I am trying to read in an OSM file with OGR.

import ogr
driverOSM = ogr.GetDriverByName('OSM')
roadsDs = driverOSM.Open('data/map.osm', 0)
roadsLayer = roadsDs.GetLayer()

The feature count returns -1

print roadsLayer.GetFeatureCount()

When I loop over the features only points are returned, eventhough I know there are ways too (tested the data in QGIS).

featureStand = roadsLayer.GetNextFeature()
while featureStand:
  geomStand = featureStand.GetGeometryRef()
  print geomStand
  featureStand = roadsLayer.GetNextFeature()

Can anybody reproduce that or sees what I am doing wrong?

Python 2.7.5, GDAL 1.10.1, did not modify osmconf.ini

  • 1
    -1 means feature count not known
    – Mike T
    Oct 24, 2013 at 20:32
  • @MikeToews, that makes sense. Still wondering why I GetGeometryRef only finds points.
    – ustroetz
    Oct 24, 2013 at 20:47
  • 1
    There are other geometry types, but they are under different layers. Try roadsLayer.GetLayerCount() or possibly roadsDs.GetLayer(3) and you will see other geometry types.
    – Mike T
    Oct 24, 2013 at 22:04
  • That's interesting! roadsLayer.GetLayerCount() acutally gives me five layers. GetLayer(0) has the points and GetLayer(1) has the ways. Since I just used GetLayer() it chooesed the first layer (0) which are the points. Thanks @MikeToews! Do you want to post it as an answer?
    – ustroetz
    Oct 24, 2013 at 22:15

1 Answer 1


An OSM file according to OGR contains five layers, one for each category:

  1. points : "node" features that have significant tags attached.
  2. lines : "way" features that are recognized as non-area.
  3. multilinestrings : "relation" features that form a multilinestring(type = 'multilinestring' or type = 'route').
  4. multipolygons : "relation" features that form a multipolygon (type = 'multipolygon' or type = 'boundary'), and "way" features that are recognized as area.
  5. other_relations : "relation" features that do not belong to the above 2 layers.

The GetLayer() function actually takes a base-0 argument, so for the second layer, lines:

roadsLayer = roadsDs.GetLayer(1)
print(roadsLayer.GetName())  # lines

Although it isn't documented, it appears this driver is unable to get the feature count from a flat file, as -1 means feature count not known. Using a while-loop is probably the best way to go through the elements of each layer, as you have discovered.

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