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Basic Installation

This page contains generic installation instructions for Nominatim and its prerequisites. There are also step-by-step instructions available for the following operating systems:

These OS-specific instructions can also be found in executable form in the vagrant/ directory.

Users have created instructions for other frameworks. We haven't tested those and can't offer support.




For larger installations you must have PostgreSQL 11+ and PostGIS 3+ otherwise import and queries will be slow to the point of being unusable. Query performance has marked improvements with PostgreSQL 13+ and PostGIS 3.2+.

For running Nominatim:

  • PostgreSQL (9.6+ will work, 11+ strongly recommended)
  • PostGIS (2.2+ will work, 3.0+ strongly recommended)
  • osm2pgsql (1.8+, optional when building with CMake)
  • Python 3 (3.7+)

Furthermore the following Python libraries are required:

These will be installed automatically, when using pip installation.

When using legacy CMake-based installation:

For running continuous updates:

For running the Python frontend:

For running the legacy PHP frontend:

  • PHP (7.3+)
  • PHP-pgsql
  • PHP-intl (bundled with PHP)

For dependencies for running tests and building documentation, see the Development section.


A minimum of 2GB of RAM is required or installation will fail. For a full planet import 128GB of RAM or more are strongly recommended. Do not report out of memory problems if you have less than 64GB RAM.

For a full planet install you will need at least 1TB of hard disk space. Take into account that the OSM database is growing fast. Fast disks are essential. Using NVME disks is recommended.

Even on a well configured machine the import of a full planet takes around 2.5 days. When using traditional SSDs, 4-5 days are more realistic.

Tuning the PostgreSQL database

You might want to tune your PostgreSQL installation so that the later steps make best use of your hardware. You should tune the following parameters in your postgresql.conf file.

shared_buffers = 2GB
maintenance_work_mem = (10GB)
autovacuum_work_mem = 2GB
work_mem = (50MB)
synchronous_commit = off
max_wal_size = 1GB
checkpoint_timeout = 60min
checkpoint_completion_target = 0.9
random_page_cost = 1.0
wal_level = minimal
max_wal_senders = 0

The numbers in brackets behind some parameters seem to work fine for 128GB RAM machine. Adjust to your setup. A higher number for max_wal_size means that PostgreSQL needs to run checkpoints less often but it does require the additional space on your disk.

Autovacuum must not be switched off because it ensures that the tables are frequently analysed. If your machine has very little memory, you might consider setting:

autovacuum_max_workers = 1

and even reduce autovacuum_work_mem further. This will reduce the amount of memory that autovacuum takes away from the import process.

Downloading and building Nominatim

Downloading the latest release

You can download the latest release from The release contains all necessary files. Just unpack it.

Downloading the latest development version

If you want to install latest development version from github, make sure to also check out the osm2pgsql subproject:

git clone --recursive

The development version does not include the country grid. Download it separately:

wget -O Nominatim/data/country_osm_grid.sql.gz

Building Nominatim

Building the latest development version with pip

Nominatim is easiest to run from its own virtual environment. To create one, run:

sudo apt-get install virtualenv
virtualenv /srv/nominatim-venv

To install Nominatim directly from the source tree into the virtual environment, run:

/srv/nominatim-venv/bin/pip install packaging/nominatim-{db,api}

Building in legacy CMake mode


Installing Nominatim through CMake is now deprecated. The infrastructure will be removed in Nominatim 5.0. Please switch to pip installation.

The code must be built in a separate directory. Create the directory and change into it.

mkdir build
cd build

Nominatim uses cmake and make for building. Assuming that you have created the build at the same level as the Nominatim source directory run:

cmake ../Nominatim
sudo make install


The default installation no longer compiles the PostgreSQL module that is needed for the legacy tokenizer from older Nominatim versions. If you are upgrading an older database or want to run the legacy tokenizer for some other reason, you need to enable the PostgreSQL module via cmake: cmake -DBUILD_MODULE=on ../Nominatim. To compile the module you need to have the server development headers for PostgreSQL installed. On Ubuntu/Debian run: sudo apt install postgresql-server-dev-<postgresql version>

Nominatim installs itself into /usr/local per default. To choose a different installation directory add -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=<install root> to the cmake command. Make sure that the bin directory is available in your path in that case, e.g.

export PATH=<install root>/bin:$PATH

Now continue with importing the database.