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Hi all,

Brand new editor here. I'm wondering if I should be adding building height tags if I don't know the exact maximum elevation of a building. I'm focusing on adding data for existing buildings in my community that don't have height or level data. I was thinking of approximating the height based on number of floors in Google Street View. Obviously there would be considerable error due to varying floor height and roof configuration.

So my question is, is there value in putting in an approximate height where there is none estimated, or will that cause problems for future editors. Also, relatedly, is there a way to mark such data as uncertain so that some future editor would have more confidence in updating the value with more accurate data?


asked 14 Sep '20, 17:47

RockyBikeRider's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

First, do not use Google street view. The licensing is incompatible and could cause legal issues for OSM and result in your edits being reverted. If Mapillary or OpenStreetCam have views of the buildings you can use those as the licensing is compatible.

For myself, I don't enter the building height unless I have a good way to verify the number. If I am estimating by counting building levels, then I will put the number of levels in. 3D map rendering should be able to use levels as well as height.

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answered 14 Sep '20, 18:39

n76's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

+1 to counting levels and then adding that number in; the number of levels is a valuable tag in itself as it allows the computation of floor space. Projects like actually attempt to compute the levels from the height if the number of levels is not given!

Taginfo shows 2,500 world-wide uses of source:height=estimated so if you do guess a height, that could be a way to go. I wouldn't use it if I were doing thousands of buildings though - I'd probably restrict myself to a single comment on the changeset itself rather than "polluting" every single building with that info.

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answered 14 Sep '20, 19:02

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%

Heights can be estimated by several ways. One way is measuring and comparing shadows of the building and a stick is one. they form similar triangles. A second is to hold a pencil vertically at arms length putting fingers at the base of building, they turning the pencil horizontal them you can measure the height along the ground, artists use a similar technique to get good proportions.

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answered 14 Sep '20, 20:11

andy%20mackey's gravatar image

andy mackey
accept rate: 4%

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question asked: 14 Sep '20, 17:47

question was seen: 1,416 times

last updated: 14 Sep '20, 20:11

NOTICE: is being shutdown on 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum