HeiGIT Technology and Projects

HeiGIT Technology

openrouteservice for Disaster Management

The ongoing HeiGIT project openrouteservice for Disaster Management is a collaboration between the openrouteservice Team and the Geoinformation for Humanitarian Aid Team. The goal is to provide reliable and up-to-date data of the infrastructure network in disaster-stricken areas by improving both quantity and quality of OSM road network data, by providing dynamic real-time information, as well as an offline mobile client tool, and much more. We focus on the humanitarian aspect by improving situational awareness, especially regarding the (changing) conditions of the road network during disasters.


openrouteservice.org offers routing services based on user-generated, communally collected, free geographic data from OpenStreetMap. It is more than just routing, the openrouteservice also offers accessibility analyses with isochrones, distance matrices and specific search capabilities regarding POIs. This personalized service offers a huge range of possibilities to users. Other openrouteservice features include wheelchair routing as well as noise-avoiding and heat-stress avoiding routing.

openrouteservice to vaccination centers (archived)

The route planning app helps you to answer the question: “Where is the closest Covid-19 vaccination center and what is the best way to get there?” by suggesting routes to the nearest vaccination center. It is built on the basis of HeiGIT’s openrouteservice technology and uses data from OpenStreetMap (OSM). The application also offers written navigation instructions and further information about vaccination centers. It works online and can be used through modern web browsers on a PC, or on newer smartphones and tablets.

Open Healthcare Access Map

The web application Open Healthcare Access Map combines data on healthcare infrastructure and motorized mobility to measure accessibility. Through the combination of accessibility and population distribution, insights on travel time to healthcare facilities, using HeiGIT’S openrouteservice, and population coverage at different scales for a variety of countries are provided. The information is aggregated on administrative levels and hexagons. These differences in healthcare supply are to be revealed spatially. This app is intended as a prototype to showcase the potentials of free and open geodata within the public health domain. Future milestones are, among others, the delineation of facility level catchment areas and incorporation of data quality measures.

Humanitarian OSM Stats

Humanitarian OSM Stats is an ongoing HeiGIT project, which aims at presenting statistics and graphs concerning mapping in OpenStreetMap (OSM) for humanitarian purposes by combining the analysis of data from the HOT Tasking Manager, population data sets, and OSM History data using the HeiGIT technology OSHDB.


MapSwipe is an opensource mobile application that aims to make mapping around the world more coordinated and efficient. Since its start in 2015, MapSwipe has scaled to 29,000 users who have mapped 1,300,000 km². MapSwipe is an opensource project that is still ongoing and uses HeiGIT technologies. It is built and maintained by volunteers with the support of the British Red Cross, the GIScience Research Group of Heidelberg, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and the organization Médecins Sans Frontières. The team at the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT) and the GIScience Research Group at Heidelberg University have shaped MapSwipe’s development from the very beginning by designing the crowdsourcing approach behind MapSwipe, providing the tools needed to manage such a global project, and by making use of the data in a timely manner. Our work ensures that volunteer efforts can turn into meaningful data for humanitarian organizations.

OpenStreetMap History Database (OSHDB)

The OSHDB enables the investigation of the evolution of data quantity and the contributions of this data to the OpenStreetMap project. The OSHDB has been designed for efficient storage of and access to OpenStreetMap’s data history. In order to ensure the scalability of the system, the OSHDB builds on a partitioning schema, which allows distributed data storage and parallel execution of computations. An API, the OSHDB API implemented by HeiGIT, provides an interface to the OSHDB in the Java programming language.

ohsome History Explorer (ohsomeHeX)

The ohsome History Explorer (ohsomeHeX) allows the spatio-temporal exploration of OSM data on a global scale by using the ohsome API to aggregate the data of selected features into a set of globe spanning hexagonal grids in a monthly resolution. This allows for the analysis of the evolution of the data, provides insight into the quality and visual exploration of the history of OSM Data, and presents an opportunity to uncover interesting semantic connections.

