I am interested in the number of buildings found within each protected area in Africa. I have a protected area layer (WGS84) that I am using. The amount of data per protected area will be very small, most likely less than 200 nodes per protected area.

However, I cannot find a GIS tool (either QGIS or ArcGIS) that will allow me to download OSM data for multiple polygons from a vector layer at once, despite the data being very small. I did see that ArcGIS has an option under the OSM editor “Extent of data download” dropbox for intersection or union of inputs but these do not seem to work.

  • Does it need to be directly downloaded from OSM?
    – hannbroo
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 23:45
  • I doubt that work but you may try to transform your multiple polygons to one multipart polygon
    – J.R
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 16:13

3 Answers 3


I use this plug-in in QGIS to download OSM data: OSMDownloader. I don't know if it satisfies your requirements.


There is currently no direct way of downloading in qgis. the hot export tool has the option to upload a geojson file and download data from it.

  • Thanks for the link but that tool still does not allow for more than one polygon's data to be exported at once.
    – Kevin
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 11:54

Here is a more recent option. You could use Geofabrik to download data (e.g. buildings) from your area of interest in *.shp (shapefile) format. It comes directly from OSM. Then just open the file in QGIS.


If you need shapefiles for your GIS applications or processes, look no further. Geofabrik produces shapefiles of all kinds. A number of simple shapefiles are available for free on our download server at http://download.geofabrik.de.

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