How can I download the sidewalks as a layer from OpenStreetMap (OSM)?

I exported an OSM map and opened it in QGIS. I see "map lines", "map multistrings". But I don't see sidewalks as a layer.


Sidewalks won't show up as a separate layer in OSM data. There is some discussion about the "proper" way to represent sidewalks. (As a side note, there is actually a project dedicated to fixing some of the issues with sidewalks in OSM, which you can find here.)

At any rate, there are several ways to pull sidewalk data from the data you have, or to specifically request it through one of the various OSM data-download tools out there.

  1. Under the field highway, filter by ="footway". Then look for the tag footway=sidewalk. If you're looking in the attribute table in QGIS, this will be in the field other_tags.
  2. For any street feature, look for the key sidewalk=*. While the sidewalk itself won't be spatially represented, the tag will indicate which side(s) of the road the sidewalk is on, and possibly even more detailed information about its condition, &c.

Check out OSM's wiki for more information about the sidewalk key, the footway=sidewalk tag, and sidewalks in general.

As Spacedman points out in his comment, sidewalk data is often incomplete at best. For example, in the neighborhood I live in, every street has sidewalks on both sides. In OSM, however, none of the sidewalks are represented as tagged footways or within street features. It's on my list, though. Unless you're very lucky (see Washington, D.C.), you may have to generate the data yourself.


One possibility: Go to overpassturbo.eu, zoom to your area of interest, use the wizard to build your request based on the OSM-designations, run it, the download the geojson file and load it into QGis.

Another one: Use the overpass-plugin for QGis to do the same.

Also: Interfaces are stupid. They do not know, what you downloaded, therefore they can not name it appropriately. You have to put in the context by renaming the layers correctly.

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