ohsome API

The ohsome API is a HeiGIT technology based on the OSHDB that is under continuous development to improve its features. It is a REST-based API that enables extraction and analysis of the whole history of OpenStreetMap’s data via HTTP requests. The data are avaiable as CSV, JSON or GeoJSON to make OpenStreetMap’s data history more easily accessible for various kinds of data analytics tasks on a global scale.

ohsome quality analyst (OQT)

OQT is a service that end users, i.e. humanitarian organisations and public administration, can use to access information on the quality of OSM data for their specific region and use-case. It is a web-based application that builds upon HeiGIT’s OSM analysis infrastructure ohsome, but also provides an API and command line interface. Further, it functions as a data integration tool that brings together a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic OSM data quality metrics.

ohsome Dashboard

The ohsome dashboard, a HeiGIT technology building upon the ohsome API, is a dashboard that allows you to perform analyses of OpenStreetMap’s full-history data without the need of programming skills by generating accurate statistics and plotting them directly in the dashboard. Statistics about the historical development of OpenStreetMap data can be selected for any arbitrary region or time period, custom filtering of all available OpenStreetMap tags and types can be applied, and results can also be grouped in various different ways.


ohsome2X is an opensource tool used to create the data for time-series maps of OSM’s historic development. Internally, we also use the tool to create time-series data for HeiGIT’s ohsome OSM History Explorer ohsomeHeX. With ohsome2X, you will be able to create your own OSM History Stats Maps, for your areas of interests. The tool uses HeiGIT’s ohsome API to query the relevant statistics and combines the results with any input of polygons (admin areas, regular grids, etc). For small tasks, you can upload a GeoJSON; for larger tasks you can link to a PostGIS DB and process your data iteratively in digestible chunks.


The GIScience project ohsome2label, with support from HeiGIT, uses historical OpenStreetMap objects as machine learning training samples to create a flexible label preparation for satellite machine learning applications. With the help of HeiGIT’s ohsome API all kinds of geospatial objects may be retrieved from OSM.


The ohsome-py package helps you to extract and analyse OpenStreetMap history data using the ohsome API and python. It handles queries to the ohsome API and converts its responses to Pandas and GeoPandas data frames to facilitate easy data handling and analysis.

Ongoing Projects


The HEAL Project

The HEAL Project is a transdisciplinary cooperation between HeiGIT, the GIScience Research Group of Heidelberg University, and the TdLab Geography of Heidelberg University, funded by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation as part of the research programme “Innovations for Adaptation to Climate Change”. The HEAL project focuses on the development of adaptation strategies to support and protect at-risk groups during hot weather conditions. This is accomplished by involving stakeholders and target groups in the research process and by integrating public smart city data into a routing system.

Sketch Map Tool

Within the Waterproofing Data Project a first prototype version of the so called “Sketch Map Tool“ has been developed. The HeiGIT ohsome dashboard is used by the Sketch Map Tool for data quality analyses (Klonner et al. 2021). In the Sketch Map Tool Project, which is funded by the German Red Cross, the Sketch Map Tool will be improved and extended in order to make it available for real world usage by the German Red Cross and similar organizations. The project is performed in close cooperation with the GIScience Research Group, Heidelberg University. Madagascar is chosen as a study site for testing the application of the Sketch Map Tool.


The project UndercoverEisAgenten allows citizen scientists (particularly students) to make a meaningful contribution to the detection of permafrost degradation in the Arctic and, thus, to actively participate in climate change research. To this end, they are provided with the appropriate tools to examine and classify images of the surface of the Earth. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministery of Education and Research and implemented in cooperation between HeiGIT, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research.

Missing Maps

HeiGIT and the GIScience Research Group at Heidelberg University are supporting the Missing Maps project since 2015. The HeiGIT team supports Missing Maps in monitoring and visualizing its achievements and impact using information from the HOT Tasking Manager and our ohsome framework. We advance current research about OSM and it’s application in disaster risk reduction and disaster management and make this available to the wider public through joint publications, presentations and partnerships.

Cooperation Projects with HeiGIT Support


BKG openrouteservice

In collaboration with the Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG) and GIScience, various extensions of openrouteservice are developed, among others the calculation of Europe-wide Isochrones in a split second, routing enhanced with statistical traffic data or routing profiles for wheelchair navigation. Together with the Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy, openrouteservice exceeds the limits of conventional routing in a new and promising way and delivers outstanding and powerful performance with reliable results.

