Frequently Asked Questions

You can also consult our Premium FAQ

When was the Gisgraphy project launched?

It was launched in June 2008.


What does Gisgraphy stand for ?

It is geography for GIS (aka Geographic Information System).


How can I be sure the project is production ready ?

It has been tested on several machines using Linux, Windows and various JVMs. Gisgraphy has a high unit/integration test coverage. it is scalable, and have no memory leak (


Are there any extra costs to install gisgraphy locally I should be aware of ?

No. Really! Gisgraphy can be installed for free, and so does the data. We provide Premium services for those who don't want to run a (long) import of data or want to acquire our consolidated database from several open data sources.


Does Gisgraphy manage house numbers ?

Yes sure. Gisgraphy import Openstreetmap and Openaddresses datasets.


Why does the import take so long ?

The import is long because :

  • There are a lot of features to import (more than 100 Million)
  • Gisgraphy tries to do error correction to detect the correct ADM, and a lot of requests are done to the database for each line. this is the "price to pay" to have a parent/child ADM tree
  • For each feature or alternate names imported, the full-text engine is synchronized.
  • A lot of requests to the fulltext engine (45 000 000 to search the nearest city for each street) and the geoloc one (to search the nearest city for each zip code)

The openstreetmap import takes less time because data are pre-processed (length, middle point,...) to CSV. so no error correction is necessary.

Some improvements have been made in V 5.0 to decrease the time the import takes (25% less).since V 4.0 but the data has been multiplying by 10.
You should take care of the options you choose when importing, you may not need all the functionalities. Read the explanations on options and choose them according your needs can drastically decrease the time the importer takes. If you've got some suggestions to improve the importer, feel free to contribute.


Is it possible to select the datasets to import ?

Yes! Just choose the dataset(s) you are interested in on the confirm import page.


Is it possible to only import the countries I'm interested in ?

Edit the importer.filesToDownload option in the file. Set the country you want to download, then start gisgraphy, go to the admin menu=>run import or, if you don't want Gisgraphy to download files; set the importer.retrieveFiles option to false and put the files you want to process in the 'importer.geonames.dir' directory.


How long does it take to import all the data ?

It depends on the machine and the memory. On a core I7 it takes about one month. The importer is useful if you are interested in a custom import(specific place types, countries, dataset...), If you don't want to run an import by yourself because you are interested in all place types for all countries, a Postgres dump and a Solr dump can be ordered here. it will take only the time to inject the dump into Postgres and copy the Solr dump into the solr directory (~3 hours)


Will the project continue ?

Yes, you can see that the project is active on Github


What technologies are used ?

Java / Spring / Hibernate / Hibernate Spatial / Maven 2 / PostGIS / PostgreSQL / struts2 / SolR-Lucene.


Is Gisgraphy available for MySQL or Oracle 10g ?

No (and it will never be). Oracle is commercial and it does not follow open source philosophy, and MySQL needs MyISAM database. You can not do GIS with MySQL and InnoDB. There is a real limitation because foreign keys are missing in MyISAM.


Can Gisgraphy run on Java 1.4?

Gisgraphy is designed and have been tested for Java 1.5 and later.


Why is Openstreetmap data are downloaded from the download server and not from the openstreetmap one ?

Because the data are pre-processed : we extract streets, calculate the length, the middle point, clean up some values, improve names (especially for fleet tracking), etc. We also think that it is simpler to import CSV files, instead of a more complicated XML format ;)


On Linux / Unix, I get the message "Too many open files", what does this mean?

It is due to SolR < = > Unix, you need to update the maximum number of allowed open files on your system. See this link and this one for help.