openrouteservice version 8 - Experiences and insights from 10+ years of running and providing a global OSM-driven, free and open-source routing engine

Room: Auditorium 1

Sunday, 10:00
Duration: 20 minutes (plus Q&A)

no recording This event will not be recorded.



openrouteservice GitHub Code

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  • Julian Psotta

Starting as a small research project at the University of Heidelberg at around 2013, Openrouteservice has been steadily growing since, ensuring that now almost 120,000 users get free and equal access to basic mobility solutions every day. With the release of version 8, this conference talk will give you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at almost a decade of OpenStreetMap-driven open-source software development and delivery. Our successes and challenges, and how we stayed true to our values, providing free and open-source software as a non-profit organization.

With over ten years of history and over 120,000 users, openrouteservice has established itself as a cornerstone in the area of open-source and OSM-based routing engines. Driven by an increasing availability of road network data through the OpenStreetMap project, openrouteservice could steadily grow and evolve and find its unique spot as a good addition among other routing engines such as OSRM and Valhalla. The current portfolio of freely available services now ranges from standard routing, isochrones and vehicle optimization to custom routing algorithms designed especially for use cases such as relief operations in flooded or earthquake shaken areas.

Openrouteservice was created as part of a research project at the University of Heidelberg in 2013 and has since been steadily developed, maintained, and supported. In 2017, we launched our public and complimentary API, offering fair quotas for a diverse range of our mobility tools, including routing, isochrones, matrix, vehicle optimization, geocoding, and numerous other features. This was so well received that openrouteservice partnered up with the German “Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy” in 2018 to provide routing services to the German Federal Government.

In early 2019 the project was transferred to the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT), a non-profit and non-governmental research organization associated with the University of Heidelberg. The combination of non-profit, non-governmental, research, and free and open-source software allows us to make decisions based on social, ethical and environmental reasons without being influenced by commercial interests. The resulting stability and continued support already motivated over 600 other prominent non-profit organizations to install and use openrouteservice and build on top of our service APIs to run their missions. These missions encompass scenarios such as disaster relief efforts, supply chain management, last-mile logistics for health items, accessibility analysis to ensure equal access to health facilities, or planning the support areas for fire brigades.

With our latest release, version 8, we would like to take this opportunity to provide the OSM community, which we so heavily build on, with an insight into nearly a decade of OSM-driven open-source software development and delivery. What it takes to run and provide a global public API, and how we are navigating the current professionalisation push for open-source software to shift from formerly hacky self-hosted solutions to data centre ready deployments. We will also share details on how we deal and operate with the ever lasting questions about osm data quality, accuracy and explainability of our routing results.