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Countywide Building Outlines – 2008 – LARIAC 2 – Public Domain

November 1, 2012 – this data is now public

The Countywide building outline dataset contains building outlines (over 3,000,000) for all buildings in Los Angeles County, including building height, building area, and the parcel number (also known as building footprints).  This data was captured from stereo imagery as part of the LARIAC2 Project (2008 acquisition).

There are a number of sources, listed here:

  • City of Palmdale – building outlines from the LARIAC (2006) imagery – derived from orthogonal imagery.
  • City of Pasadena – building outlines from earlier imagery, updated with LARIAC2 (2008) imagery in 2008
  • City of Glendale – building outlines from earlier imagery, updated with LARIAC2 (2008) imagery in 2008
  • City of Los Angeles – building outlines from LARIAC2 (2008), stereo generated, for all buildings > 64 square feet
  • The rest of the County - building outlines from LARIAC2 (2008), stereo generated, for all buildings > 400 square feet

Most of the buildings in this dataset were generated using stereo imagery.  This means that the person capturing the buildings actually saw them in 3-D, and therefore was able to more accurately capture the location of the roof line, since this method eliminated the impacts of building lean (where the height of the building impacts its apparent location).  Basically – this is the most accurate method for capturing building outlines.  In many cases the location is more accurate than our aerial photography and parcel boundaries.


Building Areas

Data Access

This dataset is public as of November 1, 2012, and was created  under license with Pictometry/Sanborn.  County staff and LAR-IAC 2 Consortium members have full access to the data.  I have attached a layer file below that will give you access to the data as long as you are connected to the County network.


The Los Angeles Region Imagery Acquisition Consortium (LAR-IAC) Program is a collaborative acquisition program for digital aerial imagery data which has included the participation of 10 County departments, 30 municipalities, and four other public agencies.

The Consortium is a model for regional cooperation that improves the quality, access, and cost-effectiveness of high resolution digital aerial imagery. Knowledge transfer is increased through consortium program meetings, user groups, and various workshops that have been established in conjunction with the project. The imagery acquired will enable all participating jurisdictions to leverage this key geographic information asset for numerous decision support and business applications, thereby facilitating the effective and efficient delivery of services.

Purchasing LAR-IAC Data

Government agencies acquire LAR-IAC elevation data only through the County consortium.  Private companies can acquire LAR-IAC data as part of a project they are working on with a LAR-IAC consortium member, or by contacting the original data vendor, Pictometry/Sanborn.


Using GIS Data on this site

GIS Data downloaded from this site generally requires GIS software to view. Click here for a list of GIS Data Viewers

GIS data available on this website is provided AS IS - please read the GIS Data Portal Terms of Use

Data Field Descriptions
  • CODE - Building type (either Building or Couryard).  Note that in areas not covered by LAR-IAC courtyards are not tagged as such.
  • BLD_ID - unique building ID
  • HEIGHT - the height of the highest major feature of the building (not including roof objects like antennas and chimneys)
  • ELEV - the elevation of the building
  • AREA - the Roof area
  • SOURCE - the data source (either LARIAC2, Pasadena, Palmdale, or Glendale)
  • DATE - Date Captured (2006, 2008, or blank)
  • AIN - the Parcel ID number.  This was computed from the center of the building.  If a building covers two parcels, only one of the parcels will be captured.  If a building contains many parcels (Condominiums for example) only one of the parcels will be captured.

GIS Source Information
Feature Class Name: LARIAC_BUILDINGS_2008
Feature Dataset Name (if applicable):
Reference Date: 2008
Accuracy: Parcel
Update Frequency: Unknown
Access Constraints:Government

Contact Information
Steve Steinberg
Geographic Information Officer
County of Los Angeles
Internal Services Department
9150 E. Imperial Hwy, MS#3
33.916650, -118.132255
Downey, CA 90242
(562) 392-7126

27 comments to Countywide Building Outlines – 2008 – LARIAC 2 – Public Domain

  • […] Link to LARIAC2 Buildings (2008) – Click here to access […]

  • Hello,
    I am trying to download and open this data because I am taking a statistics class in college and for my final project I would like to use this data but when I download it, it doesn’t open, what format is this in? Do I need a special program to open it? I am on Windows 7.

  • […] Countywide Building Outli… 3,403 views […]

  • vondimes

    This has to be the most poorly organized website for finding and downloading GIS data. Wow.

  • bfrederick

    Hello Mark,

    What scale is the Height Data and Elevation Data in? Looking at the attributes I see numbers ranging from 2 to 4. I assumed meters but this seemed to look incorrect when I extruded it.

