I am working with OSM maps in QGIS. I am looking for a way to extract a shapefile of roads, or buildings, from OSM so I will be able to edit them.

  • There are numerous techniques to get data out from the OSM database, and numerous techniques for dealing with it such that it ends up being in shapefile format. Presumably what you're looking for is the simplest? Jul 4, 2017 at 15:06

2 Answers 2


The QGIS plugin 'QuickOSM' is designed to make easy the extraction of data from the Openstreetmap database, bringing it directly into QGIS. You can then save this into whatever GIS format you choose.

You need to understand a bit about how Openstreetmap data is structured, and you need some understanding of the Overpass query language - but the plugin gives you examples to get started.

The basic idea is that this will enable you to query the database for particular content (e.g. buildings) - and to download this content only. Don't try to work with too large an area to begin with.

  • I tried the "QuickOSM' plugin. I think that the plugin I am using is easier but I will look into it once more Jul 4, 2017 at 15:14
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    From the screenshots you provided InaSAFE looks much simpler, so long as you want to download the specific categories of data which I see listed in the second image. QuickOSM will be more complex initially - but very much more flexible. It works with the Overpass system, making it possible to query Openstreetmap for a huge and complex variety of data. My comments are based entirely on the images - I've not used InaSAFE. As I indicated in a comment on the initial question, there are multiple different ways in which this problem can be solved. Each will have advantages and disadvantages. Jul 4, 2017 at 16:22

I have been looking into this topic and have found an OSM plugin that enables you to download this kind of data directly into QGIS.

This plugin is called InaSAFE

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After you download this plugin go to the download icon in the toolbar

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Click it and choose what kind of layer you need

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Once you click the "Drag on map" button all you have to do is to choose your area of interest

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Now you will have an OSM Shapefile that can be edit in a limited manner

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If you like to have more editing options you need to save these layers

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If you choose to do so you will have an Shapefile with the OSM data

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This layer can be edit like any regular Shapefile, so you can add or erase data what is impossible unless you save the OSM file.

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