Who built the buildings on Prince Edward Island?

Continuing my exploration of OpenStreetMap as a database, I was curious to know how many buildings are on the map on Prince Edward Island, and how many OpenStreetMap users are responsible for having created them.

To extract the buildings I used this Overpass Turbo query:

{{geocodeArea:Prince Edward Island}}->.searchArea;
out meta;
out skel qt;

I saved the resulting JSON output as buildings-on-pei.json; here’s what a single building looks like in that file:

  "type": "way",
  "id": 28325849,
  "timestamp": "2019-04-20T02:57:13Z",
  "version": 22,
  "changeset": 69393585,
  "user": "ParagonPrime",
  "uid": 1378289,
  "nodes": [
  "tags": {
    "addr:city": "Charlottetown",
    "addr:housename": "Confederation Centre of the Arts",
    "addr:housenumber": "145",
    "addr:postcode": "C1A 1J1",
    "addr:street": "Richmond Street",
    "building": "yes",
    "building:levels": "0",
    "building:levels:underground": "1",
    "level": "-1",
    "name": "Confederation Centre of the Arts",
    "roof:colour": "gray",
    "roof:material": "stone",
    "tourism": "attraction",
    "website": "https://www.confederationcentre.com/en/",
    "wheelchair": "yes",
    "wikidata": "Q5159778",
    "wikipedia": "en:Confederation Centre of the Arts"

Note that there is a “user” element; I can use that to identify who created–or, to be more accurate, who last updated–each of the buildings.

First, I get a count of the number of buildings in the file:

# grep '"user"' buildings-on-pei.json  | wc -l

Next, I get a count of the number of buildings attributed to each user:

# grep '"user"' buildings-on-pei.json  | sort | uniq -c | sort -rn
5069   "user": "MaestroGlanz",
2841   "user": "Peter Rukavina",
2816   "user": "Alecs01",
 996   "user": "Alan Bragg",
 684   "user": "mariadalton",
 534   "user": "the506",
 335   "user": "506imports",
 159   "user": "Matthew Darwin",
 143   "user": "dankpoet",
 129   "user": "kalebmcneil",
  72   "user": "lokejul",
  69   "user": "Rps333",
  57   "user": "TristanA",
  57   "user": "ParagonPrime",
  57   "user": "Gamer Gig",
  53   "user": "PurpleMustang",
  34   "user": "maTH5M2b",
  31   "user": "Bennard",
  28   "user": "Zeflind",
  20   "user": "allain_2",
  18   "user": "b-jazz-bot",
  12   "user": "Himké",
  10   "user": "dkunce",
  10   "user": "Michel G Arsenault",
  10   "user": "Kenfee3",
   8   "user": "CanuckGeographer",
   7   "user": "andrewpmk",
   6   "user": "binhex",
   6   "user": "Timothy Smith",
   6   "user": "StealthNinja51",
   5   "user": "november3000",
   5   "user": "fixedbusiness",
   5   "user": "RobJN",
   5   "user": "NoahUCD",
   5   "user": "Neeko",
   4   "user": "timdine",
   4   "user": "PelleB",
   3   "user": "xybot",
   3   "user": "wheelmap_visitor",
   3   "user": "smb1001",
   3   "user": "ionutr_telenav",
   3   "user": "hhcfw",
   3   "user": "fx99",
   3   "user": "Super-Map",
   3   "user": "Little Brother",
   3   "user": "DannyMcD",
   3   "user": "Bryson",
   2   "user": "petersfreeman",
   2   "user": "ngillis",
   2   "user": "mjf87nl",
   2   "user": "kartler175",
   2   "user": "huoju",
   2   "user": "boute002",
   2   "user": "Todd Gallant",
   2   "user": "PipoCanaja",
   2   "user": "Narcissus",
   2   "user": "JamieeR",
   2   "user": "FvGordon",
   2   "user": "Cynthia King",
   2   "user": "Bootprint",
   2   "user": "Be A Mapper",
   2   "user": "AndyJBlack",
   1   "user": "yumoon",
   1   "user": "vbertola",
   1   "user": "ti-lo",
   1   "user": "thetornado76",
   1   "user": "sjharper",
   1   "user": "shang 289",
   1   "user": "scruss",
   1   "user": "safirat",
   1   "user": "pingoo",
   1   "user": "ldgallant14",
   1   "user": "landblend",
   1   "user": "have moicy",
   1   "user": "carlb",
   1   "user": "b-jazz",
   1   "user": "ansis",
   1   "user": "Sammyhawkrad",
   1   "user": "RRW",
   1   "user": "Oliver Rukavina",
   1   "user": "Kelly Rayner",
   1   "user": "HitFilmMan",
   1   "user": "Gabe Groner",
   1   "user": "EzekielT",
   1   "user": "Cranberry",
   1   "user": "CanvecImports",
   1   "user": "Ashenzari",

There are 87 OpenStreetMap users responsible for adding those 14,395 buildings to the map, with the busiest contributor being MaestroGlanz.


Ton Zijlstra's picture
Ton Zijlstra on May 10, 2019 - 10:05 Permalink

The number 2 on that list seems familiar :) What does it mean, did you add buildings or mostly edits. Here in NL all buildings are directly added from the open cadastral data that contains shapes, history and location of all buildings

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on May 10, 2019 - 10:14 Permalink

My contributions are all hand-edits of the map, generally tracing over the Bing satellite view. I find the work calming, and a good distraction as the work day nears its end.

We don’t currently have an up to date open data set that would allow for a complete and automatic building import, although some (about 1500 by my count) of the building footprints came in via a Canvec Buildings and Structures import, and I’ve been in discussions with the Province of PEI to see whether there is, in fact, a building layer that could be licensed for import.

I’m envious that you have open cadastral data for NL.

Andrew's picture
Andrew on May 10, 2019 - 11:06 Permalink

I checked to see if my home on Valley Street was added, and it was. A query of the building shows that it was you who added it over two years ago...thank you!