[OSM-dev] DBF files (shapefile) and OSM tags

Nick Whitelegg nick150971 at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Dec 29 23:26:08 GMT 2006

Am now working on an OSM to shapefile converter. Using shapelib, shapefiles seem fairly straightforward but the accompanying .dbf file is a little more unclear.  The general idea seems to be to describe attributes in a database table-like structure, with each column representing a different attribute.

The only thing is, with the free-form nature of OSM attributes, the number of columns required in the .dbf table would quickly spiral considerably particularly for nodes (less for ways, as for ways there are only a number of common tags e.g. highway). So might it be better to concatenate the key/values as a comma separated list (e.g amenity=place_of_worship,denomination=anglican,name=St Pauls Church) and put that in one DBF column?


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