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Virginia, United States
latitude: 37.43125, longitude: -78.6621
Browse Virginia map 37° 25′ 53″ N, 78° 39′ 44″ W
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Virginia is a state in the United States at latitude 37° 25′ 53″ North, longitude 78° 39′ 44″ West.


Welcome to the OpenStreetMap (OSM) wiki page for the Commonwealth of Virginia! This page is used to help organize efforts to map Virginia. If you're new to OSM please read the beginners' guide. If you have further questions, feel free to email the OSM US mailing list, or join the Facebook group for OSM Virginia.

User groups

There are two active user groups in Virginia, MappingDC (for northern Virginia) and Blacksburg. There is also a Facebook group for OSM Virginia, so please consider joining that group. It is undecided whether or not to create a separate mailing list for entire Commonwealth.


Here are some possible projects to undertake in Virginia, but please indicate on the talk page if you're starting work on any of these, and consider creating a project to help with organization and coordination:

  • Roads - check all roads for completeness, including presence of route relations, bridges/tunnels, correct junctions, tagged exits, etc.
  • Railroads
  • State parks
  • Power lines
  • Add your idea here!


There are many sources of orthoimagery available in Virginia, though availability and quality vary between municipalities. Bing is generally the best source, however depending on your needs there are superior sources. Below is an incomplete list of sources with significant to complete state coverage. Please see pages for your specific municipality to see if there is better imagery available.

Dataset Resolution Vintage Leaf Coverage JOSM WMS URL
Bing 1-3ft? 2006 to 2008 Varies, mostly on All of Virginia (vintage, resolution varies) N/A (Preconfigured in JOSM/Potlatch)
NAIP 1 m 2010 On All of Virginia [1]
0.5-2.0 ft 2002-02  ? All of Virginia (resolution varies)  ?
0.5 m 2006-03  ? Coastal Virginia

North Central South

0.5-1.0 ft 2006/2007 Off All of Virginia (at least 1-ft) Currently no WMS or tile server
0.25-1.0 ft 2009/2011 Off All of Virginia (at least 1-ft) Portions will be public domain in 2011 or 2012


William & Mary has some Virginia data at their Geospatial Archive Resource and Data Exchange Network.

Virginia Department of Transportation

Data from VDOT can be added/merged to OSM, per this statement. So far Interstate exit numbers have been obtained, but have not been merged (as of 2011-05-09).

Virginia Geographic Information Network

The Virginia Geographic Information Network (VGIN), managed by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA)), is responsible for coordinating development of geographic data for Virginia. VGIN hosts, a clearinghouse of GIS data, most of which are in the public domain. Data hosted on this site includes:

  • 2008 NAIP Imagery, 2007 Orthophotography Tile Index Grids, VBMP Virginia Road Centerlines (RCL), VBMP Virginia Railroads, NHD Virginia Hydrography, DCR Virginia County Boundaries, Virginia Polling Locations, and more

Virginia Base Mapping Program (VBMP)

The Virginia Base Mapping Program (VBMP) is a program managed by VGIN to create a base map of high resolution aerial imagery (orthoimagery) for the entire state.

2002 VBMP Orthoimagery

This public domain imagery from 2002 varies in resolution from 6-inches to 2-feet, and is leaf-off (taken after fall). Information about this imagery can be obtained from this site. The ArcGIS REST layer URL is, though only the 1' and 2' imagery is available, and available imagery suffers from compression artifacts.

2006/2007 VBMP Orthoimagery

This public domain imagery from 2006 and 2007 varies in resolution from 6-inches to 1-foot, and is leaf-off (taken after fall). Information about this imagery can be obtained from VGIN's webpage. The ArcGIS REST layer URL is, though only the 1' imagery is available, and suffers the same compression artifacts at the 2002 VBMP imagery. This is the latest, highest resolution public domain imagery available for the entire state.

2009 VBMP Orthoimagery

The 2009 imagery is available via VGIN's REST server; this page has details on the collection and the imagery. Three urban areas (Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Tidewater) were funded by NGA and USGS, and are now in the public domain. The only way to obtain this imagery is via a request to USGS or VGIN. The remainder of the imagery will enter the public domain at the beginning of 2012.

