Routing on

Good news for OpenStreetMap: the main website now has A-to-B routing (directions) built in to the homepage! This will be huge for the OSM project. Kudos to Richard Fairhurst and everyone who helped get this up and running.


You might be thinking, “Why would this be huge? Isn’t it just a feature that other map websites have had for years now?” Well, the first thing to note is that the philosophy of OpenStreetMap is not to offer a one-stop-shop on our main website, but to create truly open data to empower others to do great things with it. So there has already been fantastic OSM-based travel routing for many years, on excellent websites such as OSRM, Mapquest, Graphhopper, Cyclestreets, Komoot,… the list goes on and on.

But all of those things are on other websites and apps, so people don’t always realise that OpenStreetMap has this power. What this latest development has done is really neat: the OSM website offers directions which are actually provided by third-party systems, but they are included in the main site via some crafty JavaScript coding. So as well as being really handy in itself to have directions available, it helps “first glancers” to see all the things they can do with OSM.

But that’s not what makes it huge.

What makes it huge is the difference it will make to OpenStreetMap’s data by creating a virtuous feedback loop. One of the main reasons we show a “slippy map” on the OpenStreetMap homepage is because people can look at it, see a bridge that needs naming or a building to add, click “Edit” and fix it straight away. That feedback loop is what allowed OpenStreetMap to build up what is now the most complete map of many regions around the world.

But we have a saying: “what gets rendered, gets mapped” – meaning that often you don’t notice a bit of data that needs tweaking unless it actually shows up on the map image. Lots of things aren’t shown on our default rendering, so the feedback loop offers less incentive for people to get them correct. And that goes doubly for things that you never “see” on the map – subtle things like “no left turn” at a particular junction, or “busses only” access on a tiny bit of road, or tricky data issues like when a footpath doesn’t quite join a road that it should join on to. Now that people can see a recommended route directly on the OSM homepage, they have an incentive to quickly pop in and fix little issues like that. The end effect will be OSM’s data going up one more level in terms of its quality for routing. This will empower everyone to do great things with geographic data and getting from A to B.

So find yourself some directions today!


Blog post by Dan Stowell

This post is also available in: Japanese Croatian

85 thoughts on “Routing on

  1. Simon

    This IS huge, the time I lost looking on the wiki for a gold OSM route planner… You also didn’t mention other maps track their users using the route planner, more bonus points for OSM!

  2. Gorbin

    Looks great! However, it doesn’t appear to be compatible with HTTPS. Hopefully that can be fixed.

  3. Pingback: 1p – Routing on – Exploding Ads

  4. Pingback: Routing on |

  5. Richard Welty

    this is great. i’d love to be able to use this with embedded maps, with the destinations preloaded. are there any examples of how to do this available?

  6. kerosin

    Cool, but not working on HTTPS (Chrome on Ubuntu):
    Mixed Content: The page at ‘’ was loaded over HTTPS, but requested an insecure XMLHttpRequest endpoint ‘’. This request has been blocked; the content must be served over HTTPS.application-0f5ee69919c3142a42817677c1a47732.js:3 ia.ajaxTransport.sendapplication-0f5ee69919c3142a42817677c1a47732.js:3 ia.extend.ajaxapplication-0f5ee69919c3142a42817677c1a47732.js:3 ia.each.ia.(anonymous function)application-0f5ee69919c3142a42817677c1a47732.js:3 ia.extend.getJSONindex-cade27a28817ffb4523202d31559e014.js:2 o.getGeocodeindex-cade27a28817ffb4523202d31559e014.js:2 o.setValueindex-cade27a28817ffb4523202d31559e014.js:2 (anonymous function)application-0f5ee69919c3142a42817677c1a47732.js:2 ia.event.dispatchapplication-0f5ee69919c3142a42817677c1a47732.js:2 ia.event.add._.handle

    1. ToeBee

      +1 for miles. It’s silly that we are still using them around here… but we ARE still using them 🙂

      1. foss

        I’d find it a great statement to simply ignore miles. This stupid system has been going on for much too long anyways 😛

  7. Max

    Genuinely awesome step. Congrats to all involved! On a totally unrelated note though – is there any bug tracker or equivalent for OSRM? I can’t find any, and it’s taking some seriously atrocious shortcuts…

  8. Pingback: OpenStreetMap 支援路線規劃 | Gea-Suan Lin's BLOG

  9. Kai

    Great news,

    does it also get the current position via browser API to update directions in real time? That would give a platform independent navigation system…

  10. Pingback: 開放街圖網站啟用路徑導航功能,點對點送你到想去的地方 | TechNews 科技新報

  11. Pingback: This is why we need more people editing OpenStreetMap | Steven Can Plan

  12. Pingback: OSM: Mit Routing! | geoObserver

  13. sadface

    Why one can’t right click to see a context menu and add the start and finish POI and start routing between those? Instead of searching

    1. Jorge

      This. I can’t seem to properly locate addresses (street and number) in my city (Valencia, Spain) using the search prompt.

    2. Richard Fairhurst

      The usual reason for “why can’t I” in an open source project is “because you haven’t coded it yet”. 🙂

      That said, if you want to start at a given place on the map instead of searching, just drag the red/green markers to the appropriate place.

