pgRouting Notes

Install PostGIS and pgRouting

On Mac

The following will install pgRouting and its dependencies including PostGIS, and PostgreSQL if not installed:

brew install pgrouting

On Linux

(to add)

Install osm2pgrouting

osm2pgrouting is for importing OSM data into PostgreSQL database, and creating routable topology.

It is said that osm2pgrouting has limitation:

Can’t process “large” files, continents, big countries, or very large states.

For large files, we can use osm2po.

Install via homebrew (Mac)

brew install osm2pgrouting

Note that a mapconfig.xml file is at: /usr/local/Cellar/osm2pgrouting/[version]/share/osm2pgrouting/mapconfig.xml

Manually install the lastest version

(The following notes are based on version 2.1. Now with homebrew you can already install the latest version.)

  1. Download code from repo
  2. Modify CMakeLists.txt to install app to /usr/local/bin and other files to /usr/local/share
    • line 5 —> set (SHARE_DIR “/usr/local/share/osm2pgrouting”)
    • line 36 —> RUNTIME DESTINATION “/usr/local/bin”
  3. Add the following headers to src/way.h (otherwise there will be errors)

    #include <string>
    #include <sstream>
    #include <iostream>

  4. Build and install

    cmake -H. -Bbuild
    cd build/
    make install


Prepare database

Create new database if needed:

createdb routing

For each database that postgis and pgrouting are used, we should install corresponding extensions:

psql routing -c "create extension postgis"
psql routing -c "create extension pgrouting"

For test of installation:

psql routing -c "SELECT postgis_full_version()"
psql routing -c "SELECT pgr_version()"

Import OpenStreetMap data

OSM map data can be downloaded in many places. We are interested in the OSM XML format.

To import map data to database:

osm2pgrouting --file beijing_china.osm 
--conf /usr/local/Cellar/osm2pgrouting/[version]/share/osm2pgrouting/mapconfig.xml 
--dbname routing 
--username [username] 

If you are adding data, do not use flag --clean.

We could browse the tables with psql or pgAdmin.

psql mydb -c "dt"

Notes for tables

Two main tables:

  • ways: stores the edges
  • ways_vertices_pgr: stores the end nodes of edges

Meanings of ways columns length, length_m, cost, reverse_cost, cost_s, reverse_cost_s. According to post here:

  • length is length of the segment in degree units
  • cost and reverse_cost is the length in degree units. (include the negative values for wrong way)
  • length_m is in meters (there is no cost_m or reverse_cost_m)
  • cost_s and reverse_cost_s is in time: seconds units (using the maxspeed value that is in km/hr transforming it to meters/second and using the length_m)

Do routings in SQL

Now we can calculate routes with pgRouting. For example, to calculate one-to-one shortest path:

SELECT * FROM pgr_dijkstra(
    'SELECT gid as id, source, target, cost, reverse_cost FROM ways',
    100, 200,

pgRouting Manuals

Do routings in Python

I bet that You don’t want to write SQLs. Good news here if you like writing Python! I wrote a psycopgr Python module to encapsulate database connection (via psycopg2) and pgRouting callings. Here is a tutorial.

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