Completed Projects



The aim of the LOKI project, a collaboration of GIScience, HeiGIT and further project partners working in disaster related fields, funded by BMBF, is to develop an interdisciplinary system that enables fast and reliable airborne situation assessments following an earthquake. A central focus is the timely overview and detailed recording of the damage to critical infrastructures, such as lifelines (bridges and roads), health care facilities and public institutions (e.g. schools). The objectives will be met by combining existing expertise in earthquake research with a variety of technologies and concepts, including machine learning, crowdsourcing, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and 3D monitoring.


The GIScience project IDEAL VGI (Information Discovery from Big Earth Observation Data Archives by Learning from Volunteered Geographic Information) aims to identify and assess the importance, uncertainty, and quality of different OSM derived features in order to promote relevant semantic OSM content. Furthermore, the integration of supporting complementary VGI data streams, developing machine learning for remote sensing image classification, and automatically refining and assigning OSM tags are important goals. HeiGIT supports this project by providing both its OSHDB technology and technical knowledge.

OSM Landuse Landcover

The GIScience project OSM Landuse Landcover is a WebGIS application exploring landuse and landcover information in the OpenStreetMap database. Missing OSM data (gaps) in Europe are filled (ongoing) using data derived from Sentinel-2 10 m RGB imagery and deep learning methods. The project is supported by HeiGIT and uses the HeiGIT technology ohsome API.

Climate Action California

The GIScience project “Shaping Climate Action in a Sound Way – Case Study Baden-Württemberg/California” is a pilot study within the Heidelberg Center for the Environment’s project “Climate Action Science” supported by HeiGIT. It aims at analyzing the accessibility and quality of geoinformation of greenhouse gases from measuring networks, government data, and citizen science. The project examines the usefulness of OSM data for the estimation of greenhouse gas emissions. OSM tags are analyzed and aggregated according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Emission Factor Database (EFDB). The OSM data extraction uses HeiGITs ohsome API technology.

The OSCAR Project

Timely and accurate data to guide multi-faceted planning and decision-making for public health emergencies, pandemic preparedness, and health systems management is of critical importance. However, in practice, relevant data is often unavailable or largely siloed by the respective data source and operator. OSCAR addresses this gap by providing a common decision support system for the health sector. It aims to massively improve countries’ ability to forecast, prepare for and respond to health intervention needs – both for emergency situations and for routine health systems strengthening. The present project will allow for testing and improvement of OSCAR in real-life deployments in line with three defined User Stories for the initial focus country of Nepal. This engagement relies on close collaboration between KfW, Heidelberg Institute of Global Health (HIGH) and the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT gGmbH).

Healthcare Access Analysis

The Healthcare Access Analysis project is a collaboration between openrouteservice and healthsites.io funded by HeiGIT. By analyzing and comparing the accessibility of healthcare facilities around the globe, by assessing data quality, and by detecting potential spatial patterns therein, the best way of transport to facilities can be determined. Healthsites.io provides the input data, which is then analyzed with the help of openrouteservice’s isochrone functionality.


The SocialMedia2Traffic project (BMVI mFUND – Modernity Fund) aims to use geocoded social media data in selected regions to predict the time-dependent traffic state of the road network. The data is to be generated for road sections and made available online. Transferability to other regions will be evaluated. The results will be used in openrouteservice to improve routing and estimate arrival times. HeiGIT is cooperating with the GIScience department of the University of Heidelberg.

25 Mapathons

The project 25 Mapathons, funded by the Klaus Tschira Foundation, aims to raise internal awareness of the potential of geoinformatics within the DRC and to collect relevant geodata for DRC projects. For this purpose, HeiGIT and the DRK organize events for DRK divisions and the Youth Red Cross in order to give an insight into the international work of the DRK and to collect map data for operational areas. This takes place in the form of jointly organized mapathons, events in which helpers jointly map areas not previously recorded in OSM.

