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Database Migrations

Since version 3.7.0 Nominatim offers automatic migrations. Please follow the following steps:

  • stop any updates that are potentially running
  • update Nominatim to the newer version
  • go to your project directory and run nominatim admin --migrate
  • (optionally) restart updates

Below you find additional migrations and hints about other structural and breaking changes. Please read them before running the migration.


If you are migrating from a version <3.6, then you still have to follow the manual migration steps up to 3.6.

4.2.0 -> 4.3.0

New indexes for reverse lookup

The reverse lookup algorithm has changed slightly to improve performance. This change needs a different index in the database. The required index will be automatically build during migration. Until the new index is available performance of the /reverse endpoint is significantly reduced. You should therefore either remove traffic from the machine before attempting a version update or create the index manually before starting the update using the following SQL:

CREATE INDEX IF NOT EXISTS idx_placex_geometry_reverse_lookupPlaceNode
  ON placex USING gist (ST_Buffer(geometry, reverse_place_diameter(rank_search)))
  WHERE rank_address between 4 and 25 AND type != 'postcode'
    AND name is not null AND linked_place_id is null AND osm_type = 'N';

4.0.0 -> 4.1.0

ICU tokenizer is the new default

Nominatim now installs the ICU tokenizer by default. This only has an effect on newly installed databases. When updating older databases, it keeps its installed tokenizer. If you still run with the legacy tokenizer, make sure to compile Nominatim with the PostgreSQL module, see Installation.

geocodejson output changed

The type field of the geocodejson output has changed. It now contains the address class of the object instead of the value of the OSM tag. If your client has used the type field, switch them to read osm_value instead.

3.7.0 -> 4.0.0


Custom blacklist configurations for special phrases now need to be handed with the --config parameter to nominatim special-phrases. Alternatively you can put your custom configuration in the project directory in a file named phrase-settings.json.

Version 3.8 also removes the automatic converter for the php format of the configuration in older versions. If you are updating from Nominatim < 3.7 and still work with a custom phrase-settings.php, you need to manually convert it into a json format.

PHP utils removed

The old PHP utils have now been removed completely. You need to switch to the appropriate functions of the nominatim command line tool. See Introducing nominatim command line tool below.

3.6.0 -> 3.7.0

New format and name of configuration file

The configuration for an import is now saved in a .env file in the project directory. This file follows the dotenv format. For more information, see the installation chapter.

To migrate to the new system, create a new project directory, add the .env file and port your custom configuration from settings/local.php. Most settings are named similar and only have received a NOMINATIM_ prefix. Use the default settings in settings/env.defaults as a reference.

New location for data files

External data files for Wikipedia importance, postcodes etc. are no longer expected to reside in the source tree by default. Instead they will be searched in the project directory. If you have an automated setup script you must either adapt the download location or explicitly set the location of the files to the old place in your .env.

Introducing nominatim command line tool

The various php utilities have been replaced with a single nominatim command line tool. Make sure to adapt any scripts. There is no direct 1:1 matching between the old utilities and the commands of nominatim CLI. The following list gives you a list of nominatim sub-commands that contain functionality of each script:

  • ./utils/setup.php: import, freeze, refresh
  • ./utils/update.php: replication, add-data, index, refresh
  • ./utils/specialphrases.php: special-phrases
  • ./utils/check_import_finished.php: admin
  • ./utils/warm.php: admin
  • ./utils/export.php: export

Try nominatim <command> --help for more information about each subcommand.

./utils/query.php no longer exists in its old form. nominatim search provides a replacement but returns different output.

Switch to normalized house numbers

The housenumber column in the placex table uses now normalized version. The automatic migration step will convert the column but this may take a very long time. It is advisable to take the machine offline while doing that.

