DC Buildings & Addresses Import

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To add about 66,000 new building footprints and their associated address data to the OSM in Washington, DC. Data is divided up by Census Block Group. Generally these 66,000 new buildings are located in the central and eastern parts of Washington, DC.

Spatially, this import picks up where the last one left off. See Washington_DC/DCGIS_imports.

ToDo: What types of buildings are being imported?


  • Review Proposal - Until July 14th.
  • Do work July 15th till complete. Provide updates to the OSM community on progress.
  • Review of the outcome of work.


Community Support

imports: yes imports-us: no talk-us: unknown mappingdc: yes


Terms of Use: These data is available for public use. The only constraint with regards to OSM usage is that it is attributed to DC GIS.

That permission was given pre-ODbL license change and 6 years ago. New permission is required. And here it is... DC_Buildings_&_Addresses_Import/Permission.


A second record (Washington DC GIS Part 2 ) was added to the Import/Catalogue.

Here's a link to DC in the list of Potential Datasources

Data Preparation

Scripts used for conversion are on github: https://github.com/osmlab/dcbuildings

ToDo: Document the version of the software used.

In short:

  • Shapefile data is broken up into census block chunks
  • If a single address point exists on a building, the address tags are applied to the building and the address point is removed.
  • Each chunks is converted to OSM xml and the file is named with block id number, which corresponds with the block number in the tasking manager.
  • example: https://s3.amazonaws.com/osm_us_backup/imports/dc/buildings-addresses-449.osm


  • addr:housenumber = ADDRNUM
  • addr:street = STNAME + STREET_TYP + QUADRANT (quadrant expanded from NE, SE, SW, NW)
  • addr:postcode = ZIPCODE
  • building = yes (only on buildings)
  • building:levels = FLOORS
  • dcgis:gis_id = GIS_ID


Using the OSM Task Manager (http://tasks.openstreetmap.us/job/6). There are 450 Task Areas which correspond to the 450 Census Block Groups in DC.

A test area of a few Task Areas will be completed and shared with the OSM Import Email list for further feedback.

Each area is to be reviewed individually via JOSM.

User checks out 1 area (of 450) via OSM Task Manager Appropriate edits are made in JOSM. (see below) Address validation warnings and errors Uploaded data back into OSM.via JOSM

Appropriate edits in JOSM Environment:

  • Remove Overlapping features (such as duplicate buildings).
  • Features which should have shared nodes, but which do not.
  • Check a few features to see that appropriate tags (such as address) have been created.
  • Inappropriate Multipolygons being created. (saw this issue with regards to rowhouses with voids between them)

Almost all of the existing building footprints in Washington, DC are from the same dataset which is being used during this import process.

Work will be performed primarily by DC GIS employees which includes paid summer interns. No paid contracts specifically for this import project have been issued or will be issued.

User accounts

In compliance with Import Guidelines use a separate a user account separate from your regular user account specifically for this import. The user name must follow this pattern: <regularusername>_dcbuildingsaddresses So if your user name is eleanor, your import user name should be: eleanor_dcbuildingsaddresses

Much of this plan is based on a previous proposal for Washington, DC: (https://github.com/osmlab/dcbuildings/blob/master/PROPOSAL.md). Also the wiki document http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Import/Guidelines has been reviewed.

Import Issues


For about 115 changesets (about 1 census block group per changeset), there was no validation performed in JOSM. After discussion with MappingDC community and advice from Alex B. we decided to validate and conflate features during the Task Manager validation phase. Brian, Brandon, Steven, and Alex will be performing this phase.

Reference U.S. Imports

Learn about previous imports here:

Lessons Learned

  • We should have had practice imports. The first import by each person should have been scrutinezed. And the importer will then get a "go / no go" to continue importing.