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BuildingsTools icon BuildingsTools
Drawing a building over Bing Imagery





Watch a demonstration video

Install the plugin per the instructions at JOSM/Plugins#Installation.

The plugin adds a new "Draw buildings" button JOSM-Icon-buildingtools-building.png on the toolbar. The simplest way to draw a building is to draw a line along one side of the building, then click on opposite side.

When there are many buildings with the same width, it is more convenient to use the 2-click method. Press Ctrl-ALT-B to open the Buildings size dialog and then set constant buildings width in meters. Then it will be sufficient to draw a line along the wall of the building.

Additional features

In the JOSM menus, select "Data" → "Set buildings size" to access this plugin's options.

  • Length step: Building length constrains to be multiple of this length.
  • Addressing: Plugin has built-in addressing dialog. It remembers the street name and automatically increments or decrements house numbers (+2 or -2).
  • Direction nodes: Like Orthogonalize tool, BuildingsTools supports direction nodes. Select two nodes and then the direction of building is fixed by these two reference nodes - drawing a simple building takes just two clicks.
  • Direction way: When a way is selected, BuildingTools snaps walls angle to each segment of that way. Additionally, if selected way is orthogonalized or drawn using BuildingTools, a two-click building drawing mode is enabled.
  • Temporarily disable all snaps by pressing Shift key. This helps when mapping an isolated house that isn't parallel to the nearby street.
  • Rotate crosshair: When mapping in two-clicks mode, it's more useful to have cross-hair cursor rotated to be parallel to the walls of the newly created building. (This can be activated in the "Advanced" dialog.)
  • Big buildings mode: When mapping in two-clicks mode, you usually click the first corner of the building and move your mouse to another. If you see that the walls don't fit to what you see on WMS image, you are supposed to press shift and draw one wall, clicking on the third corner afterwards. In big buildings mode, you just click on first corner, press shift and click on the opposite corner, rotating the building outline afterwards. (This can be activated in the "Advanced" dialog.)
  • Auto-select building: Select newly created building if nothing is currently selected. Used along with "Direction way" feature to draw series of parallel buildings. After drawing a first series, press ESC key to deselect currently selected building and draw a building from second series, it will be automatically selected and next buildings will be aligned to it.
  • Use address node: When there is a node with "building" tag with address information within a newly created building, add tags and relation memberships is copied to new building and original node is removed.
  • Custom tags: Add or modify the default building=yes tagging to whatever set of tags you desire. It doesn't even need to be buildings; you might find it useful for other commonly rectangular features such as leisure=pitch and amenity=parking. (This can be set in the "Advanced" dialog.)

Advanced usage

Drawing a building with oblique corners

In past there was a lot of problems with buildings with oblique corners because they cannot be orthogonalized. Now it's relatively easy to draw such buildings. One can set a constant width in Buildings size dialog, draw two intersecting buildings and then use Join overlapping areas function(Shift+J).


Created by User:Upliner. Please submit your bug reports and feature requests.

Source code:


See also

  • JOSM/Plugins/Terracer - another tool for tracing buildings, especially suited to terraced houses (townhouses, row house)