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A modular, open-source search engine for our world.

Pelias is a geocoder powered completely by open data, available freely to everyone.

Local Installation · Cloud Webservice · Documentation · Community Chat

What is Pelias?
Pelias is a search engine for places worldwide, powered by open data. It turns addresses and place names into geographic coordinates, and turns geographic coordinates into places and addresses. With Pelias, you’re able to turn your users’ place searches into actionable geodata and transform your geodata into real places.

We think open data, open source, and open strategy win over proprietary solutions at any part of the stack and we want to ensure the services we offer are in line with that vision. We believe that an open geocoder improves over the long-term only if the community can incorporate truly representative local knowledge.

Pelias OpenAddresses importer

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The OpenAddresses importer is used to process data from OpenAddresses for import into the Pelias geocoder.


Node.js is required. See Pelias software requirements for supported versions.


For instructions on setting up Pelias as a whole, see our getting started guide. Further instructions here pertain to the OpenAddresses importer only

git clone
cd openaddresses
npm install

Data Download

Use the imports.openaddresses.files configuration option to limit the download to just the OpenAddresses files of interest. Refer to the OpenAddresses data listing for file names.

npm run download


# show full command line options
node import.js --help

# run an import
npm start

Admin Lookup

OpenAddresses records do not contain information about which city, state (or other region like province), or country that they belong to. Pelias has the ability to compute these values from Who's on First data. For more info on how admin lookup works, see the documentation for pelias/wof-admin-lookup. By default, adminLookup is enabled. To disable, set imports.adminLookup.enabled to false in Pelias config.

Note: Admin lookup requires loading around 5GB of data into memory.


This importer can be configured in pelias-config, in the imports.openaddresses hash. A sample configuration file might look like this:

  "esclient": {
    "hosts": [
        "env": "development",
        "protocol": "http",
        "host": "localhost",
        "port": 9200
  "logger": {
    "level": "debug"
  "imports": {
    "whosonfirst": {
      "datapath": "/mnt/data/whosonfirst/",
      "importPostalcodes": false,
      "importVenues": false
    "openaddresses": {
      "datapath": "/mnt/data/openaddresses/",
      "files": [ "us/ny/city_of_new_york.csv" ]

The following configuration options are supported by this importer.


  • Required: yes
  • Default: ``

The absolute path to a directory where OpenAddresses data is located. The download command will also automatically place downloaded files in this directory.


  • Required: no
  • Default: []

An array of OpenAddresses files to be downloaded (full list can be found on the OpenAddresses results site). If no files are specified, the full planet data files (11GB+) will be downloaded.


  • Required: no
  • Default: false

If set to true, any missing files will immediately halt the importer with an error. Otherwise, the importer will continue processing with a warning. The data downloader will also continue if any download errors were encountered with this set to false.


  • Required: no
  • Default:

The location from which to download OpenAddresses data from. By default, the primary OpenAddresses servers will be used. This can be overrriden to allow downloading customized data. Paths are supported (for example,, but must not end with a trailing slash.

S3 buckets are supported. Files will be downloaded using aws-cli.

For example: s3://

Note: When using s3, you might need authentcation (IAM instance role, env vars, etc.)


  • Required: no

If imports.openaddresses.dataHost is an s3 bucket, this will add options to the command. For example: --profile my-profile

This is useful, for example, when downloading from s3://, as they require the requester to pay for data transfer. You can then use the following option: --request-payer

Parallel Importing

Because OpenAddresses consists of many small files, this importer can be configured to run several instances in parallel that coordinate to import all the data.

To use this functionality, replace calls to npm start with

npm run parallel 3 # replace 3 with your desired level of paralellism

Generally, a parallelism of 2 or 3 is suitable for most tasks.