    Thanks for your help.


  • […] public data. It was developed by the Urban Policy Collective using several open data sets from the LA County GIS Data Portal and LA County Assessor Local Roll. (It’s inspired by a similar map of Portland, […]

  • […] Milwakie; Built:LA en el que se describe el crecimiento de la extensa Los Ángeles usando datos de LA County GIS Data Portal, y LA County Assessor Local Roll; Amsterdam growing over the time  que muestra el crecimiento de […]

  • TSackett

    Three of the buildings I looked at (two houses and an apartment building where I used to live) were just black spaces between other buildings. I have physically confirmed that these buildings still exist, but they don’t show up on this map.

  • […] the geographical data, and wanted to add buildings as well. So I found this map for the LA county link which does exactly what I need. But I noticed it’s in fact missing the whole Orange County […]

  • […] LA County, through its LARIAC program, has updated its 2008 building outlines to incorporate changes since the buildings were initially captured in 2008 (click here to view and download that data). […]

  • […] data either. I tried that and similar result. No walls. The data is LA building data from: Building Outlines for LA County | Los Angeles County GIS Data Portal I downloaded the link that is titled: "Download data (zipped shapefile format) – 581 Mb […]

  • gisteacher

    this is awesome Mark! Thanks!!

  • Hi there,

    The footprints are an expensive dataset to create, and we have a collaborative group of governments that paid a lot of money to create them. If the data were freely available we would run into the free-rider issue, where no one would help pay for creating and maintaining them. That’s why they are under license, but will eventually go into the public domain. I will have to contact Santa Monica and ask them to pull them off that site.

  • sarafdz

    I think it’s unfortunate that LA can’t share this dataset. Santa Monica GIS has the building footprints from 2008 available for free download (same source, I’m guessing). My project site is two blocks away from Santa Monica in West LA. So I’m out of luck.

  • MR253

    thank you for the quick response

  • The data is currently licensed from Pictometry, so we cannot provide it to you at this time. But you can work with Pictometry to acquire it, and there are converters that convert .shp formats to .tab.

  • MR253

    Hello, I was looking to get the building footprint file in a .shp file. I use MapInfo, which uses .tab. I can convert .shp but not layer files. Is there a way for this to happen?


  • Unfortunately we can’t make that available – and for the entire County or City any graphic representation would be so busy as to make it unuseable.

  • Arch100

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for reply reply. By LA figure ground plan I meant the building footprints of the city of Los Angeles in its entirety where buildings only are indicated on the map such as the examples on the top of this page. I do realize the data is under license but is there any other way of getting this data, it not need be a dwg(autocad) file which would be most ideal, it can also be a pdf file …?

    Thank you

  • Unfortunately not because it is a dataset that is under license. When you say the entire LA figure ground plan – what does that mean exactly? A map of the entire County?

  • Arch100

    Hi, I’m Architecture student from London and my studio unit has a task to draw the entire LA figure ground plan. I was wondering weather your building footprint of LA could be made available to us? It would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you.

  • I’m glad that we could help, and that you find good value from GIS.

  • bcs

    Hello Mark,

    Thanks so much for forwarding the my comment to Nick. He did get back to me quickly with some helpful resources. To an amateur like me, GIS is amazingly helpful to integrate maps and info into historical projects.
    Thanks again,

  • Hello – Mark is right, we made the Z-NET application and had a setting to mask the areas in incorporated cities; and this is by design. The application is intended to be used to find your planning and zoning information unincorporated areas only (like Altadena). You should contact the City of Pasadena for the information in their city (they have the same data).
    Building outlines is licensed data – see the information in the post above for rights to access. Good luck to you.

  • Hi Bruce,

    I have forwarded your comment to Nick Franchino, the GIS Manager for the Department of Regional Planning, who manages the Z-NET site. He can help answer your question, although I know that since Z-NET is specifically for unincorporated areas the masking is placed there intentionally.

  • bcs

    Anyone, (This may not be the forum for this)
    NOT a GIS person. Using county GIS maps, Z-NET in particular, for history project on Altadena/ Pasadena. Pasadena area is masked out of course. Previously when I would move the transparency button on the Z-NET map, it would unmasked Pasadena. Button does not enable Pasadena anymore. When I hold down cursor, Pasadena does come into focus. I do like Z map for the addresses and building footprints. I have used ArcGis which is pretty cool site. Have used google, too.
    Looking for a simple map with all of Altadena/Pasadena building footprints with addresses.
    Thank you for any suggestions,

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