Tutorial 1: Adding OpenStreetMap data to QGIS

1. Introduction

Learning objectives

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. OSM is considered a prominent example of volunteered geographic information (VGI) or crowdsourcing. There are several ways to use the data:

  • Through the interactive map on the OpenStreetMap website (http://www.openstreetmap.org)
  • In QGIS you can add OSM basemaps via the QuickMapServices plugin
  • In QGIS you can download OSM data directly over the Internet. There are several ways to do this. In this section we’ll use the QuickOSM plugin which uses the Overpass API.

In this tutorial we are going to download OSM vector data for the area of your interest.


QGIS has many different versions and the updates go fast.
In this course we use QGIS 3.16 LTR. LTR means Long Term Release, which means that it is stable and bugs are fixed over a longer time than other versions. There are newer versions, which are great to test new features. However, these versions also might have new bugs and are therefore not recommended for operational use or courses.

Watch this video how to download and install QGIS. It also gives an overview of the interface.
You can download QGIS for free from http://www.qgis.org