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

Hi, I am trying to create a heat map of the footprints of buildings. The color representing the height of the buildings. I am looking for big cities such as New York, Chicago, Seattle, or San Francisco. Is there any way I can get a data or map that I am looking for?

asked 28 Aug '20, 17:02

Yong's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Openstreetmap does have means to record building heights. The most generic approach is to fill a tag height= on the building. There is a more detailed way of mapping/tagging more complex building shapes described on the wiki. In some instances you might be able to estimate heights based on other information like building levels.

Having that said, recording height data is mostly on the lower end of the priority list of most mappers. The chance is good to find such data on landmark buildings and in the more prominent parts of cities but height data will be missing on the majority of buildings worldwide. You would need to check for yourself how sufficiently height data are recorded in your areas of interest. You can probably write a quick Overpass Turbo query to get started with that.

permanent link

answered 01 Sep '20, 08:48

TZorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%


An alternative to the exact height could be the building:levels tag, which indicates the number of floors in a building. While also not frequently used, it's used much more often than height because it's easier to determine from street level. It could be used as an approximation for the building's height if you choose an average floor height and multiply by the number of floors.

(01 Sep '20, 18:18) alester

I got curious now. For downtown Chicago only few buildings have a height information (red) but the majority has building:levels tagged (green):

(02 Sep '20, 08:36) TZorn

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 28 Aug '20, 17:02

question was seen: 1,527 times

last updated: 02 Sep '20, 08:36

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