Getting Started#

Get Started in 4 Steps#

  1. Install OSMnx by following the Installation guide.

  2. Read “Introducing OSMnx” below on this page.

  3. Work through the OSMnx Examples gallery for step-by-step tutorials and sample code.

  4. Consult the User Reference for complete details on using the package.

Finally, if you’re not already familiar with NetworkX and GeoPandas, make sure you read their user guides as OSMnx uses their data structures and functionality.

Introducing OSMnx#

This quick introduction explains key concepts and the basic functionality of OSMnx.


OSMnx is pronounced as the initialism: “oh-ess-em-en-ex”. It is built on top of NetworkX and GeoPandas, and interacts with OpenStreetMap APIs to:

  • Download and model street networks or other infrastructure anywhere in the world with a single line of code

  • Download geospatial features (e.g., political boundaries, building footprints, grocery stores, transit stops) as a GeoDataFrame

  • Query by city name, polygon, bounding box, or point/address + distance

  • Model driving, walking, biking, and other travel modes

  • Attach node elevations from a local raster file or web service and calculate edge grades

  • Impute missing speeds and calculate graph edge travel times

  • Simplify and correct the network’s topology to clean-up nodes and consolidate complex intersections

  • Fast map-matching of points, routes, or trajectories to nearest graph edges or nodes

  • Save/load network to/from disk as GraphML, GeoPackage, or .osm XML file

  • Conduct topological and spatial analyses to automatically calculate dozens of indicators

  • Calculate and visualize street bearings and orientations

  • Calculate and visualize shortest-path routes that minimize distance, travel time, elevation, etc

  • Explore street networks and geospatial features as a static map or interactive web map

  • Visualize travel distance and travel time with isoline and isochrone maps

  • Plot figure-ground diagrams of street networks and building footprints

The OSMnx Examples gallery contains tutorials and demonstrations of all these features, and package usage is detailed in the User Reference.


You can configure OSMnx using the settings module. Here you can adjust logging behavior, caching, server endpoints, and more. You can also configure OSMnx to retrieve historical snapshots of OpenStreetMap data as of a certain date. Refer to the FAQ below for server usage limitations.

Geocoding and Querying#

OSMnx geocodes place names and addresses with the OpenStreetMap Nominatim API. You can use the geocoder module to geocode place names or addresses to lat-lon coordinates. Or, you can retrieve place boundaries or any other OpenStreetMap elements by name or ID.

Using the features and graph modules, as described below, you can download data by lat-lon point, address, bounding box, bounding polygon, or place name (e.g., neighborhood, city, county, etc).

Urban Amenities#

Using OSMnx’s features module, you can search for and download geospatial features (such as building footprints, grocery stores, schools, public parks, transit stops, etc) from the OpenStreetMap Overpass API as a GeoPandas GeoDataFrame. This uses OpenStreetMap tags to search for matching elements.

Modeling a Network#

Using OSMnx’s graph module, you can retrieve any spatial network data (such as streets, paths, rail, canals, etc) from the Overpass API and model them as NetworkX MultiDiGraphs.

MultiDiGraphs are nonplanar directed graphs with possible self-loops and parallel edges. Thus, a one-way street will be represented with a single directed edge from node u to node v, but a bidirectional street will be represented with two reciprocal directed edges (with identical geometries): one from node u to node v and another from v to u, to represent both possible directions of flow. Because these graphs are nonplanar, they correctly model the topology of interchanges, bridges, and tunnels. That is, edge crossings in a two-dimensional plane are not intersections in an OSMnx model unless they represent true junctions in the three-dimensional real world.

The graph module uses filters to query the Overpass API: you can either specify a built-in network type or provide your own custom filter with Overpass QL. Refer to the graph module’s documentation for more details. Under the hood, OSMnx does several things to generate the best possible model. It initially creates a 500m-buffered graph before truncating it to your desired query area, to ensure accurate streets-per-node stats and to attenuate graph perimeter effects. It also simplifies the graph topology as discussed below.

Topology Clean-Up#

The simplification module automatically processes the network’s topology from the original raw OpenStreetMap data, such that nodes represent intersections/dead-ends and edges represent the street segments that link them. This takes two primary forms: graph simplification and intersection consolidation.