3.5.0 -> 3.6.0

Change of layout of search_name_* tables

The table need a different index for nearest place lookup. Recreate the indexes using the following shell script:

for table in `psql -d nominatim -c "SELECT tablename FROM pg_tables WHERE tablename LIKE 'search_name_%'" -tA | grep -v search_name_blank`;
    psql -d nominatim -c "DROP INDEX idx_${table}_centroid_place; CREATE INDEX idx_${table}_centroid_place ON ${table} USING gist (centroid) WHERE ((address_rank >= 2) AND (address_rank <= 25)); DROP INDEX idx_${table}_centroid_street; CREATE INDEX idx_${table}_centroid_street ON ${table} USING gist (centroid) WHERE ((address_rank >= 26) AND (address_rank <= 27))";

Removal of html output

The debugging UI is no longer directly provided with Nominatim. Instead we now provide a simple Javascript application. Please refer to Setting up the Nominatim UI for details on how to set up the UI.

The icons served together with the API responses have been moved to the nominatim-ui project as well. If you want to keep the icon field in the response, you need to set CONST_MapIcon_URL to the URL of the /mapicon directory of nominatim-ui.

Change order during indexing

When reindexing places during updates, there is now a different order used which needs a different database index. Create it with the following SQL command:

CREATE INDEX idx_placex_pendingsector_rank_address
  ON placex
  USING BTREE (rank_address, geometry_sector)
  WHERE indexed_status > 0;

You can then drop the old index with:

DROP INDEX idx_placex_pendingsector;

Unused index

This index has been unused ever since the query using it was changed two years ago. Saves about 12GB on a planet installation.

DROP INDEX idx_placex_geometry_reverse_lookupPoint;

Switching to dotenv

As part of the work changing the configuration format, the configuration for the website is now using a separate configuration file. To create the configuration file, run the following command after updating:

./utils/setup.php --setup-website

Update SQL code

To update the SQL code to the leatest version run:

./utils/setup.php --create-functions --enable-diff-updates --create-partition-functions

3.4.0 -> 3.5.0

New Wikipedia/Wikidata importance tables

The wikipedia_* tables have a new format that also includes references to Wikidata. You need to update the computation functions and the tables as follows:

  • download the new Wikipedia tables as described in the import section
  • reimport the tables: ./utils/setup.php --import-wikipedia-articles
  • update the functions: ./utils/setup.php --create-functions --enable-diff-updates
  • create a new lookup index:
    CREATE INDEX idx_placex_wikidata
      ON placex
      USING BTREE ((extratags -> 'wikidata'))
      WHERE extratags ? 'wikidata'
        AND class = 'place'
        AND osm_type = 'N'
        AND rank_search < 26;
  • compute importance: ./utils/update.php --recompute-importance

The last step takes about 10 hours on the full planet.

Remove one function (it will be recreated in the next step):

DROP FUNCTION create_country(hstore,character varying);

Finally, update all SQL functions:

./utils/setup.php --create-functions --enable-diff-updates --create-partition-functions

3.3.0 -> 3.4.0

Reorganisation of location_area_country table

The table location_area_country has been optimized. You need to switch to the new format when you run updates. While updates are disabled, run the following SQL commands:

CREATE TABLE location_area_country_new AS
  SELECT place_id, country_code, geometry FROM location_area_country;
DROP TABLE location_area_country;
ALTER TABLE location_area_country_new RENAME TO location_area_country;
CREATE INDEX idx_location_area_country_geometry ON location_area_country USING GIST (geometry);
CREATE INDEX idx_location_area_country_place_id ON location_area_country USING BTREE (place_id);

Finally, update all SQL functions:

./utils/setup.php --create-functions --enable-diff-updates --create-partition-functions

3.2.0 -> 3.3.0

New database connection string (DSN) format

Previously database connection setting (CONST_Database_DSN in settings/*.php) had the format

  • (simple) pgsql://@/nominatim
  • (complex) pgsql://

The new format is

  • (simple) pgsql:dbname=nominatim
  • (complex) pgsql:dbname=db1;;port=1234;user=johndoe;password=secret

