How to download data from the OpenStreetMap without a line of code?



OpenStreetMap is a crowdsource project to create a free editable map of the world. By this means you can use OSM data in any GIS or mapping project, both privately and commercially.

If you ever needed to use OSM data in your GIS project you must have faced the same challenge… How to download OpenStreetData in GIS format? In fact it is easier than you might think. There are a couple of websites that allow you to simply download OSM data. Here is the list of the most user-friendly tools to do that:

ToolScopeUpdatedPBF formatSHP format
Shellboot Entire planet Weekly Yes No
Osuosl Entire planet Weekly Yes No
Geofabrik Continent, Countrie Weekly Yes Yes - most countries
Bbbike Download 200 cities Weekly Yes Yes
Bbbike Extract Any region Weekly Yes Yes - up to 750MB
Trimble Market Any region Monthly No Yes - free until 5GB

Some of these tools don’t support downloading data in ShapeFile format or offer it as a paid service as PBF is a primary format of OSM data. You shouldn’t be too worried about it. The are multiple converters available online but most of them are based on command line which is not that convenient. There is however a simple way to do that in QGIS. You simply add to the map a PBF file as a vector layer and save it as SHP.


Aleks Buczkowski
I'm a professional always thinking outside the box and a self-confessed gadget addict. As a son of a professor of cartography I was surrounded by maps all my life and as a result spatial way of thinking and seeing reality is naturally embedded in who I am.