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Example: Creating a POI map

You need at least osm2pgsql version 1.7.0 for this example.

Points of Interest (POI) such as restaurants, shops, etc. can be mapped in OSM in two different ways. Either as nodes, i. e. as a single point, or as closed ways, usually with an additional building tag. When you want to show POIs on the map you often don’t need to render the buildings they are in, you just need a single location where to put an icon.

With osm2pgsql this is easily done. Here is the Lua configuration:

Download Lua config
local pois = osm2pgsql.define_table({
    name = 'pois',
    ids = { type = 'any', type_column = 'osm_type', id_column = 'osm_id' },
    columns = {
        { column = 'name' },
        { column = 'class', not_null = true },
        { column = 'subclass' },
        { column = 'geom', type = 'point', not_null = true },

function process_poi(object, geom)
    local a = {
        name =,
        geom = geom

    if object.tags.amenity then
        a.class = 'amenity'
        a.subclass = object.tags.amenity
    elseif then
        a.class = 'shop'
        a.subclass =


function osm2pgsql.process_node(object)
    process_poi(object, object:as_point())

function osm2pgsql.process_way(object)
    if object.is_closed and object.tags.building then
        process_poi(object, object:as_polygon():centroid())

Building map of Brasília

We define a single table called pois with a point geometry column, a column for the name of the POI and class and subclass columns for the type. Most POIs will either have an amenity or a shop tag, the tag key will be written to the class column of the table, the tag value to the subclass column. You can extend this with other POI types or filter the data as needed.

For nodes we get the point geometry directly. For ways we get the polygon geometry and calculate the centroid (center point) from it. If something fails, because the way is not a valid polygon, the geometry will be null and nothing is written to the database because of the NOT NULL declaration of the geometry column.

To load the data, create a PostGIS database pois as usual and then run osm2pgsql with some OSM data extract or the planet file:

osm2pgsql -d pois -O flex -S pois.lua input.osm.pbf

For the image on the right we used an extract of the city of Berlin using different colored dots for the different types of POIs. In a real map you’ll probably use icons of course.