Wednesday, August 04, 2021

516 Million Building Outlines in Africa

Google’s Open Buildings is a new open dataset containing the location and geometry of 516 million buildings across Africa.The data includes the polygon outline of each building, its size in square meters and a confidence score of it being a valid building.

Anyone can download the full dataset of over 500,000,000 buildings or download smaller datasets for individual level 4 S2 cells. The full data can be downloaded in CSV format or the tile geometry and URLs in GeoJSON format. 

 It is hoped that the data will help refine an understanding of where people live, helping authorities to identify where infrastructure and vital services are required. It is also hoped that the data will contribute to a better understanding of population density, help authorities plan emergency responses, help with the rollout of digital address systems, and help with national planning.

The buildings were detected from satellite imagery by AI. The building data in some areas may be more accurate than in others. These confidence differences can emerge for a number of reasons. For example geological or vegetation features may have been confused with built structures. In some areas the delineations between individual buildings may not be clear in the satellite imagery. Buildings which are the same colors as the surrounding environment or terrain may be difficult to identify. Also very small buildings may be difficult to determine at the satellite resolution.

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