Sent on

Daily OSM Tip: Planet Files

Hi and thanks for reading another OSM tip! Please reply to this email to send me feedback.

OSM is free and open data, which means that you can download the entire map! You can simply go to and download the latest "planet" file. It comes in a special format called "PBF". You will need special tools to actually do anything with it: Desktop GIS programs like QGIS understand PBF files but the entire world is way to big to load.

Fortunately there are several ways to get smaller chunks of the map: the German company Geofabrik has country-sized PBF files, and there's a site called BBBike that even lets you draw your own boundary to generate a file to download:

(Image from BBBike)

Using OSM data is a big, big topic. In the future I can write more tips for advanced users on how to work with PBF files if you're interested. Let me know!

Happy mapping!