PGrouting PostGIS Postgresql – No need for Google routing

Do you have all road data with you and want to creating routing from that according to your algorithm? Needs an alternative to Google Map API, when having your own road datasets? PGrouting with PostGresSql can help you out by doing that. Here in this post we will look for PGRouting PostGreSql implementation steps by steps and finding the direction with PGRouting. Connection between PostGres and QGIS and query data and see the result in QGIS Desktop.

Prerequisite for PGrouting PostGIS Postgresql:

  • Installed QGIS and installed PostGreSql
  • Basic Knowledge of PostGreSQL
  • Basic knowledge with QGIS Desktop
  • Road Map Shapefile

Here we will consider Road Map Shapefile, on which we will query and get the routing. In this article we will see how we can query the road network shapefile to find out the shortest path. The results can be seen in QGIS Desktop software. Here postGIS is used to generate road network. In this tutorial we have id of each route, which is used to query the shortest route. You will understand more easily once you read this article throughly. Here PGrouting has used to find out the shortest path.

Install Postgresql PostGIS PGRouting:

Its installation is simple process include few steps (written an article for linux based system). Here are few points for installing postgresql PGRouting:

# Create the file /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pgdg.list, and add a line for the repository

--> sudo sh -c 'echo "deb CODENAME-pgdg main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pgdg.list'

The codename can find by using given command

 --> lsb_release -cs


 Codename xanial

Then replace this codename in command.

# Import the repository key, update the package lists

--> sudo apt-get install wget ca-certificates
 --> wget --quiet -O - | sudo apt-key add -
 --> sudo apt-get update

# Install PGrouting based on your postgresql Installation:

--> sudo apt-get install postgresql-9.6-pgrouting

To be up to date with changes and improvements follow the given command

--> sudo apt-get update & sudo apt-get upgrade

PGRouting PostGreSql PostGIS Shortest Path Steps:

In this article we are using postgres 9.6, PostGIS 2.4.2 and Pgrouting 2.5.2. It is better to check versions for all required software as query syntax change with version. Firstly create a database.

1. Create database in PostGreSql for PGRouting:

You can create a database in Ubuntu terminal. For that you need to follow the given command-

 --> sudo -u postgres createdb -O DATABASE_USER DATABASE_NAME

where -U username, Createdb is command which create new postgresql database, -O output file name, last two options are Database user-name and name for database. For more option in psql visit link.

2. Add shape file in postgresql pgrouting database:

If you are using pgAdmin3 then you can open the database by providing user name and password.

In Database you can add shapefile by clicking option PostGIS shape file and DBF loader. Here first off define the user-name with proper password and database name. Then add shape file and import it.

You can use this link to import or upload Shapefile in PostGreSql database.

Now refresh the database and expand public-> tables option you see the shape file’s attribute table.

3. Add Source and target column in attribute table:

The given command will add column in attribute table, named as source and target with integer data type. Here roads_table is the attribute table or imported shape file.

--> ALTER TABLE roads_table ADD COLUMN "source" integer;
--> ALTER TABLE roads_table ADD COLUMN "target" integer;

4. Create topology – PGRouting:

Here you must be aware of what is topology when working with spatial system. Topology is a set of rules and behaviours that model how points, lines, and polygons share coincident geometry.

Here creating topology means attaching nodes to every end point of route. This is done using method from pgrouting that is pgr_createTopology().
This takes table name, tolerance, geom field name and id as inputs.

--> SELECT pgr_createTopology('roads_table', 0.001, 'the_geom', 'id')

More detailed explanation is given below:

The topology creation function accepts the following parameters:

-> edge_table:

Text Network table name. (may contain the schema name AS well)

-> tolerance:

Float8 Snapping tolerance of disconnected edges. (in projection unit)

-> the_geom:

Text Geometry column name of the network table. Default value is the_geom.

-> Id:

Text Primary key column name of the network table. Default value is id.

