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Global Urban Areas dataset available in Daylight

Nov 27th, 2023

Starting today, the Daylight Map Distribution will include vectorized urban area features derived from the European Space Agency’s 2020 World Cover (10m) rasters. This dataset provides global coverage and is suitable for use in maps up to 1:100k (zoom level 12).


The Display Maps team at Meta serves beautiful maps to a variety of applications like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and many others using data from Daylight Map Distribution.

As an addendum to our previous release of Global Vectorized Landcover, we’re pleased to release a new vectorized urban areas dataset. We feature this dataset in our maps at a variety of zooms to highlight areas of urban concentration.

This high resolution dataset consists of 37,000 polygonal areas around the globe, and provides enough detail for most use-cases. We’re also offering a lighter weight version that consists only of the largest 1000 areas globally.

urban_1 The Greater Richmond urban area shown in light gray.

Since this was derived alongside our Global Landcover dataset, it was generated using the same processes mentioned in our previous post. For this particular dataset, we added some finishing touches to generalize and simplify this dataset further.

urban_2 _ the greater Pittsburgh area, as included in the lightweight dataset (left), smaller areas in North West Pittsburgh included in the full resolution dataset. (right)_

urban_3 Global view of all generated urban areas.

urban_4 US View of top 1000 largest (yellow) vs. all (grey).

To Access This Dataset

Download the zipped shapefiles from s3: s3://daylight-openstreetmap/urban/

How To Reach The Team

If you have any questions about this data distribution, we have created a #daylightdistro_feedback Slack channel in OSM US. Members of the team will be there periodically to answer questions. You can also email the team at osm@fb.com. Visit Maps at Meta for more information.