[OSM-dev] Simpler binary OSM formats

Paul Norman penorman at mac.com
Wed Apr 29 05:03:14 UTC 2015

On 4/28/2015 4:35 PM, andrew byrd wrote:
> 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.
How does it work with diffs and history files?

PBF comes with relatively common support and libraries with a reasonable 
interface for most languages. How is this with your proposed format?

Parse times for an extract with osm2pgsql are 13s for PBF (334 MB) and 
18s for o5m (698 MB). I don't have any large o5m files sitting around so 
I can't check for a larger extract.

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