Import/Commonwealth of Virginia Buildings

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This is a plan for the addition of building footprint data for the Commonwealth of Virginia. This effort builds on successful import projects completed last year and more recent assisted mapping projects in which address data has been prepared for mappers to add to OpenStreetMap via OSM editors (see Data Updates section below). For a list of other Esri-curated datasets that are available for mapping, please see Esri ArcGIS Datasets.


The goal of this effort is to add the Commonwealth of Virginia Buildings data to effectively complete the coverage of building footprints for the state, using authoritative data from the Commonwealth. This effort would greatly enhance the coverage of buildings for the state, while retaining the many buildings already added to OSM. The Virginia buildings also include address information that will be added as tags.


Data preparation was performed in January 2023. The edits to OSM would be performed incrementally by OSM mappers over the remainder of 2023 and beyond, starting after data is reviewed by the OSM community.


The source building footprints were downloaded from the VGIN Open Data Portal.

The processed building footprints are available to access on ArcGIS Online (see Commonwealth of Virginia Buildings). You can Open in Map Viewer to preview (click features to view tags) or sign in with an ArcGIS Online account to export data for offline use.

OSM ODbL Compliance: Yes, the Commonwealth of Virginia data is provided under public domain.

Data Preparation

The processed building footprints referenced above were created using these Esri Data Processing Steps for Buildings and Addresses, developed and refined while doing data prep for several city and county communities in the United States. Below are a couple notes specific to the Commonwealth of Virginia buildings data.

  • The processed building footprints data contains 4,322,356 buildings, many of which do not already existing as features in OSM.
  • The processed building footprints data includes address tags (i.e. housenumber, street, unit, city, county, state), as well as a building tag (with value of "yes" for all features).

Data Conflation

Existing building features in OSM will not be replaced. The plan is to perform the updates in phases. In the first phase, only new buildings that do not intersect existing buildings will be added. In future phases, existing OSM buildings may be updated to include additional address tags.

Data Updates

The plan is to perform the updates using a updated version of RapiD and an updated Map with AI plugin for JOSM (see Esri blog post on new tools in OSM editors for more detail). The new tools enable OSM mappers to access ArcGIS Datasets hosted in ArcGIS Online and select individual features to use while editing OSM. The mapper is able to select a feature, review and edit the feature geometry and available fields, and then save their edits.

The mapper has the benefit of using existing features that have been created by the data provider, along with their available field values that have been pre-processed by Esri, while also being able to compare that feature with existing OSM data (e.g. street names) and imagery to ensure it is accurate and consistent. The data source used for the edit will be added as a tag to each feature that is saved as part of a changeset unless deleted by mapper.


The plan is for OSM mappers to use their standard OSM accounts if they are editing with RapiD and JOSM editors for OSM and editing individual features. However, if OSM mappers wish to do any 'bulk' edits or imports where they do not examine individual features, then they should create and use new dedicated import accounts (e.g. <username>_<community>_import) for those changesets.