      1. Dan

        Actually, we don’t have any right-click-context-menu yet BUT BUT BUT you can drag the green or red markers out of the search box and drop them wherever you like. You can also drag them around once a route is placed.

  14. Pingback: dzięki funkcji wyznaczania tras staje się jeszcze bardziej wartościową usługą - AntyWeb

  15. Pingback: OpenStreetMap Finally Does Directions, and That's Amazing | SEO News | Technology News | Insurance News |

  16. Pingback: OpenStreetMap Finally Does Directions, and That’s Amazing | Tyler Alcorn

  17. Pingback: OpenStreetMap Finally Does Directions, and That’s Amazing | endlessness

  18. Chaos

    If it would be somehow possible to display the last update of data on which the routing engines currently work on, this would be vastly useful for the feedback-loop use cases.

  19. Pingback: OpenStreetMap Finally Does Directions, and That’s Amazing | Electro

  20. Pingback: Routing on | OpenStreetMap Blog Finaly o/

  21. Pingback: OpenStreetMap adds directions to its site, hopes you’ll visit to improve its maps - Prague City Magazine / Beat BlogPrague City Magazine / Beat Blog | human views on the ins and outs of prague, czech republic

  22. Pingback: OpenStreetMap Finally Does Directions, and That’s Amazing | MasToro

  23. Pingback: OpenStreetMap Finally Does Directions, and That's Amazing | TravelFeed

  24. Pingback: OpenStreetMap mit Routen

  25. Pingback: OpenStreetMap, the Wikipedia of maps, now offers A-to-B directions on its site to solicit more edits | BawlBuster

  26. Pingback: Los mapas libres y gratuitos de OpenStreetMap ya ofrecen rutas | E7radio noticias, de Venezuela y el mundo

  27. Pingback: OpenStreetMap, the Wikipedia of maps, now offers A-to-B directions on its site to solicit more edits | SomeLearning

  28. Pingback: OpenStreetMap Gets Routing on its Main Website -

  29. Pingback: A first look at OpenStreetMap's new directions feature - gHacks Tech News

  30. Pingback: OpenStreetView, OneNote, BillionGraves, More: Afternoon Buzz, February 17th, 2015 | ResearchBuzz

  31. Pingback: OpenStreetMap muestra ahora rutas entre dos puntos - QuickIdeas

  32. Russell Nelson

    Awesome, Richard (et al)! But we’re gonna need some guidance to explain why a routing might be sub-optimal. For example, I just found:
    o access=no on a highway that was under construction and nobody removed it after the road opened.
    o A separated road with one of the ways marked one-way in the wrong direction.
    o An admittedly-unusual case of a motorway with two, three, or four lanes (total) as appropriate. Where it’s two and three lanes, it doesn’t have separate ways, so needs to be marked oneway=no.

    A non-expert mapper is definitely going to struggle to find these without some hinting.

  33. Pingback: OpenStreetMap muestra ahora rutas entre dos puntos | - Las noticias de tecnología a tu alcance.

  34. Russell Nelson

    Also …. we need to set people’s expectations for how long it will take an edit to make its way into the routing database. I fixed an access=no problem, and … it didn’t immediately fix the routing. I’m pretty sure that’s the cause of the problem, but how do we reassure people who are new to mapping and OSM that they have fixed the problem?

  35. Pingback: SearchCap: SEO Support, SEO Mistakes & DuckDuckGo Answers

  36. Pingback: OpenStreetMap Now Offers A to B Directions (Routing) - Google Directions

  37. Pingback: Links 17/2/2015: TripleO, Pivotal | Techrights

  38. Pingback: OpenStreetMap Finally Does Directions | TravelFeed

  39. Marián Kyral

    it seems there is some issue with accents.

    Eg: for “Jižná” it will not return expected:
    “Vesnice Jižná, okres Jindřichův Hradec, Jihočeský kraj, Jihozápad, Česko”

    “Město Jieznas, Jiezno seniūnija, Prienų rajonas, Kaunas County, Litva”

    I have to enter “Jižná, Česká republika” to get the expected result.

  40. xkomczax

    +1 for bug trackers
    +1 for clickable “from” and “to” buttons
    – another think I would appreciate is “drive through” button(s) – addable by clicking/draging the route and dropped on desired way
    – add possibility for changing route provider/means of transport by simple middle button rolling over the “providers menu”

    Anyway, it is really interesting to see how different providers route differently. For instance MapQuest is routing on foot through ford=yes (both through waterway=stream as well as waterway=river), GraphHopper not. Neither provider is routing through ford=yes on bicycle 😀

  41. Pingback: SearchCap: SEO Support, SEO Mistakes & DuckDuckGo Answers - ElectronicCigaretteCanada | Canadian Ecigarette Ecig

  42. Pingback: OpenStreetMap can give directions to your destination | Dvavlci

  43. Pingback: OpenStreetMap can give directions to your destination | PlayPh

  44. Pingback: OpenStreetMap can give directions to your destination | Taiwan NO 01

  45. Pingback: OpenStreetMap can give directions to your destination | insurance

Comments are closed.