Digital Geography

21. June 2015

How far can you travel? Answers in QGIS with OSM route.

My latest posts on routing in QGIS were read from some guys at the University Heidelberg who provide the API for the routing. The contacted me with the simple call: “Let’s create a plugin”. And here it is: OSM route…

OSM route

OSM route is more or less a possibility to interact with the service behind the domain It lets you use addresses as input for your start- and end-point as well as an address to be on the way. This information is send to the API of and the response is converted into a polyline. Additionally I am adding the points to the map as a point shapefile. At the moment it only analysis the whole route and does not separate each segment of the route.

Interface of OSM route… simple as fcuk

For longer routes it took some time to convert the graph. Here are some measures for different routes (travel mode car, distance type: fastest):
  • 0.224828s Distance: 1045.4578 km from Berlin to Paris
  • 0.148206s Distance: 573.9421 km from Berlin to Warschau
  • 0.21995s Distance: 491.5858 km from Berlin to W├╝rzburg
  • 0.868936s Distance: 4494.0776 km from Berlin to Kairo
  • 1.128764s Distance: 7880.0434 km from Berlin to UlaanBaatar

routes between major cities in QGIS

Reachability/Service Times

But that’s not all! Additionally to routing you can use the plugin to calculate the reachability of places in a given time period. So called isochrones. Actually the plugin does not create lines but polygons. You can choose a time (maximum 30min as stated by the API provider) and a time for given intervals. So choosing 10 as time and 2 as intervals will provide 5 polygons for each min-interval (2min, 4min, 6min, …). This will give you the great opportunities to compare different locations in their “centrality” or to choose your next flat wisely if you have the latest point shapefile of club-locations or book stores in your desired area. It works on the input address only!

Berlin with its accessibility by car in 30min divided in 5min intervals

You can participate with any errors/issues via Github. It is available using the official plugin page of QGIS and via the “Manage and Install Plugins” dialog in QGIS. The plugin is marked as experimental ATM.

ATTENTION: The API does allow routing only on the continents Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. We are in contact regarding this issue.