Building heights

Im looking at building maps with building heights.

I understand OSM has buildings

What data source does this use to work the building heights out?

I have been interested in using the LIDAR data

Is this the same as the data MapBox uses?

Any help work be greatly appreciated, thanks

Dear funkyorange,

Building heights come from the special tags set for a building outline.
Two the most important tags are:
height: the height in meters including the roof
building:levels: the number of floors; if the height is unknown, it’s worth setting that tag so an application will estimate the height based on the number of floors

The tutorial by Mapbox is a good starting point for 3D mapping in OSM. For more advanced concepts (roof shapes, complex buildings) of 3D mapping see the Simple 3D Buildings specification.

blender-osm (OSM and terrain for Blender), mapbox and use the same source of data to represent them in 3D. It’s the main OSM database edited by thousands of volunteers across the world.

Asking, how do you guys get the height of an object? Its possible to guess the common houses (one level about 2,70m, a guessed roof height ?) but how do you get actual data?
I thought about buying a Leica DISTO D210 (for other reasons :D) and the Leica is able to calculate with pythagoras. So it should be able to aim at an object (at the height of myself), aim at the top of the roof, let it calculate the height and add my own height to it.
EDIT: I just found out it can measure double way for itself. So, just point to top, horizontally and to bottom and it shows the height.
That should be pretty accurate and as the Leica can measure up to 80m it should be nice for tall buildings too.

What are your approaches to get the height of an building?

EDIT: A VECTOR 21 Nite would be nice because it would be able to do everything from height to how wide and so on. But i guess its expensive :smiley:

My approach is quite simple. I always set building:levels and almost never height.

Same here. Measuring building heights during mapping seems relatively rare in my experience (although not unheard of, as there are tools and even smartphone apps for the purpose).

I assume height tags are disproportionally sourced from imports, and sometimes given for prominent buildings such as towers or skyscrapers where the height is publicly known.


I am researching the radiation of San Antonio in Texas as a research assistant. So I am trying to create a 3d model. But it is hard to get height data or floor numbers. Especially in San Antonio I don’t think there is enough data of what I want.
Is there any way to get a building data ?