ISWS is providing for download building footprints for every county in Illinois in shapefile format.
Building footprints represent the perimeter outline of each building, but the building outlines can only roughly
represent the buildings. Sometimes one single polygon may include many buildings that are close to each other.
In 2018 Microsoft released approximately 125 million building footprint polygon geometries in all 50 US States
in GeoJSON format. The building footprints were generated by training computer vision algorithms to recognize
building geometries on aerial imagery of the USA. More information can be found on
github. ISWS is making these available in
shapefile format for all Illinois counties. A Vector Tile implementation of the data is hosted by Esri.
Additionally for a select number of counties in Illinois, ISWS extracted building footprints from LiDAR data
in LAS format and converted these into polygons. As part of the extraction process, a squaring
function was performed to produce an approximation of the roof outlines of buildings by squaring the traced
building outlines. Thus, the extraction detected rectangular buildings very effectively, but the buildings with
other shapes may not be extracted as their real shapes.
How does the data compare for counties where both building footprint types are available? In short, the ISWS
derived footprints are more numerous. One reason for this is the LiDAR files for each county included areas close
to, but outside the county boundary, and building footprints for these areas are included in the shapefile. An
additional reason may be that the LiDAR used by ISWS was more recently acquired than the
imagery used by Microsoft in creating footprints. A more detailed explanation of the comparison process is found
in this report.
Select a county of interest to download the shapefile created from LiDAR (SWS) or Microsoft (MS). Please see our disclaimer.