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Valhalla Docker image by GIS • OPS

A hyper-flexible Docker image for the excellent Valhalla routing framework.

# download a file to custom_files and start valhalla
mkdir custom_files
wget -O custom_files/andorra-latest.osm.pbf
docker run -dt --name valhalla_gis-ops -p 8002:8002 -v $PWD/custom_files:/custom_files
# or let the container download the file for you
docker run -dt --name valhalla_gis-ops -p 8002:8002 -v $PWD/custom_files:/custom_files -e tile_urls=

This image aims at being user-friendly and most efficient with your time and resources. Once built, you can easily change Valhalla's configuration, the underlying OSM data graphs are built from, accompanying data (like Admin Areas, elevation tiles) or even pre-built graph tiles. Upon docker restart <container> those changes are taken into account via hashed files, and, if necessary, new graph tiles will be built automatically.


  • Easily switch graphs by mapping different volumes to containers.
  • Stores all relevant data (tiles, config, admin & timezone DBs, elevation) in the mapped volume.
  • Load and build from multiple URLs pointing to valid pbf files.
  • Load local data through volume mapping.
  • Supports auto rebuild on OSM file changes through hash mapping.
  • new: supports advanced user management to avoid sudo access to host-shared folders and files, see notes on user management

Dockerhub/Github Packages

NOTE, with the recent (17.03.2023) announcement of Docker to remove free "teams" (even those providing FOSS like us), we moved our images to Github packages. If it's not on Github you'll find an image version still on Dockerhub.

Our package registry provides the following:

  • stable release tags (e.g. 3.0.9)
  • latest, updated from Valhalla Github repository every Saturday morning

Note, you might have to do a docker login before.

Build the image

If you want to build the image yourself, be aware that you might need to adapt the base image in the Dockerfile to reflect the version of Valhalla you'd like to build. You can find the tags of the images here: On top of the Valhalla base image we support the following build arguments (see notes on user management):

  • VALHALLA_UID: specify the user UID for the container-internal valhalla user. Either leave this blank or, most usually, specify your current user's UID.
  • VALHALLA_GID: specify the group GID for the container-internal valhalla user. Either leave this blank or, most usually, specify the group's GID whose members you want to have write access to the container-generated files.

Note, before Valhalla version 3.1.0 the building scheme was completely different. Please contact if you need access to previous Valhalla versions via Docker.

Then it's a simple

docker build -t .

Environment variables

This image respects the following custom environment variables to be passed during container startup. Note, all variables have a default:

  • tile_urls: Add as many (space-separated) URLs as you like, e.g.
  • use_tiles_ignore_pbf: True uses a local tile.tar file and skips building. Default False.
  • force_rebuild: True forces a rebuild of the routing tiles. Default False.
  • build_elevation: True downloads elevation tiles which are covering the routing graph. Force will do the same, but first delete any existing elevation tiles. Default False.
  • build_admins: True builds the admin db needed for things like border-crossing penalties and detailed routing responses. Force will do the same, but first delete the existing db. Default False.
  • build_time_zones: True builds the timezone db which is needed for time-dependent routing. Force will do the same, but first delete the existing db. Default False.
  • build_transit: True will attempt to build transit tiles if none exist yet. Force will remove existing transit and routing tiles. Default False.
  • build_tar (since 29.10.2021/v3.1.5): True creates a tarball of the tiles including an index which allows for extremely faster graph loading after reboots. Force will do the same, but first delete the existing tarball. Default True.
  • server_threads: How many threads valhalla_build_tiles will use and valhalla_service will run with. Default is the value of nproc.
  • path_extension: This path will be appended to the container-internal /custom_files (and by extension to the docker volume mapped to that path) and will be the directory where all files will be created. Can be very useful in certain deployment scenarios. No leading/trailing path separator allowed. Default is ''.
  • serve_tiles: True starts the valhalla service. Default True.
  • tileset_name: The name of the resulting graph on disk. Very useful in case you want to build multiple datasets in the same directory. Default valhalla_tiles.
  • traffic_name: The name of the traffic.tar. Again, useful for serving mulitple traffic archives from the same directory. If empty, i.e. "", then no traffic archive will be built. Default traffic.tar.

Container recipes

For the following instructions to work, you'll need to have the image locally available already, either from Github Docker registry or from local.

Start a background container from that image:

docker run -dt -v $PWD/custom_files:/custom_files -p 8002:8002 --name valhalla

The important part here is, that you map a volume from your host machine to the container's /custom_files. The container will dump all relevant Valhalla files to that directory.

At this point Valhalla is running, but there is no graph tiles yet. Follow the steps below to customize your Valhalla instance in a heartbeat.

Note, alternatively you could create custom_files on your host before starting the container with all necessary files you want to be respected, e.g. the OSM PBF files.

Build Valhalla with transit

Valhalla supports reading raw GTFS feeds to build transit into its graph, see the docs for more details.

To enable multimodal routing, you'll need to map the directory which contains all the GTFS feeds to the container's /gtfs_feeds directory, e.g.

docker run -dt -v gtfs_feeds:/gtfs_feeds -v $PWD/custom_files:/custom_files -p 8002:8002 --name valhalla gisops/valhalla:latest

Build Valhalla with arbitrary OSM data

Just dump single or multiple OSM PBF files to your mapped custom_files directory, restart the container and Valhalla will start building the graphs:

cd custom_files
# Download Andorra & Faroe Islands
docker restart valhalla

If you change the PBF files by either adding new ones or deleting any, Valhalla will build new tiles on the next restart unless told not to (e.g. setting use_tiles_ignore_pbf=True).

Customize Valhalla configuration

If you need to customize Valhalla's configuration to e.g. increase the allowed maximum distance for the /route POST endpoint, just edit custom_files/valhalla.json and restart the container. It won't rebuild the tiles in this case, unless you tell it to do so via environment variables.

Run Valhalla with pre-built tiles

In the case where you have a pre-built valhalla_tiles.tar package from another Valhalla instance, you can also dump that to /custom_files/ and they're loaded upon container restart if you set the following environment variables: use_tiles_ignore_pbf=True, force_rebuild=False. Also, don't forget to set the md5 sum for your valhalla_tiles.tar in .file_hashes.txt.


If you want to verify that the image is working correctly, there's a small test script in ./tests. Note, it might require sudo, since it touches a few things generated by the container's valhalla user:



This project was first introduced by MichaelsJP.