Web-GUI for OS Routing Machine

by Pascal Neis - Published: May 15th, 2011

During my Easter holidays I created a web-fronted for Dennis Luxen’s Open Source Routing Machine (OSRM Project). The OSRM project (http://project-osrm.org/) is in my opinion probably the fastest Open Source software which is using data from the OpenStreetMap project. “In contrast to most routing servers OSRM does not use an A* variant to compute shortest path, but Contraction Hierarchies.” You can read a little bit more about Contraction Hierarchies in Wikipedia.

The website that I created contains in its first version an address-search (geocoding) and of course routeplanning. For the geocoding I integrated the Nominatim search from OpenStreetMap. You can find a How-To on the MapQuest-site. Unfortunately the OSRM routing service covers only most parts of Europe for now. The current version of my web-fronted can be found here: http://map.project-osrm.org

Anyway, perhaps some of you would say: “A website with OSM routing? This is nothing new and we actually did have something like that before …” I agree, BUT I think none of them is as fast and can handle as many requests, try it out! Through its really good route calculation performance the route can also be changed or adjusted by dragging the start- and destination point (I think you know this from other websites). The following video shows the great functionality:

WebGUI for Project-OSRM from Pascal Neis

Further does the new website automatically generalize the desired route on the server side for smaller map scales. This reduces the traffic between server and client and less data needs to be visualized by the client which saves system resources. Additionally I created the following feature: If a calculated route contains a segment that has no name, it is going to be displayed in a different color. I think this is a great feature to map missed road names! The next picture shows such a route. You can find the complete sources of the website in the OSRM Sourceforge project folder.

There is a lot of discussion on OpenStreetMap.org about a Routing-Integration. In my opinion there should be two routing options available on the OSM start page. One option that provides a very fast routing such as OSRM and another option that is easy to adjust and configure and is able to work with different OSM tags. A combination of both will probably not be available soon. Bigger companies such as “G****E” offer high performance routing applications to their users. Thus it should also be a desirable goal for the new OSM software to get to the same performance level that the users are familiar with from other websites. I don’t think that an integration of ”Non-Open-Source Routing Software” such as provided by CloudMade or Mapquest is a good idea. It still should be an Open Source App after all. But this limits the selection to OSRM, YOURS, Routino and Roadeeno. For now OpenRouteService is not completely Open Source.

So *if* we add routing to the OSM main website I would vote for a fast-route-planning software e.g. by the OSRM project. Hence we must only search for a preferably configurable solution, what would be your suggestion?

thx @ Dennis L.: Continue with your great work!
thx @ Frederik (Geofabrik) for supporting the OSRM Project with a VM for hosting
thx @ *Fab* for the video
and finally: thx @ maɪˈæmɪ Dennis :)