Buildings are the new Streets

Felix Delattre and Danijel Schorlemmer

Playlists: 'sotm2020' videos starting here / audio

What are the perspectives and challenges around the new wealth of building data in OpenStreetMap?

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is constantly expanding into emerging fields, particularly around building datasets. Through its participatory character, OSM provides an incomplete, but global coverage of buildings, nowadays already outnumbering roads. Their distribution and properties are the best indicator to population density, economic activity patterns, and risks of natural hazards. Thus, OSM constitutes a perfect base to provide answers to many related questions of various stakeholders from communities, governments, private sector and research.

We present an overview of how worldwide building data is used and will be in the near future. We will guide through our latest projects, reaching from the creation of risk models, via automated building extraction from satellite sensor data to building completeness estimates, and set these developments in context with other community-driven activities. We report on the challenges of managing global building data, and combining attributes from other open and public domain big datasets towards rich handling of building data in and around OSM. A special focus is on the ways how this new information can be made useful to support mappers to achieve higher completeness of building data.