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Add OpenStreetMap data to your Mapbox project

Learn to navigate the OpenStreetMap tagging system.

If you're looking to use OpenStreetMap data in Mapbox Studio, look no further! In this guide you'll learn how to use Overpass Turbo to query OpenStreetMap data and extract specific features in a given area. You'll be exporting ski lifts and trails at Mount Bachelor, a popular ski resort in central Oregon. If you'd like to extract OpenStreetMap features programmatically rather than with a user interface, read the Overpass API documentation for more information.

Getting started

If this is your first time working with OpenStreetMap we recommend reading about OpenStreetMap and Mapbox in the Our map data guide before you get started.

OpenStreetMap features

In OpenStreetMap, contributors can tag physical features like buildings or roads to help describe them. For example, to add a building tag to a feature, the key for the feature would be building and the value would be yes.

example of adding a building tag in OpenStreetMap

If we want to be more specific about what type of building it is, for example a hotel, we can change the tag to building=hotel. Now others who access the data will know that the feature is a building and that it's a hotel. This is especially helpful for someone who is trying to query all hotels in a particular area.

You can find the list of all keys and values on the OpenStreetMap Features wiki.

OpenStreetMap data and Mapbox Streets

Mapbox Streets uses OpenStreetMap as one of several data sources. Mapbox Streets is a vector tileset that is available to all Mapbox users and is used in almost all Mapbox template styles. If you create a new style based on a Mapbox template in the Mapbox Studio style editor, odds are the style includes the Mapbox Streets tileset.

If you want to use OpenStreetMap data in Mapbox Studio, the quickest way is to use Mapbox Streets as a source in your style. Mapbox Streets is a curated tileset created from OpenStreetMap data, and it is updated continuously as OpenStreetMap is edited. To see which OpenStreetMap features are included in your version of Mapbox Streets, visit the Mapbox Streets documentation. If you want to add features to your map that are not included in Mapbox Streets, you'll need to use other tools such as Overpass Turbo to extract OpenStreetMap data.

Use the OpenStreetMap Wiki

In this exercise, you need to find some of the features at the Mount Bachelor Ski Resort:

  • Downhill ski trails
  • Chair lifts
  • Lift stations

First, you need to find the proper tags for these features. You can do this by opening OpenStreetMap and clicking a feature to find its tags or by searching the OpenStreetMap Map Features wiki. Search the wiki to find the keys and values that most closely resemble the features you want to query.

From the wiki, you can find the following key and values for our features:

piste:typedownhillArea/WayAn alpine/downhill ski route. Ways should be used for trails connecting the routes. This automatically implies oneway=yes. The direction of the way should be the downhill direction.
aerialwaychair_liftWayLooped cable with a series of single chairs or benches, exposed to the open air. Implies oneway=yes; where passengers can be carried in the reverse direction, tag with oneway=no.
aerialwaystationNode AreaA station, where passengers can enter and/or leave the aerialway

Now that you have the correct keys and values, open Overpass Turbo to query OpenStreetMap for the data.

Use Overpass Turbo

Start by taking a quick tour of Overpass Turbo's interface.

screenshot of the Overpass Turbo interface

  • Run. Runs the current query in the code window. The result is highlighted on the map to the right.
  • Share. Links to the current query.
  • Export. Exports the queried data into different formats for use in other applications.
  • Wizard. A query wizard that allows you to find features based on their keys and values.
  • Save. Saves your query for future use.
  • Load. Load a sample query or your saved query.
  • Settings. Allows you to change the map background, language, and other features of the interface.
  • Help. Useful hints and topics about the interface.


  • Map. The default map view (you can swap background with other web services).
  • Data. A raw data view.

Run a query

When you first launch Overpass Turbo, it starts you off with an example for querying drinking fountains. Overpass Turbo uses a simplified version of the XQuery to query OpenStreetMap features.

You must click Run for Overpass to show the results on the map. Once you've executed the query, Overpass will highlight the features that meet the query conditions.

Portland drinking fountains

Take a closer look at the structure of the query:

This is an example Overpass query.
Try it out by pressing the Run button above!
You can find more examples with the Load tool.

The query starts by looking for features with the type node. Then it checks the key amenity against the value drinking_water. A bounding box (southwest and northeast coordinate pairs) can be issued, or in this case, a bbox variable will grab the current window's extent.

Now that you're familiar with Overpass Turbo's interface, you can use it to grab the ski features.

Find the ski amenities

Start by using the search tool to locate mount bachelor, oregon. The search tool is located on the map to the right of the zoom buttons.

Once you've located and zoomed to Mount Bachelor, click the Wizard button from the toolbar and paste the following statement in the Query Wizard window:

aerialway=station OR aerialway=chair_lift OR piste:type=downhill

These are the keys and values we found from the OpenStreetMap Features wiki. Click Run. You should see that Overpass has highlighted the features on the map.

screenshot of OverpassTurbo querying ski features

Export data

Now that Overpass has found the features, export them. Click the Export button in the toolbar, select GeoJSON.

screenshot of the export options in Overpass Turbo

You can also share queries in Overpass from the Share button in the toolbar. Here's the saved query we made.

Finished Product

You've learned how to query and export data from OpenStreetMap using Overpass Turbo! Now that you have your data, you can start building with Mapbox by uploading your data as a dataset or tileset in Mapbox Studio, and creating a new custom style using the Mapbox Studio style editor. Read the Mapbox Studio Manual to get started.

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