I'm working on a project where the roads system information is essential. The targeted is an African country, namely Nigeria, therefore the data source is quite scarce. The only possible source I was provided with is Planet OSM. I have only used ArcGIS and have never worked with OSM before. I've been reading the wiki and documentation on OSM, but I've been confounded and overwhelmed by the amount of information on the topic and not found a good way to proceed.

I tried to export the entire country directly from OSM, but the size is too large. And on Planet OSM, I can't seem to find files just for Nigeria.

Is there a way to do it without downloading the file for the whole planet?

Since I haven't actually figured out a way to download the data. I'm wondering if you can distinguish between land use/land cover features in an OSM file. In my case, that would be: how to get the road data/map.

And I see that the file format of OSM data is either XML or PBF.

How to convert and use them in ArcGIS then?

2 Answers 2


download.geofabrik.de is a good data source for Open Street Map data (they are extracts from the OSM data). Within nigeria-latest-free.shp.zip (from http://download.geofabrik.de/africa/nigeria.html), there is a roads shapefile gis_osm_roads_free_1.shp. Example output:

enter image description here

  • Holy cow! This is exactly what I needed! Thank you so much. I will just use this for my further analysis. Thanks again
    – Bowen Liu
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 19:27

Best one I've found to download osm shapefiles by dataset and region: http://osm2shp.ru/

enter image description here

  • Thanks. I'm downloading it. Somehow it's very slow. I guess it's due to the server.
    – Bowen Liu
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 19:00
  • Cool. If my answer is helpful please accept or upvote so others can find it.
    – jbalk
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 19:07

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