[OSM-dev] Simpler binary OSM formats

andrew byrd andrew at fastmail.net
Tue Apr 28 23:35:29 UTC 2015

Hello OSM developers,

Over the last few years I have worked on several pieces of software that
consume and produce the PBF format. I have always appreciated the
advantages of PBF over XML for our use cases, but over time it became
apparent to me that PBF is significantly more complex than would be
necessary to meet its objectives of speed and compactness.

Based on my observations about the effectiveness of various techniques
used in PBF and other formats, I devised an alternative OSM
representation that is consistently about 8% smaller than PBF but
substantially simpler to encode and decode. This work is presented in an
article at http://conveyal.com/blog/2015/04/27/osm-formats/. I welcome
any comments you may have on this article or on the potential for a
shift to simpler binary OSM formats.

Regards, Andrew Byrd
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