The objective is to get a set of all buildings of an OpenStreetMap section in form of single points in a shapefile.

  1. I downloaded the section from OSM.
  2. Imported the section into QGIS (and later imported it into a PostGIS db using osm2pgsql)
  3. To transform the polygons (representing buildings) into points I used the Polygon Centroids function

Unfortunately some of the buildings are represented by multiple polygons subsequently I did get multiple points for one building which I is not what I wanted.

Searching the web I found out that these polygons should be multipolygons but neither QGIS nor osm2pgsql does import these relations so that I could merge the polygons of a building

Any ideas how I could get single point list of the buildings?

2 Answers 2


You can create a very small buffer around your polygons and dissolve all, before creating the centroids.

This would also unite buildings that share a common wall.

  • In qgis >buffer with small distance and option "dissolve buffer results" left me with a shapefile of one element which isn't what I was looking for...
    – Johannes
    May 21, 2014 at 20:09
  • GRASS did do it: v.dissolve input=build output=test column=building
    – Johannes
    May 21, 2014 at 22:39
  • In QGIS, you can try Multipart to single part before creating the centroids.
    – AndreJ
    May 22, 2014 at 3:52

Used the OSM Download Plugin

Used your coordinates

downloaded the .osm

Loaded this in to QGIS

Extracted 'Building = Yes'

Used the Vector > Geometry Tools > Polygon Centroids

You can delete unwanted centroids or clean up the data before creating the centroids all data has attribution.

enter image description here

  • That is exactly the way I did it, but as I want to use this procedure later for other data I can't manually clean up before or after creating the centroids (too many buildings).
    – Johannes
    May 21, 2014 at 18:35

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