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OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the whole world. It is made by people like you. OpenStreetMap allows you to view, edit and use geographical data in a collaborative way from anywhere on Earth. Maps from OpenStreetMap can be used in Navit.

Quick Start

  1. Go to Navit Planet Extractor (
  2. Zoom in and select the area that you are interested in. Use the 'Map Controls' on the right to switch between 'Navigation' and 'Select' modes. or use preselected areas:
  1. Hit Get Map!
  2. Move the downloaded map to the directory of your choice, and add it to the active the mapset (see Configuration) in navit.xml with a line similar to the following:
 <map type="binfile" enabled="yes" data="/path/to/your/map/osm_bbox.bin" />

Add OSM map to your mapset

Move the downloaded map to the directory of your choice, and add it to the active mapset (see Configuration) in navit.xml with a line similar to the following:

 <map type="binfile" enabled="yes" data="/path/to/your/map/my_downloaded_map.bin" />

Topographic Maps

Navit will display elevation/height lines but the required data is not included in most OSM derived maps.

Navit compatible maps with height lines can be created by feeding the output of Phyghtmap (, to Navit's maptool. Alternatively the SRTM data can be downloaded in osm.xml format, avoiding the Phygtmap step. The information can be either merged with OSM derived maps or used in a separate layer.

Many Garmin type maps such as also have the height lines information but routing will not work with them.

Processing OSM Maps Yourself

You can create your own Navit binfiles from OSM data very easily using maptool, the conversion program which installs alongside Navit. maptool can process both OpenStreetMap XML Data files (*.osm files) and OpenStreetMap Protobuf Data files (*.pbf files) Follow these steps to process your own maps.

Download your own OSM data

OSM data can be downloaded from a variety of sources. OpenStreetMap XML Data files are regular textfiles, easily editable in any text editor. OpenStreetMap Protobuf Data files are binary files, which take up less space (so are quicker to download and process) but are not editable.

  • OpenStreetMap XML Data
    • Geofabrik provides pre-processed OpenStreetMap XML Data files of almost all countries, and all continents. This method is probably the easiest way of downloading OpenStreetMap XML Data for an entire country or continent. Note that the OSM files are bzipped
    • hosts the complete data set (the whole world). You can use Osmosis to cut it into smaller chunks.
    • OpenStreetMap ReadOnly (XAPI) The API allows to get the data of a specific bounding box, so that download managers can be used. For example:
wget -O map.osm ",48.7,11.6,48.9"
    • OpenStreetMap (visual) allows you to select a small rectangular area and download the selection as OpenStreetMap XML Data.
  • OpenStreetMap Protobuf Data
    • Geofabrik provides pre-processed OpenStreetMap Protobuf Data files of almost all countries, and all continents.

Convert OSM data to Navit binfile

The following examples assume that you have installed Navit system-wide. If this is not the case, you will need to provide an absolute path to the maptool executable, which is in the navit/maptool folder.

Please also note, that maptool uses country multipolygon relations. So it's a good idea to include the whole country boundary to your dataset. You can use the josm editor to download the country boundary relation and save it as osm file. Then this file can be concatenated with your sub-country level excerpt.

From .osm
cat my_OSM_map.osm | maptool my_Navit_map.bin


maptool -i my_OSM_map.osm my_Navit_map.bin

Or for multiple OSM data files use the --dedupe-ways option to avoid duplication of way data if a way occurs multiple times in the OSM maps.

cat my_OSM_map1.osm my_OSM_map2.osm my_OSM_map3.osm | maptool --dedupe-ways my_Navit_map.bin
From .bz2
bzcat my_OSM_map.osm.bz2 | maptool my_Navit_map.bin
From .pbf

Functionality only available in SVN versions of Navit later than r3871, which does not include the official Navit release 0.2.0

maptool --protobuf -i my_OSM_map.osm.pbf my_Navit_map.bin

Processing the whole Planet

The OpenStreetMap wiki Planet.osm page lists mirrors where Planet.osm can be downloaded. There are also downloads of smaller areas such as the UK and parts of Europe. These smaller excerpts are a lot quicker to download and process.