-> Source:

Text Source column name of the network table. Default value is source.

-> Target:

Text Target column name of the network table. Default value is target.

-> rows_where:

Text Condition to SELECT a subset or rows. Default value is true to indicate all rows that where source or target have a null value, otherwise the condition is used.

-> Clean:

Boolean Clean any previous topology. Default value is false.

For more details:

5. Create network table – PGrouting PostGIS Postgresql:

This table contains all information such as gid, length of routes, name of roads, source and target. Here source and target is taken from node table where as other information from attribute table. For this first we need to create node table.

In node table you have source as a start_id and target as end_id.

 SELECT row_number() OVER (ORDER BY foo.p)::integer AS id,
 foo.p AS the_geom
 SELECT DISTINCT roads_table.source AS p FROM roads_table
 ) foo
 GROUP BY foo.p;

This explains that distinct values of source and target from roads_table table is selected and union operation has performed. Then number of rows are selected from this union table and saved them in node table.

 SELECT a.*, as start_id, as end_id
 FROM roads_table AS a
 JOIN node AS b ON a.source = b.the_geom
 JOIN node AS c ON = c.the_geom;

This query explains that in network table is named as start_id and as end_id.

Now we will use pgr_dijkstra method from PGrouting PostGIS Postgresql

The minimal syntax is given

pgr_dijkstra(TEXT edges_sql, BIGINT start_vid, BIGINT end_vid)
 RETURNS SET OF (seq, path_seq, node, edge, cost, agg_cost) or EMPTY SET

This returns seq, path sequence, node, edge, cost, agg_cost fields.

Select seq, node, edge,cost, geom from pgr_dijkstra(
 'Select gid as id, source, target, st_length(geom) as cost from network', 3566,20051, false) as di
 JOIN network pt
 ON di.edge = pt.gid ;

Here we have joined network table to select geometry field. This all command would be running in SQL window in DB manager option in QGIS.

You can create a shape file as a result for query. For that you need to click on load as new layer option then provide geom as geometry option and edge as column with unique values and click load. The result layer will be added to canvas of QGIS.

PgRouting PostGIS PostGreSql using Latitude Longitude for source and destination:

You just need to change the last command in SQL window of QGIS software.

Select seq, node, edge,cost, geom, agg_cost from pgr_dijkstra(
 'Select gid as id, source, target, st_length(geom::geography)/1000 as cost from network',(SELECT source FROM network
 ORDER BY geom <-> ST_SetSRID(ST_Point
 (74.862413,24.476381),4326) LIMIT 1),
 (SELECT source FROM network
 ORDER BY geom <-> ST_SetSRID(ST_Point
 (75.857734,22.719588),4326) limit 1), false) as di
 JOIN network pt
 ON (di.edge = pt.gid);

This query explains that we are using pgr_dijkstra from pgrouting which takes sql_text,integer start_id, integer end_id and boolean type for directed route. If route is directed, give input as true otherwise false. Here in this article we have undirected route. As now in place of we want to give latitude and longitude so for that given query has executed.

SELECT source FROM network ORDER BY geom <-> ST_SetSRID(ST_Point (75.857734,22.719588),4326) limit 1

This part is little interesting, first of all we need to understand that always we provide latitude longitude of point(place), not of any line (road). So this point can be restaurant, stops, hotels or hospitals etc.

Now the very first task is to find out the nearest path from these points. For that we used <-> from postgis.

<-> — Returns the distance between two points.

Now we may have 2 or more path from selected point. So the shortest one should be selected from these path, For that we used order by command which arranges these path in ascending order and after that limit 1 command selects top most 1 row, which his nothing but the shortest path from source to path. Similar concept is applied on end point also.