2011 VBMP Orthoimagery

The 2011 imagery was collected in early 2011, and is still being post-processed by the contractor (as of July 2011). More information can be obtained from this page on VGIN's site. Collection of urban areas (Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Tidewater) was again funded by NGA and USGS for 2011, and this imagery will be released to the public one year from the date the contractor delivers the imagery, likely in the fall of 2012. The remainder will enter the public domain some time after that.


The VBMP imagery is available via the ArcGIS REST API, which JOSM does not support. Imagery is available via two methods, a tile cache and dynamic map generation. The tile cache is best suited for use in JOSM, though a plugin must be created to allow TMS-like access. The imagery uses Lambert_Conformal_Conic_Virginia projection coordinate system, which is not registered with EPSG but does have an entry on, SR-ORG:6639.

Tiles are accessed via a URL such as: where the URL ends with /{level}/{y-tile}/{x-tile}. However we cannot use the TMS functionality of JOSM because of the different projection.

The proj.4 string is "+proj=lcc +lat_1=37.0 +lat_2=39.5 +lat_0=36.0 +lon_0=-79.5 +x_0=0 +y_0=0 +ellps=GRS80 +to_meter=1.0".

Several new tools exist like the ArcGIS Level Fixer which allow ArcGIS Rest URLs to be consumed as a custom image source within the iD Editor.


There are quite a number of data layers provided via ArcGIS REST API. Explore them here and add any useful layers you find back here.

Virginia Economic Development Partnership

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership has a number of Shapefiles, containing correctional facilities, fire and rescue stations, hospitals, power generation facilities, schools, and much more. Data can be downloaded here. Update: per 2011/06/13 email conversation, and metadata, all data have no usage constraints, and are essentially in the public domain).

mutantmonkey imported the correctional facilities on 2012-01-09. [2]

Other sources to investigate

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Virginia has a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) like the Federal government and many other states have. The full text can be read here. Geographic information systems (GIS) are specifically mentioned:

The public body may also make a reasonable charge for the cost incurred in supplying records produced from a geographic information system at the request of anyone other than the owner of the land that is the subject of the request. However, such charges shall not exceed the actual cost to the public body in supplying such records, except that the public body may charge, on a pro rata per acre basis, for the cost of creating topographical maps developed by the public body, for such maps or portions thereof, which encompass a contiguous area greater than 50 acres.[1]

Senate Bill 182 (Blevins, 2004) was introduced to prevent GIS data being subject to FOIA requests. It was referred to the Virginia FOIA Advisory Council for review, which established a GIS Subcommittee [2]. Further meetings [3] [4] [5] yielded discussion yet no decisions.

However, the bills funding the Virginia Base Mapping Program from at least 2006 state:

All digital orthophotography, Digital Terrain Models and ancillary data produced by the VBMP, but not including digital road centerline files, shall be the property of the Commonwealth of Virginia and administered by VGIN. The VGIN, or its counterpart, will be responsible for protecting the data through appropriate license agreements and establishing appropriate terms, conditions, charges and any limitations on use of the data. VGIN will license the data at no charge (other than media / transfer costs) to Virginia governmental entities or their agents. Such data shall not be subject to release by such entities under the Freedom of Information Act or similar laws.[6] (emphasis added)

There are a few conclusions that can be drawn from these sources. If a municipality purchases products through VBMP, then that data is probably protected from FOIA requests. However, if a municipality produces its own data from VBMP products (such as orthoimagery), then that data would not be protected from FOIA requests. For example, Fairfax County sells planimetric data such as building outlines. If this data was purchased through VBMP, it is protected because of the special provision in the bill funding VBMP. If this is not the case, then presumably it is not protected and can be obtained via a FOIA request. This theory has yet to be tested however.

GIS Imports



  1. Title 2.2-3704 para. F, Code of Virginia
  2. March 29, 2004 meeting notes of Virginia FOIA Advisory Council
  3. June 9, 2004 meeting notes of Virginia FOIA Advisory Council
  4. July 13, 2004 meeting notes of Virginia FOIA Advisory Council
  5. September 16, 2004 meeting notes of Virginia FOIA Advisory Council
  6. Title 2.2, Chapter 20.1, Code of Virginia.


External Links