Los Angeles, California/Buildings Import

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If you have any questions or concerns about this import, please contact us at http://github.com/osmlab/labuildings/issues or https://gitter.im/osmlab/labuildings

Current Status

Phase 1 (DONE) - On 2 April 2016 we started importing buildings for LA City (2014 dataset). We are excluding addresses due to various conflation and accuracy issues.

We used our own installation of the OSM Tasking Manager located at labuildingsimport.com.

Phase 2 (DONE) - After importing buildings for the City of Los Angeles, we moved on to the rest of Los Angeles County (2014) dataset.

Phase 3 (IN PROGRESS late 2017 and early 2018) - Importing split buildings in Pasadena, Calif.


  • Import Los Angeles County's excellent building footprints data set to help Los Angeles mappers create a more effective map.
  • Get highly accurate, city-wide address data.
  • Import Phase
    • Phase 1 - Import LA City 2014 dataset. OSM Tasking Manager will begin in South LA, and expand to the rest of the City based on outcomes with initial import.
    • Phase 2 - Import LA County 2008 dataset, without LA City (completed in phase 1) and Pasadena (Separate phase due to city using multiple building parts for a building), 2014 dataset may be released by LA County at the end of the year.
    • Phase 3 - Import City of Pasadena

Import Data


Data source site


Under the terms of use and license all datasets are Public Domain.

Data quality

Buildings were digitized using stereo imagery from Los Angeles Region Image Acquisition Consortium (LARIAC).

Original data is in California State Plane Coordinate System (1983, Zone V).

Data Preparation

  • Re-project all data to Geographic WGS-84 (EPSG:4326) - the original data uses NAD83 datum. The custom tranformation between NAD83 and WGS84 is here.
  • Merge assessor's building use attributes to building polygon based on the the AIN attribute.
  • Divide the building and address data into smaller chunks based on census blocks.
  • Convert building attributes to OSM tags.

Tag used

General building attributes

All building contains this tag.

Shapefile Attribute OSM Tag Description
AIN lacounty:ain=* The parcel ID number from Assesor.
BLD_ID lacounty:bld_id=* Unique Building ID.
ELEV ele=* The base elevation of the building. Only if elevation > 0. Converted from feet to meters at 1 decimal digit.
HEIGHT height=* The height of the highest major feature of the building (not including roof objects like antennas and chimneys). Converted from feet to meters at 1 decimal digit.
YearBuilt start_date=* Year property was originally built.
Units building:units=* Total number of living units.

Building type and use

Building type and use was based on the Assessor data. 3 attributes were used GeneralUseType, SpecificUseType and SpecificUseDetail1. We compared each attribute to taginfo and use existing tags in use in OSM. For all other attribute that doesn't have corresponding tag we used the generic building=yes. Attribute to OSM tag csv file is here.


(General Use of the building, ie, Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Institutional)

Shapefile Attribute OSM Tag # of occurrence
Commercial building=commercial 99193
Dry Farm building=farm_auxiliary 2287
Industrial building=industrial 62237
Institutional building=yes 17870
Irrigated Farm building=farm_auxiliary 1083
Miscellaneous building=yes 1913
Recreational building=yes 4304
Residential building=residential 2689804

(More specific use of the building, ie, Single Family Residence, Church, Bowling Alley, Golf Course)