Syntax of postgresql:

double precision <->( geometry A , geometry B );

The <-> operator returns the 2D distance between two geometries. Used in the “ORDER BY” clause provides index-assisted nearest-neighbor result sets. For PostgreSQL below 9.5 only gives centroid distance of bounding boxes and for PostgreSQL 9.5+, does true KNN (K nearest neighbor) distance search giving true distance between geometries, and distance sphere for geographies.

Syntax of postgresql:

geometry ST_SetSRID(geometry geom, integer srid); 
geometry ST_Point(float x_lon, float y_lat);

In ST_Point we give source and destination latitude longitude. Using ST_SetSRID Set the SRID on a geometry to a particular integer value. Here EPSG 4326 is used which is WGS84 datum. EPSG stands for European Petroleum Survey Group, They publish a database of coordinate system information. SELECT source FROM network this returns source id. Similarly got source id of end point. Then cost is set as length of route in kilometers. All these provided to pgr_dijsktra method and join network table to take geometry as output to show result in QGIS.

Output of PGrouting PostGIS Postgresql – No need for Google routing

Here is the output of route which is rendered with QGIS Desktop, where green color indicates the road network and red color display the shortest distance we get from A and B.

PGrouting PostGIS Postgresql - No need for Google routing
PGrouting PostGIS Postgresql – No need for Google routing

We got good results as distance from A to B is calculated as 368Km and on Google map it is 361 km. Similarly many points have tested and result vary from 6 to 8Km.

Did you tried PGRouting postgis postgresql? If you are facing any issue, do let us know by commenting below with the solution.

Top 10 Map Direction API – Routing Libraries – Navigation free or paid

Routing and displaying direction on Map along with showing the instruction for navigation, physical distance, traffic etc is one of the important part of GIS (Geographical Information System), when working on Travel or tourism or logistic projects. Are you Looking for the best Map direction API to create Routes on Web map or map on App? Researching for best performance and list of alternatives routing libraries? There are dozens of Routing API which is either available as premium API, Free till a limit or a completely free Routing API.

Here you will find all the list of Map Routing libraries which I have gone through and researched while working on one of my project. Let me start listing first few free and open source direction Map API followed with API which is available for free till a particular hits limits.

Map Direction API
Map Direction API

Top 10 Map Direction API – Routing Libraries

1.) Open Source Routing Machine:

OSRM computes shortest path in a graph and was designed to run well with map data from OSM project.

  • Can either be self hosted
  • Very fast routing.
  • Method of contraction hierarchies to compute shortest path routing, in contrast to A* which makes it very fast.
  • highly portable.
  • Provides turn by turn navigation instruction
  • License: BSD

You can find the project code at github and also the working map project.

OSRM - Map Direction API

2.) YOURS navigation API:

Yet another OpenStreetMap Route Service (YOURS), uses OpenStreetMap data.

  • Generate fastest or shortest routes in modes available like car, pedestrians, bicycle.
  • Unlimited Via waypoints can be added easily
  • Generate routes altitude profiles.
  • Client side route caching
  • License : BSD

Wiki for YOURS map can be found here.

3.) Open Route Service Library: 

Routing service is based on open standards by the Open Geo-spatial Consortium with OSM data.

  • Gives Route summary like overall distance, units, overall needed time.
  • Way points can be added in between routes.
  • Step by step instruction is calculated and can be extracted as different languages.
  • License : MIT license

You may check libraries documentation from here.

4.) Graphhopper Direction Map API:

It is a fast and memory efficient Open source routing library and server using OpenStreetMap.

  • Can be Used for desktop, web or with mobile device application.
  • Dijkstra, A* and Contraction Hierarchies algorithm is used.
  • Can either be self hosted or you can choose a plan from graphhopper services website, which can either be available for free or paid.
  • Provides turn by turn navigation instruction
  • License : Apache License Version 2.0

Here is the Github code depository of Graphhopper.

Graphhopper Map Direction API

You can compare further maps from OpenStreetMap data routing section from here to get the detailed comparision of above listed API.

