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We are starting a new research project in China and I've been looking for shapefiles of buildings in Qingdao, China. The closest thing I can find is buildings of Beijing. But I need Qingdao, not Beijing.

It seems like I will have to use satellite images to generate the buildings through machine learning pattern recognition. Which I would rather not do because I don't know how to do that.

Anyone got any tips?

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Open street map has incomplete data of building footprints for Qingdao. There are many ways to download OSM data, including:

  • Do a quick but messy download of all OSM data in a given area from the map interface. (That link will take you to the area of Qingdao, but you'll want to adjust the bounding box before starting the download.
  • Or check out the OSM wiki for instructions.
  • QGIS has a plugin called Quick OSM that lets you download specific categories of OSM data within a specific area.

There are gaps OSM's building footprint data. Some city blocks have buildings, and others are completely missing. You'll have to find or create data to fill in the gaps. Head over to GIS Stackexchange for help with creating building footprints.

  • As you've mentioned, one method is to generate the building footprints from satellite images.
  • Another method is to obtain elevation rasters for the region with and without buildings. A Digital Surface Model (DSM) is elevation data with buildings. A Digital Elevation Model (DEM) is elevation data without buildings. Subtract the DEM from the DSM, convert from raster to polygon data, et voila, you have building footprints.

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