Getting the Microsoft US Building Footprints into ArcGIS Pro

Update: there’s now an easier way to get this data into ArcGIS Pro. Please see the script that is linked in Arthur’s comment here.

Last week, Microsoft Released 125 million Building Footprints in the US as Open Data. This is a pretty exciting release of open geospatial data.

If you go to the data download page and grab one of the state json files, if you try to load this into ArcGIS Pro with the JSON to Features tool, it’s currently failing for me. I’m not totally sure why it’s failing – maybe because of the format or size of the JSON file. To get around this issue, let’s convert the GeoJSON file to Esri JSON features before importing.

To do this conversion, we’ll use the arcgis-to-geojson-utils tool.

Prerequisite: NodeJS installed.

  1. Create a new folder
  2. In that new folder, save one of the JSON files from the data source. I recommend a small file like Washington DC for your first run. (** more on that below)
  3. In that new folder, open a terminal and run: npm init … and answer all the questions
  4. Then run: npm install --save @esri/arcgis-to-geojson-utils
  5. Create a new file: index.js and put in the following script:

… replacing “FILENAME.json” on line 4 with the name of your input file that you downloaded above.

Finally, in your terminal run: node index.js. This will save a file called “out.json” that you can then input into the JSON to Features tool in ArcGIS Pro to get access to this data in Pro.

ArcGIS Pro with building footprints

Note (**) that this script will only work for smaller sized files. The large state files that are greater than 200MB, you may need to split those up and run them separately, or write a script that loops through the JSON one line at a time. If you do this and want to share, please post in the comments below.

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