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ReadOSM is an open source library to extract valid data from within an Open Street Map input file. Such OSM files come in two different formats:

  • files identified by the .osm suffix simply are plain XML files.
  • files identified by the .osm.pbf suffix does containt the same identical data, but adopting the Google's Protocol Buffer serialization format and thus requiring much less storage space.

The ReadOSM design goals are:
  • to be simple and lightweight
  • to be stable, robust and efficient
  • to be easily and universally portable
  • making the whole parsing process of both .osm or .osm.pbf files completely transparent from the application own perspective.

ReadOSM is structurally simple and quite light-weight (typically about 20K of object code, stripped).

ReadOSM is licensed under the MPL tri-license terms; you are free to choose the best-fit license between:

Strictly related projects:
Sources: current version is 1.1.0a (released on 2020-08-02)
Doxygen documentation:
  • online HTML overview doc
  • download HTML overview tarball (tar.gz)
  • download HTML overview zipfile (zip)
  • PDF of full documentation
Lua binding available from