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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 OpenStreetMap importer


The OpenStreetMap importer handles importing data from OpenStreetMap into Elasticsearch for use by Pelias.

It includes logic for filtering to select only data relevant for geocoding, transforming it to match the Pelias data model, and augmenting the data as required.


See Pelias software requirements

Clone and Install dependencies

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

$ git clone && cd openstreetmap;
$ npm install

Download data

The importer will accept any valid pbf extract you have, such as a full planet file (50GB+) from or You can use the included download script to obtain the desired pbf files as follows. In the configuration file you can specify which files are to be downloaded. They will all be downloaded to the imports.openstreetmap.datapath directory.

If no download sources are specified in the configuration, the entire planet file will be downloaded. Keep in mind this file is quite large.

$ PELIAS_CONFIG=<path-to-config> npm run download


In order to tell the importer the location of your downloads, temp space and environmental settings you will first need to create a ~/pelias.json file.

See the config documentation for details on the structure of this file. Your relevant config info for the openstreetmap module might look something like this:

  "imports": {
    "openstreetmap": {
      "download": [{
        "sourceURL": ""
      "datapath": "/mnt/pelias/openstreetmap",
      "leveldbpath": "/tmp",
      "import": [{
        "filename": "portland_oregon.osm.pbf"

Configuration Settings


This is the directory where the OSM importer will look for files to import. If configured it will also download files to this location.[0].sourceURL

A URL to download when the download script (in ./bin/download) is run. Will be downloaded to the datapath directory.


The OSM importer will look for a file with a name matching this value in the configured datapath directory when importing data.

If downloading from a remote URL, the filename must match the value in sourceURL.


This is the directory where temporary files will be stored in order to denormalize OSM ways and relations. In the case of a planet import it is best to have at least 100GB free.

Defaults to tmp.


By default, the OSM importer imports both venue records and addresses. If set to false, only address records will be imported.


If set to boolean true, venues with popularity below 0 (as determined by OSM tags) will be discarded. In practice, this affects records with tags such as disused, amenity:disused and abandoned

By default, or if set to any other value besides true, these records will be imported.

Administrative Hierarchy Lookup

OSM records often 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.

Running an import

This will start the import process. It may take a few minutes to load administrative data and begin processing the OSM PBF file, then you should see regular progress updates in the terminal.

$ npm start

How long does it take?

If all goes well, you should see between 6000-7000 records imported per second on a modern machine. A full planet install will import about 80 million records, whereas most city extracts will import at most a few thousand.

These counts are of records containing valid location names to search on, data which is not directly searchable by the end user, such as fire hydrants, lamp posts, etc is not imported.

If you are looking to run a planet-wide cluster like the one we provide for please see our documentation on full planet builds.


If you have any issues getting set up or the documentation is missing something, please open an issue here:


Please fork and pull request against upstream master on a feature branch.

Pretty please; provide unit tests and script fixtures in the test directory.

Code Linting

A .jshintrc file is provided which contains a linting config, usually your text editor will understand this config and give you inline hints on code style and readability.

These settings are strictly enforced when you do a git commit, you can execute git commit at any time to run the linter against your code.

Running Unit Tests

$ npm test

Running End-to-End Tests

These tests run the entire pipeline against a small PBF extract to assert that the individual units work as expected when wired together.

$ npm run end-to-end

Code Coverage

$ npm run coverage

Continuous Integration

CI tests every change against all supported Node.js versions.