I need to display the heights of the buildings from a given map using QGIS.

I do have OS vector map district data from ordnance survey (https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/) web site that is supposed to contain the heights of the buildings. When I load the data to QGIS, I can see the blocks of the buildings in 2D, but could not find their heights.

I have two attributes, the ID and the feetcode, but the feetcode is the same for all IDs, does it mean that my data does not include heights?

There is actually another file named "TL_SpotHeight.shp", when I open its attribute table I can find an attribute that is called "Height". The problem is the ID and Featcode (it's actually "featcode" non "feetcode", sorry for confusing the words) are all different from the ID and Featcode of TL_Building.shp.

  • 4
    Can you check the attribute table to see if the height is an attribute? Right click the layer and select attribute table. Oct 22, 2017 at 22:28
  • I have two attributes, the ID and the feetcode, but the feetcode is the same for all IDs, does it mean that my data does not include heights??? Thank you a lot for your help. Oct 23, 2017 at 7:50
  • @HajarElhammouti what's the extension of your dataset ? if it's meant for QGIS ( or any 2D GIS software) it should contain a field with Height value in the attribute table Oct 23, 2017 at 8:12
  • The maps I load have a .shp extension, and it loads correctly on QGIS. Do I need to look for an other extension? Thank you very much. Oct 23, 2017 at 9:01
  • Which os dataset are you using? Oct 23, 2017 at 10:49

1 Answer 1


Ordnance Survey publishes Building Height data for the OS MasterMap Topography (OSMM Topo) layer only. OSMM Topo is a premium layer and not available under the OpenData agreement.

There is currently no building height dataset published by OS (or by other parties to my knowledge) that can be linked directly to the generalised offerings available under the OpenData agreement. This includes OS VectorMap District and OS OpenMap Local.

The elevation of a building (that is where the base of the building sits) can be derived through use of the OS Terrain 50 Digital Terrain Model, but this does not allow you to interpolate the height of the actual building.

A further approach could be the use of Environment Agency Lidar data which is available as OpenData but requires extensive processing to use effectively.

It is worth noting that the OpenData datasets offered by OS are all generalised from the large scale data holdings and as such (taking inner city london as an example) you would potentially end up with a single building polygon covering a "(very )tall" building and an adjacent "short" building in one.

The "SpotHeight" layer includes points within the overall extent of the tile that have been surveyed to a specific vertical accuracy. As an example of their use spot heights are shown on some paper mapping products as dots with the height value next to them. They are independent of other geographical features shown in the data though often coincide with hill tops, crests in the road or significant dips in the land.

Your Answer

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

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