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Version 0.7.60

Published: 2023-04-25

Table of content

What is new?

Since almost two weeks a new version of the Overpass API is out. This version addresses primarly those people that maintain an instance on a magnetic hard disk. The version has changed the data format of the backend such that updates run four times faster.

What is new?

For the production servers the daily count of read disk blocks have gone down from 90 to 100 million to 6 to 8 million blocks, and the consumed CPU time has gone down from about 6 hours to 45 minutes per day - for the about 1422 minute updates of a day. Over 99% of all minute updates now complete within 7 seconds. On the development server (this machine) we still have sometimes a lag, although much less than before - the reduction in read blocks also pays out here. This is the only public machine under my maintenance that runs on magnetic harddisks. So it is not as perfect as expected.

To facilitate the migration to the new database format, there is a migration tool from the 0.7.52 to 0.7.59 format to the 0.7.60 format, although no way back. From on, this migration assistant is automatically triggered from the apply_osc_to_db.sh and fetch_osc_and_apply.sh scripts. The migration runtime is expected to be somewhere between one and four hours.

Behind the scenes, this rewrites the files X_tags_global such that they get sorted in the order tag - location bucket - id instead of tag - id. So it is no longer necessary to sifer every minute through all the half-a-billion ids of ways with a building=yes tag. Instead, only the few blocks of building=yes way ids that are at changed locations need to be updated. The same is true of many other frequent tags, but to an order of magnitude less blocks and ids. The solution now found is simple, not optimal. But going for a perfect solution would have taken effort that is more urgently needed in other parts of the OpenStreetMap universe.

In addition, the changelog files are rewritten, because this is a cheap way to save some space. In the end, all the newly created files are moved in place in an atomic way. If the migration process is stopped, for whatever reason, ahead of time, just delete all the *next* files and re-run the process.


The background of this development priotization is that there are apparently many people running own instances. There are additional installation guides from ZeLonewolf and Kai Johnson, and you absolutely should read them if you plan to set up your own instance. I hope I can comment on them in a follow-up post here.

It widened my horizon on what kind of platforms people run instances.

The project had started on Linux and still is primarly run there. Historically quite early, already in 2011, I had the opportunity to install the Overpass API on FreeBSD. Later in 2013, user Malcom Herring tested on MacOS. So I'm proud that the software runs smoothly on three POSIX comliant platforms, with the usual trio of configure, make, and make install.

However, it started with questions about a Rasberry Pi to learn that people have much broader ideas where to run the software. There is a distinct instance to power the query feature on the osm.org main site. This one runs on magentic hard disks, lags sadly behind with the minute diffs, and gaves the reason to seek out for optimization potential. There are nowadays also instances set up with Ansible, within Docker, and in AWS in addition to traditional installation scenarios and those mentioned above.

There are more things where multiple people have got stuck, so my plans for the near future are to improve more of the now identified handling difficulties: making shtudown per SIGTERM possible, offering a single script to start all components, and to reduce the amount of data transferred by dlownload_clone by computing reconstructible data from the downloaded data intead of downloading the precomputed files.

Of course, there are also some features that deserve to be implemented and other substantial performance improvements, so please stay tuned for the next release on hopefully already a couple of months.