Elk is a set of tools to generate map and topographical surfaces using open source data from Open Street Map and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) data from USGS. Elk was developed by Timothy Logan and works in a similar way to @IT, Meerkat GIS and Flux’s Site Extractor. Elk has recently been rewritten from scratch and as such this tutorial will focus on the latest version, 2.2.2.


Before we can import any data into Grasshopper, we first need to export the data from Open Street Map. Once you have found your area of interest, select export up the top (1), then manually select a different area (2), then export (3). This will create a file called ‘map.osm’ in your download folder which we can reference into Grasshopper.




Within Grasshopper we can use ‘File Path’ and ‘Location’ components to read the OSM data. The Location component converts the latitude and longitude locations point data based on the origin being the lower left corner. For example,…

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