Street and Building level address data for West Africa

Hello All,

We desperately need street and building level data for some West African countries like Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. I am not familiar with OSM, and neither technical. So would anyone kindly advise on how to get these data.

I tried to see if I can contact OSM for advice but could not find their contact so if anyone has it please pass it on.

Best regards


The most important question is what do you want to do with that data? Because this way or another this is technical question, there are a lot of different data in OSM and it depends what do you want to do with them. For example data for a single building may look like this, so it needs to be transformed somehow into your desired output:

 <way id="192823943" visible="true" version="5" changeset="28840796" timestamp="2015-02-14T13:12:06Z" user="Serpens" uid="64578">
  <nd ref="2033551080"/>
  <nd ref="2033552343"/>
  <nd ref="2033552585"/>
  <nd ref="2033551077"/>
  <nd ref="2033551080"/>
  <tag k="amenity" v="embassy"/>
  <tag k="building" v="yes"/>
  <tag k="country" v="NG"/>
  <tag k="diplomatic" v="embassy"/>
  <tag k="name" v="Ambassade du Nigéria"/>
  <tag k="name:en" v="Embassy of Nigeria"/>
  <tag k="source" v="GeoCameroun"/>


Simply put this data will underpin our API. Such that for any website that is integrated with our API can call into our database and select an address i.e. a building with all associated address data listed below.

the design of our database is such that we would for any given building require:

  1. Country
  2. State
  3. Local council
  4. Town
  5. Street

Please advise.


There can be different sources of OSM data - the most complete is the whole planet, but if you need just daily dumps of several countries (or the whole continent), you can use place like this:

and filter only the data you need, for example using Osmosis ( ).

It should be quite clear to what country does such building belongs just by checking if it’s located inside country area and probably the same for states. Things get tricky when coming down to the street level. Some towns are not tagged as the administrative border, so you can only guess where the building belongs to. And definitely streets are just lines, so there’s no way to tell if it belongs to this street if there is no address data added to the building, in general.

For example this building:

lies in Nigeria for sure, also it is in Federal Capital Territory:

but Abuja is tagged only as a node:

So it’s hard to say if it is inside the city in the automated way. And you can’t say if it belongs to this street or another one:

You can also rely on what reverse geocoding engines are saying, for example Nominatim says:

Peniel Apartments, Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse District, Abudża, Municipal Area Council, Federal Capital Territory, 900001, Nigeria

However it looks like a bit of guessing, because Wuse District is also a node and it is not tagged as part of Abuja:

and the street is just close to the building and it might be the other street as well, as I have shown above.

Here you can look at what admin boundaries are available for different countries in OSM:

And, depending on your needs, you might just use Nominatim API (be it on this server or have your own deployment):

I’d be really, really surprised if we have much in the way of addresses for individual buildings anywhere in Africa (other than perhaps Cape Town and Pretoria). I’d suggest looking at (for instance around Dakar which has an active community & is relatively well-mapped: Green shows places with an address, red lines shows un-named roads.

In many places in Africa many urban streets may lack names and individual buildings numbers. This is particularly true in informal settlements (‘slums’) where typical navigation is via landmarks.

Even when addresses do exist they are probably a relatively low priority for local communities. In general addresses tend to be collected once a community has mapped most of an area and is sufficiently large to undertake the task. Otherwise it is too daunting. Furthermore many areas across Africa have been mapped from aerial imagery which usually means elements added will be un-named.

Hello SK53,

I appreciate there may not be comprehensive building level a address data but I am aware from companies that have used OSM data before there is enough we can build on over time so this will suffice.

Apart from Geofabrik are there any other OSM Consulting firm I can contact. I have contacted them twice for consultation but they haven’t gotten back to me yet. Any advise will be useful


Maybe you can find professional help at