Shapefile Attribute OSM Tag # of occurence
Animal Kennel 381
Athletic and Amusement Facility,, 944
"Auto, Recreation Equipment, Construction Equipment Sales and Service" 11158
"Bank, Savings and Loan" building=commercial 962
Bowling Alley leisure=bowling_alley 55
Camp 1121
"Cemetery, Mausoleum, Mortuary" 660
Children's Day Care Center building=kindergarten 126
Church 8692
"Club, Lodge Hall, Fraternal Organization" 1427
"College, University (Private)" building=college 1111
Commercial building=commercial 3769
Dairy building=farm_auxiliary 114
Department Store shop=department_store 432
Desert building=farm_auxiliary 2314
"Double, Duplex, or Two Units" building=residential 214214
Dump Site building=industrial 647
Feed Lot building=farm_auxiliary 40
Field Crops building=farm_auxiliary 249
Five or More Units or Apartments (Any Combination) building=apartments 135339
Food Processing Plant building=factory 1028
Four Units (Any Combination) building=apartments 63366
Fruits and Nuts building=farm_auxiliary 325
Golf Course sport=golf 749
Government Owned Property 50854
Heavy Manufacturing building=industrial 3504
Homes for Aged and Others building=residential 2364
Hospital building=hospital 1560
Hotel and Motel building=hotel 3188
Industrial building=industrial 4987
Light Manufacturing building=industrial 29365
Lumber Yard building=industrial 374
Manufactured Home building=residential 3472
Manufactured Home Park building=residential 43579
Mineral Processing building=industrial 5419
"Motion Picture, Radio and Television Industry" 1173
"Non-Auto Service and Repair Shop, Paint Shop, or Laundry" building=retail 1108
Nursery or Greenhouse building=greenhouse 475
Office Building building=commercial 14248
Open Storage building=warehouse 936
Parking Lot (Commercial Use Property) building=commercial 3601
Parking Lot (Industrial Use Property) building=industrial 931
Pasture building=farm_auxiliary 182
Petroleum and Gas building=industrial 317
"Pipeline, Canal" building=industrial 82
"Poultry, etc." building=farm_auxiliary 118
Privately Owned 732
Professional Building building=commercial 4281
Race Track 330
"Restaurant, Cocktail Lounge" building=commercial 6242
Rights of Way 34
Rivers and Lakes 224
Rooming/Boarding House 680
School (Private) building=school 4865
Senior Day Care Center social_facility=day_care 23
Service Station building=commercial 3911
"Shopping Center (Neighborhood, Community)" building=retail 4148
Shopping Center (Regional) building=retail 895
Single Family Residence building=house 2174447
Skating Rink 29
Store building=retail 21687
Store Combination building=retail 20218
Supermarket building=retail 774
Theater 241
Three Units (Any Combination) building=apartments 79120
Truck Crops building=farm_auxiliary 4
Utility 3633
Vineyard building=farm_auxiliary 69
"Warehousing, Distribution, Storage" building=warehouse 17936
Waste building=farm_auxiliary 136
Water Recreation 7
Water Rights 1
Wholesale and Manufacturing Outlet building=retail 251

(Additional detail to building, ie Dance Hall, Supermarket)

