download bottom this window will open. enter image description here Now you need to mark your area of interest. enter image description here Once finishing this step you will have a layer of streets that you can work with.enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.