Albuquerque, New Mexico/Microsoft Buildings Import

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Import Microsoft's AI-generated buildings for Albuquerque, New Mexico, doing quality-assurance as we go and quality-control on a rolling basis after.


  • Planning: Winter 2018
  • Announce Import: In Progress
  • Import: Winter-Spring 2019
  • QA: Spring 2019


This page is intended to document plans for an upcoming import of Microsoft Building Footprint Data supplied under ODbL by Microsoft.

The import will be carried out by MAP|ABQ. MAP|ABQ aims to fill a gap in the availability of open map data in Albuquerque and around the world by contributing to OpenStreetMap. MAP|ABQ is for anyone interested in mapping, open data and open-source technology. MAP|ABQ is a space for people in Albuquerque to come together and learn new mapping skills or improve upon their existing knowledge. 

Mappers of all experience levels are welcome. The meetings are in an open format and allow a space for contributors to focus on adding to OpenStreetMap for Albuquerque surrounding areas. Occasionally MAP|ABQ will participate in larger mapathon events and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap (HOT) events to focus on specific contribution goals.  MAP|ABQ will follow the OSM import checklist to import buildings. MAP|ABQ use the following workflow process:

  1. Split Microsoft building data and existing OpenStreetMap building data in to block unit
  2. If a block already has OpenStreetMap building within it, mark the block and do not include in set.
  3. Group blocks with Microsoft building data (those which passed the test above) into Census Blockgroups
  4. Import block groups into OpenStreetMap

For more information, visit [1].

Import Data


Data source site: [2]
Data license: Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL) The building outlines were made available by Microsoft. See Microsoft Building Footprint Data for details.

Import Type

This will be a one time import. This is a community building based effort. There are currently no plans to script or automate this import.

Data Preparation

Tagging Plans

All buildings imported will be tagged as building = yes. Any additional tags will be individually added by the mapper, if known.

Changeset Tags

Edits will be marked with source = MapABQ Import

Data Transformation

  1. NewMexico.json is downloaded from Microsoft repository.
  2. Current Albuquerque building contributions are downloaded as GeoJSON from
  3. Albuquerque Census block data are downloaded from US Census data warehouse.

Python Script:

  1. Albuquerque Census blocks are checked for intersecting OSM buildings.
  2. Census Blocks that do not contain any current OSM buildings are intersected with Microsoft building footprints.
  3. Census blocks are grouped by census tract and saved in GeoJSON format.
  4. GeoJSON files are translated to .osm format using TODO tool.
  5. Census blocks that contain intersecting pre-existing OSM buildings may be revisited in a later import phase.

Data Merge Workflow

Team will use JOSM.

Team Approach

The work for this effort will be divided up into sections, with each section constituting a census block. Users will track their progress in the Github repository checklist here:[3]


Using JOSM, each volunteer will begin to work through the data for that census tract.

  • Local knowledge
  • Best available imagery
  • Existing OSM data


  1. Visit the Albuquerque Buildings Import Tracking Sheet on github repo: [4]
  2. [View] will take you to a a web map of that download file's census tract
  3. [Download] will download that census tract in .osm file format for use in JOSM
  4. Edit the status of the item you have downloaded and use Markdown syntax to indicate progress on that census tract. i.e. checking out that downloaded file so other team members know it is being worked on
  5. Once import of the census tract is complete, edit the status of the item you have completed so other team members know that census tract has been imported
  6. .osm file will already be tagged as building = yes for all building imports

Dedicated Import Account

Users will be expected to obtain a unique import account, for example, user Smithra2 will use Smithra2_Import.


  • If new building have been included into OSM data since the original download, the importers will check manually for overlapping building. The processing script will account for the majority of overlap issues.
  • Use Github repos for questions and to help others during the import.