Natural Earth country boundaries no longer needed as fallback

DROP TABLE country_naturalearthdata;

Finally, update all SQL functions:

./utils/setup.php --create-functions --enable-diff-updates --create-partition-functions

Configurable Address Levels

The new configurable address levels require a new table. Create it with the following command:

./utils/update.php --update-address-levels

3.1.0 -> 3.2.0

New reverse algorithm

The reverse algorithm has changed and requires new indexes. Run the following SQL statements to create the indexes:

CREATE INDEX idx_placex_geometry_reverse_lookupPoint
  ON placex
  USING gist (geometry)
  WHERE (name IS NOT null or housenumber IS NOT null or rank_address BETWEEN 26 AND 27)
    AND class NOT IN ('railway','tunnel','bridge','man_made')
    AND rank_address >= 26
    AND indexed_status = 0
    AND linked_place_id IS null;
CREATE INDEX idx_placex_geometry_reverse_lookupPolygon
  ON placex USING gist (geometry)
  WHERE St_GeometryType(geometry) in ('ST_Polygon', 'ST_MultiPolygon')
    AND rank_address between 4 and 25
    AND type != 'postcode'
    AND name is not null
    AND indexed_status = 0
    AND linked_place_id is null;
CREATE INDEX idx_placex_geometry_reverse_placeNode
  ON placex USING gist (geometry)
  WHERE osm_type = 'N'
    AND rank_search between 5 and 25
    AND class = 'place'
    AND type != 'postcode'
    AND name is not null
    AND indexed_status = 0
    AND linked_place_id is null;

You also need to grant the website user access to the country_osm_grid table:

GRANT SELECT ON table country_osm_grid to "www-user";

Replace the www-user with the user name of your website server if necessary.

You can now drop the unused indexes:

DROP INDEX idx_placex_reverse_geometry;

Finally, update all SQL functions:

./utils/setup.php --create-functions --enable-diff-updates --create-partition-functions

3.0.0 -> 3.1.0

Postcode Table

A new separate table for artificially computed postcode centroids was introduced. Migration to the new format is possible but not recommended.

Create postcode table and indexes, running the following SQL statements:

CREATE TABLE location_postcode
  (place_id BIGINT, parent_place_id BIGINT, rank_search SMALLINT,
   rank_address SMALLINT, indexed_status SMALLINT, indexed_date TIMESTAMP,
   country_code varchar(2), postcode TEXT,
   geometry GEOMETRY(Geometry, 4326));
CREATE INDEX idx_postcode_geometry ON location_postcode USING GIST (geometry);
CREATE UNIQUE INDEX idx_postcode_id ON location_postcode USING BTREE (place_id);
CREATE INDEX idx_postcode_postcode ON location_postcode USING BTREE (postcode);
GRANT SELECT ON location_postcode TO "www-data";
CREATE TYPE nearfeaturecentr AS (
  place_id BIGINT,
  keywords int[],
  rank_address smallint,
  rank_search smallint,
  distance float,
  isguess boolean,
  postcode TEXT,
  centroid GEOMETRY

Add postcode column to location_area tables with SQL statement:

ALTER TABLE location_area ADD COLUMN postcode TEXT;

Then reimport the functions:

./utils/setup.php --create-functions --enable-diff-updates --create-partition-functions

Create appropriate triggers with SQL:

CREATE TRIGGER location_postcode_before_update BEFORE UPDATE ON location_postcode
    FOR EACH ROW EXECUTE PROCEDURE postcode_update();

Finally populate the postcode table (will take a while):

./utils/setup.php --calculate-postcodes --index --index-noanalyse

This will create a working database. You may also delete the old artificial postcodes now. Note that this may be expensive and is not absolutely necessary. The following SQL statement will remove them:

DELETE FROM place_addressline a USING placex p
 WHERE a.address_place_id = p.place_id and p.osm_type = 'P';
DELETE FROM placex WHERE osm_type = 'P';