Global Exposure Data for Risk Assessment

The project Global Exposure Data for Risk Assessment, funded by the JRC (Joint Research Center of the EU), aims at developing an API. Based on OSM, this provides a global dataset of infrastructures potentially at risk from natural disasters in accordance with the United Nations Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The data can be used by various Emergency Response Coordination Centre disaster teams for early response and risk assessment. The extraction of the data is done through the ohsome API. This is another example of the Big Data team’s connection to geospatial information for humanitarian response.

Healthsites Quality

The Healthsites Quality project funded by HeiGIT aims to develop a framework for assessing the quality of health-related data in OSM in terms of completeness, accuracy (temporal & technical), and trustworthiness, and for visualizing the development of OSM health data over time. This is accomplished by comparing OSM health data with health data from other sources (i.e. the WHO, healthsites.io, KEMRI, etc.). By providing critical information on the completeness and reliability of health data on OSM, targeted improvement of humanitarian aspect is accomplished. The project is based on HeiGIT’s ohsome API and supported with knowledge, ideas, and implementation tasks.

COVID-19 Vaccination Centers

Where is the closest Covid-19 vaccination center and what is the best way to get there? A new route planning app helps you answer this questions by suggesting ways to the nearest vaccination center. You can use this route planner now at https://impfzentrum.openrouteservice.org. You only have to enter a starting location or allow the automatic use of the position information on your smartphone and the route to the vaccination center can be displayed. The data from OpenStreetMap (OSM) is used as the data basis for both route planning and also for the vaccination centers. This first prototype version of the app is still under development and will be further improved.

Mapping COVID-19 Research

HeiGIT’s “Map of Hope” provides a geographical overview of planned, ongoing, and completed clinical trials regarding COVID-19. The global scientific and medical communities have immediately responded to the new threat with focused research activities that in turn have led to clinical trials and scientific publications worldwide. This project aims to provide an up-to-date overview of these activities with links to the underlying sources as well as many informative maps to track the spread of the virus. Medical expertise is provided by Prof. Dr. Markus Ries from the Center for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, University Hospital Heidelberg with support from Dr. Konstantin Mechler and Donna Smith. The data pre-processing and the service deployment is done by HeiGIT and geocoding was accomplished using HeiGIT’s openrouteservice API.

TARDUR – Temporal Access Restrictions for Dynamic Ultra-Flexible Routing

The mFUND project, with support from HeiGIT’s openrouteservice Team, integrated information about temporal road access/restrictions in openrouteservice and GraphHopper with the aim of enabling time-dependent and therefore more accurate routing by developing an algorithm that takes time constraints into account when calculating routes. The algorithm was then implemented in the commercial platform GraphHopper and the HeiGIT openrouteservice technolgy. The project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure as part of the mFUND initiative.

MapSwipe for WSF Validation and Dump Site Mapping

The World Bank partnered with MapSwipe, HeiGIT, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), and OpenStreetMap Mali on the Africa Cash for Digital Work Program, a pilot project centered on creating new remote employment opportunities for individuals affected by COVID-19 lock downs. Within this project two new project types are developed in MapSwipe to apply crowdsourced micro-tasking to a) solid waste mapping in Bamako (Mali) and b) validation of the World Settlement Footprint data set.

HOT Mapswipe: Adding Comparative Functions to MapSwipe for Change Detection Analysis

The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), HeiGIT and the wider MapSwipe Community started this project to work on an MapSwipe extension to monitor changes in satellite imagery. The goal of the project is to extend the app with new functionalities that would allow the users to compare two satellite images (e.g. from before and after) and indicate area, which changed. By crowdsourcing the development of land cover or built-up areas the project will help humanitarian organizations to address the challenges posed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Completed Cooperation Projects with HeiGIT Support


Waterproofing Data

The GIScience Waterproofing Data project is supported by HeiGIT and uses HeiGIT’s ohsome API. It aims to investigate the governance of water-related risks by rethinking flood data production and flow. The focus of this project lies on social and cultural aspects of data practices thus helping to transform and build more sustainable, flood resilient communities.