Premium Routing Libraries:

5.) Google Map Direction API:

We don’t need any introduction to Google Maps. Map with most data provides all roads in every mode whether it is for car, heavy vehicles, rails, bicycle or pedestrian. You just need to grab a key and use the API to get the directions.

  • Can access upto 2,500 free direction request per day.
  • Can add upto 23 waypoints
  • Can avoid route with tolls, highways, ferries and indoor.
  • Different languages are supported as an output result
  • Specify the units of result
  • Get live traffic and estimated time of travel for a route.
  • A detailed documentation along with tutorials.

Get the documentation link from here and get started with Google Map library.

6.) Bing Map Direction API :

Bing Map is another giant map service provider. You may look as an alternative of Google Map. You can customize, calculate and display direction and route on a Map with Direction API module or with Bing Map Rest Services. You need to get a Map key by registering in Bing Map. I didn’t found any figures of transaction which can be made free. But definitely if you over use the API either Microsoft will contact you or you may contact them either to upgrade the account as Enterprise.

Here are some features of Bing Map:

  • Calculate Route and get the walking, driving or transit route direction
  • Define way points
  • Get Road Shield images
  • Get Route data i.e Travel Distance, travel duration, estimated time of duration considering live traffic etc.
  • Turn by turn navigation instruction can be extracted.
  • You may also look at warning type i.e if there is a traffic accident, very slow traffic in the route, critical weather etc.

You can find the detailed document of the from here:

Bing Map Direction API
Bing Map Direction API

7.) ESRI Map Direction API:

ESRI is an international supplier of GIS software and databases and exist since 1969. ESRI Map provides AcrGIS API for JavaScript which helps you to get the Direction on Map. Register a developer account for free in ESRI direction and Routing Service website and get ready to use the library. You will get free development and testing subscription and also gets a 50 credits a month when you are ready to go to production. Yes they charge you according to credits, where each functionality have different credits for different number of hits. Here are some of the features:

  • Routes for pedestrian, light weight moving vehicle and heavy weight moving vehicle
  • Get optimized route considering traffic.
  • “Schedule stops, including people, pickups, work orders, and anything else, within a pre-defined time window.”
  • According to vehicle weight and height route will be calculated to clear restricted bridges and underpasses.
  • Get the distance and navigation instructions.

You can explore more over here.

8.) MapQuest Direction Map API:

MapQuest Map provides Direction API with help of OpenStreetMap data. Upto 15,000/month Transactions is allowed for free. Here are the feature of MapQuest :

  • Get routes for different modes like pedestrian, bicycle, multi-modal.
  • Routes can be calculated as both fastest and shortest.
  • Instruction turn by turn navigation.
  • Get Estimated time of duration for a Route considering real time traffic.
  • Get Alternate routes for same origin and destination points.
  • According to date and time, optimized routes will be created.

You can have a look more over here of its documentation.

MapQuest Map Direction API

9.) MapBox Direction Map API:

MapBox is another popular API which can be considered as the best in terms of pricing and performance too. Here are the list of features:

  • Calculate optimal driving, walking and cycling routes.
  • Get turn by turn direction instructions.
  • Route can be created incorporating upto 25 waypoints anywhere on earth.
  • Get the geometry as a geojson file
  • Is free till 50,000 mapview either for mobile or for web

Get started from here.

10.) Create Your Own Customized API:

Take either shapefile or OSM data. Create R tree and generate the network graph. Implement A* or any shortest path alogrithm. Fix all issues and improve the speed. You are done.

Note: The limitation and features of API is listed on 12-01-2016 and can be changed time to time. So please check the actual price from the concerned API official website. Also features listed of each API is not complete, but just to give you introduction of the same.

The above list I found to be useful and you can choose one by comparing prices and features to implement in your project. Certainly there may be other routing API’s too, which you may not found here. But if you like the same and think that it should be present in the list, then do comment below with the name and some brief description of the map routing library.