Import OSM into PostGIS
Go Protocol Buffer Shell Makefile
Latest commit c312bd2 Sep 19, 2016 @olt olt committed on GitHub Merge pull request #120 from rubenv/header-features
Expose feature fields in PBF header
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cache fix import of relations without way members when using -limitto Feb 9, 2016
cmd bump version for new packages Mar 11, 2016
config add -diff-state-before option to set initial diff sequence before Sep 15, 2014
database diff update relation_members Jan 8, 2016
diff fix import of relations without way members when using -limitto Feb 9, 2016
docs support for __any__: [__any__] mappings Jun 15, 2016
element Add new relation_members table type Jan 8, 2016
expire make go gettable Aug 4, 2014
geom remove -lgeos Jan 15, 2016
import_ Add new relation_members table type Jan 8, 2016
logging do not use \r in -quiet mode when printing status messages Feb 25, 2014
mapping support for __any__: [__any__] mappings Jun 15, 2016
parser Expose feature fields in PBF header Sep 13, 2016
proj make go gettable Aug 4, 2014
reader fix import of relations without way members when using -limitto Feb 9, 2016
stats make go gettable Aug 4, 2014
test refactor test names Jun 15, 2016
vendor switch from godep to vendor/ Mar 3, 2016
writer do not log NotFound errors when collecting relations for relation mem… Apr 27, 2016
.gitignore first docs Aug 11, 2014
.travis.yml travis: update go version Mar 10, 2016
AUTHORS add AUTHORS file Aug 27, 2015
LICENSE.bin document licenses of all dependencies Aug 27, 2015
LICENSE.deps add protobuf to LICENSE.deps Mar 3, 2016
Makefile use built-in vendor support instead of godeps Mar 8, 2016 remove glibc note and reference Mar 8, 2016
Vagrantfile allow to build specific revision Mar 8, 2016
example-mapping.json add new enumerate type to replace zorder Aug 25, 2015
example-mapping.yml update example mappings: null values and enumerate Aug 27, 2015
imposm3.go make go gettable Aug 4, 2014 allow to build specific revision Mar 8, 2016

Imposm 3

Imposm is an importer for OpenStreetMap data. It reads PBF files and imports the data into PostgreSQL/PostGIS. It can also update the DB from diff files.

It is designed to create databases that are optimized for rendering (i.e. generating tiles or for WMS services).

Imposm 3 is written in Go and it is a complete rewrite of the previous Python implementation. Configurations/mappings and cache files are not compatible with Imposm 2, but they share a similar architecture.

The development of Imposm 3 was sponsored by Omniscale. There are commercial licenses available for Imposm to support the long-term development of Imposm. There is also commercial support available from Omniscale.


  • High-performance
  • Diff support
  • Custom database schemas
  • Generalized geometries

In detail

  • High performance: Parallel from the ground up. It distributes parsing and processing to all available CPU cores.

  • Custom database schemas: Creates tables for different data types. This allows easier styling and better performance for rendering in WMS or tile services.

  • Unify values: For example, the boolean values 1, on, true and yes all become TRUE.

  • Filter by tags and values: Only import data you are going to render/use.

  • Efficient nodes cache: It is necessary to store all nodes to build ways and relations. Imposm uses a file-based key-value database to cache this data.

  • Generalized tables: Automatically creates tables with lower spatial resolutions, perfect for rendering large road networks in low resolutions.

  • Limit to polygons: Limit imported geometries to polygons from GeoJSON, for city/state/country imports.

  • Easy deployment: Single binary with only runtime dependencies to common libs (GEOS, ProtoBuf and LevelDB)

  • Route relations: Import all relation types including routes.

  • Support for table namespace (PostgreSQL schema)


Imposm 3 is much faster than Imposm 2 and osm2pgsql:

  • Makes full use of all available CPU cores
  • Bulk inserts into PostgreSQL with COPY FROM
  • Efficient intermediate cache for reduced IO load during ways and relations building

Some import times from a Hetzner EX 4S server (Intel i7-2600 CPU @ 3.40GHz, 32GB RAM and 2TB software RAID1 (2x2TB 7200rpm SATA disks)) for imports of a 20.5GB planet PBF (2013-06-14) with generalized tables:

  • 6:30h in normal-mode
  • 13h in diff-mode

osm2pgsql required between 2-8 days in a similar benchmark (slide 7) with a smaller planet PBF file (~15GB).