In case you want the whole planet.osm (24GB in December 2012), it is even possible to process planet.osm. It will take about 7 hours , requires > 1GB of main memory and about 30 GB disk space for result and temp files - planet.bin is currently (as of December 2012) 9.6GB:

bzcat planet.osm.bz2 | maptool -6 my_Navit_map.bin

Please note -6 option (long name --64bit) used above. It should be used always if output bin file grows above 4GB, or generated file will not work at all. Using that option on smaller files slightly increases their size and makes them unreadable by some unzip versions.


  • To enable a map you have downloaded refer adding OSM map to navit.xml
  • If you don't see any map data in Navit (assuming your map is properly specified in navit.xml) using the Internal GUI click anywhere on the screen to bring up the menu. Click on "Actions" and then "Town". Type in the name of a town that should be within your map data. Select your town from the list that appears. This will bring up a sub-menu where you can click "View On Map". Note that if you have a GPS receiver you can also just wait till you get a satellite lock.
  • To avoid changing navit.xml if you update your maps and the maps have different file names use the wildcard (*.bin) in your navit.xml file. For example:
<map type="binfile" enabled="yes" data="/media/mmc2/maps/*.bin"/>

See also

Problems with OSM

Search doesn't work

Now maptool uses country boundary multipolygon relations for detecting town membership. Sometimes this isn't an option, because the boundaries are not closed or wrong.

When there's no multipolygon around the town, maptool will attempt to use is_in tags. It only knows about a few OSM is_in tags. Please help the osm community to fix the country boundary.

Search is totally b0rkz0r3d! Or, behaves very strangely vs other navigation software.

OK, so the country you're searching is listed in the table. Search probably will work. But be aware there are some quirks.

First, there is no "Search" button--searches will begin automatically as you fill in the gtk dialogue. Note there are minimum string length requirements. For instance the Town search only "activates" after 3 characters are typed, to prevent a huge number of results (which would take a lot of CPU time to find and display). If you really need to search for two character towns, you'll have to modify the navit source code.

Also, Navit's search process is hierarchical. Meaning you must search for and select a valid Country, then select a Town, then select a Street. Right now, zipcode and district searches are unimplemented; only Country, Town, Street and Housenumber actually work. Furthermore, there is no US State or County information; when searching for a US town, you may get hits from all over the US with planet.bin, and unfortunately, the states that each hit is in are not displayed. You basically have to use the Map button to examine them one-by-one, until you find the one you want (or, only travel to towns with unique names).

The dialogue sometimes moves the cursor between text boxes automatically. This can be pretty annoying.

Finally, there are a couple ways to crash (segfault) navit inside the search dialogue.

The developers are aware of these issues and plan to improve behaviour (this will happen faster if you send a patch!)

Search for my town works, but I can't find my street

Maptool since April, 2013 uses polygones and multipolygon relations tagged with place=town/city/village etc to find place border.

Please note, there anyway should be a node tagged with the same name as surrounding [multi]polygon for town to be findable. If town boundary is found, it will be used as a limit for the street search.

Otherwise, city limit will be guessed by the place rank (city/town/village). This will often lead to streets not being found or found in neighboring places.

With the code improvements [1] of April 2013, maptool attempts to use admin_level=8 boundary relations in Germany to find town borders, as these are not tagged with place=* tags in Germany. If your country doesn't use place=* tags on place boundaries, please report to trac which admin_level relations can be used to get town boundaries.

For some countries, we have established a correspondence of navit internal "State, county, district" terms to osm admin_level values. It makes it easier to find your town if there are many duplicate names without zip code. Report to trac if you have ideas how to extend this mapping to your country.

The following countries have a mapping to OSM admin_level for boundaries : Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Russian federation, Switzerland, the Netherlands

Routes go through a city instead around of it

This is because OSM doesn't provide any information whether a street is rural (can be driven with higher speeds) or not. In that case all roads are considered as in a city, which leads to using shorter routes through a city. The issue is in the OSM data, not Navit routing. You may want to fix the OSM data, in particular the speed limits (tag e.g. maxspeed=50) for inner-city roads, which are e.g. 50 km/h even when they are roads of higher order.

There are strange purple objects on the navit map

These are objects in OSM which have no representation in navit. This includes ways which have no tag and therefore are not visible in osmarender/mapnik maps. If you want to have tagged objects included in navit add an entry to the discussion what tags are used for this object and what item from Item_def.h should be used (suggest a new one together with how it should be rendered if no appropriate one exists).