Shapefile Attribute OSM Tag # of occurence
4 Stories or Less 491263
5 Stories or More 426
Adult Care Facility - Social and Recreational Services 15
Adult Day Services - Skilled Care Services Offered 8
Amusement Facility 69
Artist in Residence 103
"Auditorium, Stadium, Amphitheater" building:use=auditorium 532
Auto Body Repair Shop building:use=car_repair 8666
Auto Service Centers (No Gasoline) building:use=car_repair 662
Beverage 172
"Building Supplies (Home Depot, etc.)" 76
Car Wash Only,, building:use=car_wash 401
"Car Wash Only, Self-service Type" building:use=car_wash 187
"Cement, Rock and Gravel Plant" 140
"Cemetery, Mausoleum" 591
Church Parking Lot 93
"Commercial Swimming Pools, School" 40
Concessions 4
Contractor Storage Yard building:use=storage_yard 156
"Convalescent Hospital, Nursing Home" 183
Dance Hall building:use=dance_hall 27
Detached 5135
"Discount Department Store (Target, etc.)" 120
Farm and Construction Equipment Sales and Service 46
Fast Food - Auto Oriented building:use=fast_food 449
Fast Food - Walk Up building:use=fast_food 596
Fee Owned Boat Slip 2
Full Service 3047
Government Services building=civic 936
"Gymnasium, Health Spa" 182
High Rise 5 Stories or More 36
"High Value Residence, X Cost Classification" 558
"Home Furnishings (Ethan Allen, etc.)" 16
Horse Stable - Private 274
Hotel - 50 Rooms and Over 617
Hotel - Under 50 Rooms 707
Ice sport=ice_skating 28
Legitimate (Stage) Theater 42
Loft-type Buildings office=yes 137
Lots - Commercial Parking 110
Lots - Patron or Employee 3246
Meat 519
Medical Dental Building office=yes 1479
Microwave Relay Tower 22
Miniature 9
Misc. Privately Owned Properties That Do Not Fall Into Any Other Classification 96
Miscellaneous 918
Miscellaneous Commercial 586
Miscellaneous Industrial 651
"Mortuary, Funeral Home" 68
Motel - 50 Rooms and Over 371
Motel - Under 50 Rooms 1394
Motel/Hotel and Apartment Combinations - 50 Units and Over 40
Motel/Hotel and Apartment Combinations - Under 50 Units 54
Movie - Drive-in 85
Movie - Indoor 112
Multiple Residence 19
New Car Sales and Service building:use=car 564
Non Profit 35
Office and Residential office=yes 982
Other 336
Own-your-own Lot 60
Parking Structures - Commercial Parking 67
Parking Structures - Patron or Employee 159
"Petroleum Refinery, Chemical Plant" 3468
Private Rural Pumping Plant 0
Public School building=school 7133
"Public Storage (Bekins, Lyons)" 163
Public Storage - Mini Warehouse building:use=warehouse 2616
Recreation 1156
"Recreation Equipment Sales and Service (Campers, Motor Homes and Boats)" 103
"Restaurant, Cocktail Lounge, Tavern" 5179
"Retail-Warehouse Combo (Levitz, etc.)" 45
Rights of Way 98
Roller sport=roller_skating 1
Self Service 589
Single Residence 3443
"Small Food Store - Less than 6,000 SF" 144
Store and Office Combination office=yes 4189
Store and Residential Combination 16004
Studio 1097
"Supermarket - 12,000 SF or More" 574
"Supermarket - 6,000 SF through 11,999 SF" 54
"Tennis Court, Club, Pro Shop" 93
Three Par 33
Townhouse Format 1429
Trailer and Camper Park (Overnight) 193
Transmission Facility 42
Transportation 2332
"Trucking Company, Terminal" 219
Used Car Sales 488
"Veterinary Hospital, Clinic" 183
"Warehouse Store (Costco, etc.)" 63
"Warehousing, Distribution, 10,000 to 24,999 SF" 2461
"Warehousing, Distribution, 25,000 to 50,000 SF" 1710
"Warehousing, Distribution, Over 50,000 SF" 2442
"Warehousing, Distribution, Under 10,000 SF" 8396
Water Related Facilities 387
Wireless Communication Tower 1098
With Car Wash 271

Import workflow

  • We will use the Tasking Manager to import data using a dedicated import account.
  • Each census block sized .osm file will be download through the Tasking Manager.
  • Importers will manually review each buildings and merge to existing buildings in OSM.
  • If data in OSM is of better quality, can update tags from imported data.
  • Detailed importing steps here: https://github.com/osmlab/labuildings/blob/master/IMPORTING.md

Import process status

  Job No.      Location Task Mapping Status Task Validation Status
Job #2 Southside LA City Complete Complete
Job #3 Westside LA City Complete Complete
Job #6 Central & Eastside LA City Complete In Progress
Job #7 SF Valley LA City Complete In Progress


  • March 31, 2016 @ 6:30 p.m.: MaptimeLA will host a JOSM training and kickstart event for importing.
  • April 2, 2016 @ 12:00 p.m.: The Los Angeles Times graphics/data desks hosted a mapathon to teach JOSM and importing with the task manager.
  • May 21, 2016 @ 12:00 p.m.: The Los Angeles Times graphics/data desks hosted another mapathon.


Tracked in Github

Task URL Status Reference
Split buildings - merged split buildings to the larger buildings http://maproulette.org/map/419/ In progress ticket, diary

Team Approach

Code and coordination is tracked in the http://github.com/osmlab/labuildings.


  1. 8-24-2015 We are seeking help in identifying which data attributes will be merged. Coding is not necessary for this effort. Help is needed to fix issue with python code in merging address points with building polygons.
  2. 01-01-2016 Re-started work on data quality evaluation, coding and attributes to be imported.
  3. 02-18-2016 Data preparation for first stage of import focusing on combining building and assessor data.
  4. 03-02-2016 Started outreach to local mappers and community import list.