status of street mapping in Brazil

Hello all!

Can anyone please give me a short overview of the status of OSM street mapping in Brazil? I am working on a research project using OSM street data from Brazil and I’m worried that some regions are hardly mapped at all, for instance North or Northeast.

Any judgments on the status would be greatly appreciated!


Hi David

what sort of data are you after?

Mapping coverage of Brazil varies wildly. Some regions are densely mapped, for example Vitória, while others have barely been touched. Many state capitals lack even basic street name information, and yet sometimes you find small towns, even in the north east, which are incredibly well mapped due to the effort of some enthusiastic local mapper.

Typically main highways linking important cities are present, even if sketchy, but many natural resources such as rivers are mostly absent.

The reasons for this are very simple: its a gigantic country with only a handful of mappers who really know what they are doing. Bing coverage has become more widespread only recently.

best wishes


Hi Gerard,

thanks for your response!

I want to calculate the length of the road network per person for each municipality to get a sense of how good municipalities are at providing a public good such as roads. My concerns are that:

  1. Many roads may be privately built in some parts of Brazil so that this would’t really measure municipality quality.
  2. Poor municipalities won’t only have less streets but will also be less frequently mapped, so the difference between rich parts and poor parts would be exaggerated.

I compared the OSM network to Bing data, and it seemed like OSM is doing a preety good job! I even found streets that weren’t mapped in Bing but were already mapped in OSM :slight_smile:

Best wishes,

Private roads in Brazil are usually just local paths, leading into private property (urban or not), so I don’t think that #1 is a big concern. Your #2, however, is very likely. I map the urban area of Porto Alegre and, even though I’ve been working on it for almost a whole year (and recently got more help), there are many local streets missing in the suburbs, but they are “less important”, not because these are poorer communities - sometimes they are not - but because they are less used. Major, primary roads seem to be fully mapped almost everywhere, though.