ArcGIS Living Atlas

ArcGIS Datasets in OpenStreetMap

One year ago, we announced ArcGIS Data Support in OSM Editors.  As described in that article (please check out for details), Esri partnered with Facebook and others to enable access to open data from the ArcGIS user community for editing OpenStreetMap (OSM) through editors such as RapiD and JOSM.  Since then, we have enabled almost 200 datasets including over 100 million features from the ArcGIS user community!

In this article, I wanted to provide an update on the work that has been completed, thank the many organizations who have already contributed, and extend an offer to others that would like to participate going forward.

What’s New

Heading into Esri User Conference 2020, we announced a new Community Maps Data Sharing option and ArcGIS Data Support in OSM Editors.  Since then, several hundred of our Community Maps contributors have enabled data sharing.  This includes many cities and counties (e.g. Bismarck, ND; Sioux Falls, SD; Chester County, PA; Loudoun County, VA), several states and provinces, and a few national mapping agencies.

As this data has been made available for sharing, Esri has been preparing the data for use in OpenStreetMap editors.  The processed data has been published as feature layers and shared with the OSM community through this group in ArcGIS Online, which is accessible in RapiD as shown below.  We are currently providing access to building footprint and address point features and will be adding other useful feature types over time.

ArcGIS Datasets in RapiD

There have been many notable contributions but I will highlight just a few examples.

New Zealand Buildings

Earlier this year, representatives from the OpenStreetMap New Zealand community and LINZ reached out to Esri about adding New Zealand Buildings to OSM.  LINZ provides recent building outlines extracted from LINZ aerial imagery as open data and was happy to see this data added to OSM.  The published dataset includes over 3.3 million buildings, most of which did not already exist in OSM but can now be added incrementally by the OSM community through RapiD and JOSM.

New Zealand Buildings
New Zealand Building Outlines provided by LINZ.

United States Addresses

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) maintains a National Address Database that includes address points compiled from dozens of local sources, most of which do not exist in OSM either on their own or as building tags.  Since the data is in the public domain and was as a potential data source for OSM, we decided to download the data and prepare for use in OSM.  The initial United States Addresses dataset that was shared includes over 53.5 million address points, which OSM mappers can now use to edit OSM.  We will be updating the layer on a periodic (e.g. quarterly) basis as addresses are added.

United States Addresses
United States Address Points from the USDOT.

Lake County, Illinois Buildings and Addresses

Lake County, located north of Chicago along the shores of Lake Michigan, is an active participant in the Community Maps Program.  Lake County has contributed many types of data, including buildings, parcels, roads, trails, and addresses. The County recently enabled the data sharing option so Esri can make this data available to other mapping platforms, including OpenStreetMap.   The Lake County Buildings and Addresses datasets each include over 300 thousand features that are now available to use in editing OSM.

Lake County, Illinois Buildings and Addresses
Buildings and Address Points provided by Lake County, IL.

We’d like to thank each of the organizations that has shared their valuable GIS data so it can be used in mapping platforms such as ArcGIS and OpenStreetMap.  This enables us to collectively build high-quality basemaps and services (e.g. geocoding) that provide a strong foundation for the maps and apps we are building to help answer questions and solve problems.  We believe this type of collaboration between the GIS and OSM communities will benefit many, and we can have some fun mapping in the process!

Getting Started

If you would like to contribute, there are a couple general ways that you can participate:

  1. Contribute GIS Data: if you maintain data that would be useful to OSM (e.g. buildings, addresses) and you’d like to see available in OSM editors, the best way to share data would be through Community Maps.  Alternatively, you can share data through ArcGIS Open Data or ArcGIS Online.  See the How to Participate section for details.
  2. Join OSM Community: if you would like to contribute directly to OpenStreetMap, you can sign up to OSM, get familiar with how to add data, and then start using the RapiDJOSM, or other OSM editors.  Many GIS users (myself included) are OSM contributors that enjoy using our skills to help map our local communities.

We are excited to help make high-quality, open data from the ArcGIS community more accessible to the OSM community and delighted with all of the collaboration and progress this first year.  We look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together next!

About the author

Deane Kensok has been with Esri since 1990 and is currently the ArcGIS Content CTO and a member of the Living Atlas team. For the past twenty years, Deane has worked on a variety of Internet mapping and data publishing products and projects, which have led to his current work with ArcGIS Online and the Living Atlas.

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