Import/San Diego County, California Buildings

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This is a plan for the addition of building footprint with address data for San Diego County, California. This effort is building on previous imports that were successfully completed earlier this year for the City of Redlands, California and City of Flagstaff, Arizona, using data preparation procedures developed for those efforts and refined based on OSM community feedback, with a different process for mappers to add the features to OSM (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 San Diego County, California Buildings data to effectively complete the coverage of building footprints for the County, using authoritative data from the County. OSM currently has partial coverage (less than 100,000) of the 750,000+ buildings in the County. This effort would greatly enhance the coverage of buildings for the county, while retaining the many buildings already added to OSM. The San Diego County buildings also include full address information that will be added as tags. In a future phase, we will plan to update existing buildings to include additional address tags where needed.


Data preparation was performed in June 2020. The edits to OSM would likely be performed incrementally over the remainder of 2020, starting no sooner than mid-July.


The source building footprints were downloaded in June 2020 from the SanGIS Regional Data Warehouse.

The processed building footprints are available to access on ArcGIS Online (see San Diego County, CA Buildings).

OSM ODbL Compliance: Yes, explicit permission to integrate data with OpenStreetMap given by SanGIS and representatives from City and County of San Diego.

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 San Diego County buildings data.

  • The processed building footprints data contains 1,097,208 buildings, of which 1,014,089 buildings did not intersect an existing building in OSM at the time of final data prep and have been made available through the layer to add to OSM.
  • The processed building footprints data includes address tags (i.e. housenumber, street, unit, city, state, postcode) as well as a building tag (with value of "yes" only).

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 downloaded and updated to include additional address tags.

Data Updates

The plan is to perform the initial phase of 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 will enable OSM mappers to access ArcGIS Datasets hosted in ArcGIS Online and select individual features to use while editing OSM. The mapper will be able to select a feature, review and edit the feature geometry and available fields, and then save their edits.

The mapper will have 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 (e.g. Bing, Esri, Mapillary, etc.) 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.


The plan is for most 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 Esri staff do any 'bulk' edits where we do not examine individual features, then we will create and use new dedicated import accounts (e.g. <username>_sandiego_county_import) for those changesets. We encourage other OSM mappers to do the same.