Graph simplification cleans up the graph’s topology so that nodes represent intersections or dead-ends and edges represent street segments. This is important because in OpenStreetMap raw data, ways comprise sets of straight-line segments between nodes: that is, nodes are vertices for streets’ curving line geometries, not just intersections and dead-ends. By default, OSMnx simplifies this topology by discarding non-intersection/dead-end nodes while retaining the complete true edge geometry as an edge attribute. When multiple OpenStreetMap ways are merged into a single graph edge, the ways’ attribute values are collapsed into a single edge attribute value if they are all the same, or a list of unique values if any of them differ.

Intersection consolidation is important because many real-world street networks feature complex intersections and traffic circles, resulting in a cluster of graph nodes where there is really just one true intersection as we would think of it in transportation or urban design. Similarly, divided roads are often represented by separate centerline edges: the intersection of two divided roads thus creates 4 nodes, representing where each edge intersects a perpendicular edge, but these 4 nodes represent a single intersection in the real world. OSMnx can consolidate such complex intersections into a single node and optionally rebuild the graph’s edge topology accordingly.

Converting, Projecting, Saving#

OSMnx can convert a MultiDiGraph to a MultiGraph if you prefer an undirected representation of the network, or to a DiGraph if you prefer a directed representation without any parallel edges. It can also convert a MultiDiGraph to/from GeoPandas node and edge GeoDataFrames. The nodes GeoDataFrame is indexed by OSM ID and the edges GeoDataFrame is multi-indexed by u, v, key just like a NetworkX edge. This allows you to load arbitrary node/edge ShapeFiles or GeoPackage layers as GeoDataFrames then model them as a MultiDiGraph for graph analysis.

You can easily project your graph to different coordinate reference systems using the projection module. If you’re unsure which CRS you want to project to, OSMnx can automatically determine an appropriate UTM CRS for you.

Using the io module, you can save your graph to disk as a GraphML file (to load into other network analysis software) or a GeoPackage (to load into other GIS software). Use the GraphML format whenever saving a graph for later work with OSMnx.

Working with Elevation#

The elevation module lets you automatically attach elevations to the graph’s nodes from a local raster file or a web service like the Google Maps Elevation API. You can also calculate edge grades (i.e., rise-over-run) and analyze the steepness of certain streets or routes.

Network Statistics#

You can use the stats module to calculate a variety of geometric and topological measures as well as street network bearing/orientation statistics. These measures define streets as the edges in an undirected representation of the graph to prevent double-counting bidirectional edges of a two-way street. You can easily generate common stats in transportation studies, urban design, and network science, including intersection density, circuity, average node degree (connectedness), betweenness centrality, and much more.

You can also use NetworkX directly to calculate additional topological network measures.


The speed module can impute missing speeds to the graph edges. This imputation can obviously be imprecise, and the user can override it by passing in arguments that define local speed limits. It can also calculate free-flow travel times for each edge.

The distance module can find the nearest node(s) or edge(s) to coordinates using a fast spatial index. The routing module can solve shortest paths for network routing, parallelized with multiprocessing, using different weights (e.g., distance, travel time, elevation change, etc).


You can plot graphs, routes, network figure-ground diagrams, building footprints, and street network orientation rose diagrams (aka, polar histograms) with the plot module. You can also explore street networks, routes, or geospatial features as interactive Folium web maps.

More Info#

All of this functionality is demonstrated step-by-step in the OSMnx Examples gallery, and usage is detailed in the User Reference. More feature development details are in the Changelog. Consult the Further Reading resources for additional technical details and research.

Frequently Asked Questions#

How do I install OSMnx? Follow the Installation guide.

How do I use OSMnx? Check out the step-by-step tutorials in the OSMnx Examples gallery.

How does this or that function work? Consult the User Reference.

What can I do with OSMnx? Check out recent projects that use OSMnx.

I have a usage question. Please ask it on StackOverflow.

Are there any usage limitations? Yes. Refer to the Nominatim Usage Policy and Overpass Commons documentation for usage limitations and restrictions that you must adhere to at all times. If you use an alternative Nominatim/Overpass instance, ensure you understand and obey their usage policies. If you need to exceed these limitations, consider installing your own hosted instance and setting OSMnx to use it.