Benchmarks with SSD are TBD.

Import of Europe 11GB PBF with generalized tables:

  • 2:20h in normal-mode

Current status

Imposm 3 is used in production but there is no official 3.0 release yet.

Planned features

There are a few features we like to see in Imposm 3:

  • Automatic download and import of differential files
  • Support for other projections than EPSG:3857 or EPSG:4326
  • Improved integration with tile servers (expiration of updated tiles)
  • Custom field/filter functions
  • Official releases with binaries for more platforms

There is no roadmap however, as the implementation of these features largely depends on external funding. There are commercial licenses available for Imposm if you like to help with this development.



There are no official releases, but you find development builds at These builds are for x86 64bit Linux and require no further dependencies. Download, untar and start imposm3.


There are some dependencies:


You need Go >=1.5.

C/C++ libraries

Other dependencies are libleveldb, libgeos and protobuf. Imposm 3 was tested with recent versions of these libraries, but you might succeed with older versions. GEOS >=3.2 is recommended, since it became much more robust when handling invalid geometries. For best performance use HyperLevelDB as an in-place replacement for libleveldb.

Go libraries

Imposm3 uses the following Go libraries.

These libraries are already vendorized (i.e. the source code is included in the Imposm repository).


Create a Go workspace by creating the GOPATH directory for all your Go code, if you don't have one already:

mkdir -p go
cd go
export GOPATH=`pwd`

Then you need to enable GO15VENDOREXPERIMENT, if you are using Go 1.5. You can skip this if you are using 1.6 or higher:


Get the code and install Imposm 3:

go get
go install

Done. You should now have an imposm3 binary in $GOPATH/bin.

Go compiles to static binaries and so Imposm 3 has no runtime dependencies to Go. Just copy the imposm3 binary to your server for deployment. The C/C++ libraries listed above are still required though.

See for instruction on how to build binary packages for Linux.


imposm3 has multiple subcommands. Use imposm3 import for basic imports.

For a simple import:

imposm3 import -connection postgis://user:password@host/database \
    -mapping mapping.json -read /path/to/osm.pbf -write

You need a JSON file with the target database mapping. See example-mapping.json to get an idea what is possible with the mapping.

Imposm creates all new tables inside the import table schema. So you'll have import.osm_roads etc. You can change the tables to the public schema:

imposm3 import -connection postgis://user:passwd@host/database \
    -mapping mapping.json -deployproduction

You can write some options into a JSON configuration file:

    "cachedir": "/var/local/imposm3",
    "mapping": "mapping.json",
    "connection": "postgis://user:password@localhost:port/database"

To use that config:

imposm3 import -config config.json [args...]

For more options see:

imposm3 import -help

Note: TLS/SSL support is disabled by default due to the lack of renegotiation support in Go's TLS implementation. You can re-enable encryption by setting the PGSSLMODE environment variable or the sslmode connection option to require or verify-full, eg: -connect postgis://host/dbname?sslmode=require. You will need to disable renegotiation support on your server to prevent connection errors on larger imports. You can do this by setting ssl_renegotiation_limit to 0 in your PostgreSQL server configuration.


The latest documentation can be found here:


There is a mailing list at Google Groups for all questions. You can subscribe by sending an email to:

For commercial support contact Omniscale.


The source code is available at:

You can report any issues at:


Imposm 3 is released as open source under the Apache License 2.0. See LICENSE.

All dependencies included as source code are released under a BSD-ish license except the YAML package. The YAML package is released as LGPL3 with an exception that permits static linking. See LICENSE.deps.

All dependencies included in binary releases are released under a BSD-ish license except the GEOS package. The GEOS package is released as LGPL3 and is linked dynamically. See LICENSE.bin.


Unit tests

To run all unit tests:

make test-unit

System tests

There are system test that import and update OSM data and verify the database content. You need osmosis to create the test PBF files. There is a Makefile that creates all test files if necessary and then runs the test itself.

make test

Call make test-system to skip the unit tests.

WARNING: It uses your local PostgeSQL database (imposm3testimport, imposm3testproduction and imposm3testbackup schema). Change the database with the standard PGDATABASE, PGHOST, etc. environment variables.