In the meinGrün project, a GIScience project with support of HeiGIT and using the openrouteservice, partners from science, municipal practice and business are developing the basis for novel, interactive information services. The aim is to describe green spaces in cities in greater detail and show how they can be easily accessed. Users of green spaces can rate them and city administrations receive tips on potential for improvement. Furthermore, a routing service for pedestrians and cyclists is in development which recommends healthy routes that avoid high solar radiation, unnecessary noise, and that focus on the presence of vegetation.

WIN project “Shared Data Sources”

The WIN project “Shared Data Sources” uses OpenStreetMap as an example to investigate how individual cognitive processes affect convergence on a collective scale. Part of the analysis is to estimate whether local knowledge is present in the OSM data. HeiGIT supports this project by providing its OSHDB API which allows for the analysis of OSM tag changes and contributor statistics.


The GIScience DFG-OSM-Quality project aimed at fostering research about data quality measures related to OSM by creating a collection of OSM data quality measures and describing the “Fitness for Purpose” of OSM data. The goal was to create a repository for OSM data quality measures. This was accomplished partially by relying on HeiGIT’s OSHDB as well as technical support provided by HeiGIT.


The aim of the LandSense project, a collaboration of GIScience, HeiGIT, and several other partners, was to build a far-reaching citizen observatory for Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) monitoring that would also function as a technology innovation marketplace. Integrating these citizen-driven in-situ data collections with established authoritative and open access data sources helpes to reduce costs, extend GEOSS and Copernicus capacities, and supports comprehensive environmental monitoring systems. The project uses HeiGIT’s ohsome API.

Global Climate Protection Map

The project Global Climate Protection Map, with support from HeiGIT, makes it easy to retrieve relevant information on the topics of energy transition or sustainability and to locate them spatially. As a part of the Urban Office of the University of Heidelberg, the Global Climate Protection Map uses the possibilities of web technologies to find out about issues such as sustainable energy supply, mobility forms and consumption. Through spatial location, individual regions are made more comparable and a greater awareness of citizens’ climate protection and energy transition will be created.

Intrinsic OSM-Quality

The project pursued the goal of developing a more comprehensive framework for investigating the quality of VGI (using OSM as an example). This involved the systematic assessment of the information and quality needs of selected application domains related to geospatial data, the combination between intrinsic with extrinsic quality indicators, and the extension and adaptation of intrinsic approaches to a more comprehensive assessment of the different quality dimensions of geospatial data related to the selected application domains. Thus, the project contributes both to narrowing a major gap in research on the quality of VGI and to providing potential users of OSM with concrete methods and tools to answer their questions about the suitability of the data for a specific purpose.

Routing for Accessibility

The City of Heidelberg, HeiGIT/ GIScience Research Group and MatchriderGO were working in this project to increase mobility for people whose walking ability is permanently or temporarily limited. For people with limited walking ability it is (among other things) important to know about streets with sidewalks that are of a certain width, the presence of small inclines, and whether the surface is of a suitable material. The project “Routing for Accessibility” will enable people with limited mobility to better plan their route through the city using their smartphones and thereby enable them increasing social participation despite their physical constraints.


The project osm-wms.de, a global map service based on OSM, created in previous projects of GIScience or the HeiGIT project phase, provides the maps via the OGC-WMS format other than the usual map tile providers. This increases the flexibility of the usage of this service as you are able to use the map not only by using this website, but also by registering the wms service in any GIS software that supports the standard protocol of the OpenGeospatialConsortium OGC-WMS.


HistOSM is a WebGIS application to visually explore historic objects stored in the OpenStreetMap database. Your visual exploration process is supported by dynamically created statistics showing the top most used object categories in the current map view extent. The diagram itself can be used to filter the objects on the map to a specific value by clicking on a category. You can retrieve detailed tag information and links to asociated images, websites, wikipedia articles, organizational references of individual objects.

Case Study Vaccine Routing

View fullscreen

View pdf on mobile

Case Study Machine Learning

View fullscreen

View pdf on mobile

Case Study MapSwipe

View fullscreen

View pdf on mobile

Case Study Quality Assessment

View fullscreen

View pdf on mobile

Case Study OSM Stats

View fullscreen

View pdf on mobile

Case Study ohsome-Hex: Analyzing Baseline Health Facility Data

View fullscreen

View pdf on mobile