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When I am looking at the pure data in a certain area (like in the data layer or in any editor), where can I see the length of one way element in meters?

asked 24 Jul '10, 11:26

stephan75's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

edited 24 Jul '10, 14:50

Jochen%20Topf's gravatar image

Jochen Topf

Pure OSM data only indirectly contains length information: The lengths themselves aren't stored anywhere but can be calculated from the nodes' coordinates. Therefore, you need a tool that calculates and displays this information.

OSM editing applications typically offer this feature:

  • In JOSM, you can see the length of the selected way in the status bar at the bottom of the editor window (next to the ruler icon)
  • In iD, press Ctrl+Shift+M to toggle the measurement panel (alternatively click on "map data" in the right hand menu and tick "show measurements" field). Now click on the way that you want to know the length of.
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answered 24 Jul '10, 12:45

Tordanik's gravatar image

accept rate: 35%

edited 03 Dec '22, 06:39

rene78's gravatar image



OSM data contains only the geometries stored as nodes, ways and relations. If you want to obtain the some statistics on an element, you will need to work with tools like Postgis or specialized program.

Postgis 1.5 has a new geography type which can be used to return numbers like length, area in meters. You would need to use osm2pgsql to import your data and then create a geography column based on the geometry column created by osm2psql.

This method is quite complicated and should mostly be used for more advanced users.

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answered 26 Jul '10, 12:51

Melaskia's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Maperitive can show you lengths of ways:

  1. Load the OSM data from a file using the "load-source mydata.osm" command
  2. Find a way using some kind of search criteria, for example "find way[highway=footway]". This will find all footways.
  3. List the results using the "list-results" command. It will show a list of all matching ways, their IDs and lengths in meters.
  4. You view each individual search result using the F3 (find-next) and SHIFT+F3 (find-prev) keys.
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answered 26 Jul '10, 13:59

Breki's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

Wow! Great tip!

(07 Dec '17, 19:28) Linhares

Found one more on my own:

Maybe the most simple way to see the length of an OSM way element in a kind of data layer is to load the area (or just the way) in the editor Merkaartor

You only need to hover over the way with the mouse, or select it. The length is displayed in the information panel on the right of the screen.

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answered 27 Jul '10, 15:51

stephan75's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

  1. Visit and pan to location of interest.
  2. Ctrl+Shift+M (Toggle measurement panel.)
  3. Click on the way that you want length of.
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answered 18 Nov '19, 11:39

jidanni's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

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question asked: 24 Jul '10, 11:26

question was seen: 20,306 times

last updated: 03 Dec '22, 06:39

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum