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Custom Models

Currently available for the POST /route endpoint only and up on request. If you are interested - send us a support request.

Examples can be found here. You'll also find a link to a demo server including an editor with the JSON format that will check the syntax of your custom model and mark errors in red. You can press Ctrl+Space or Alt+Enter to retrieve auto-complete suggestions. Pressing Ctrl+Enter will send a routing request for the custom model you entered.

GraphHopper provides an easy-to-use way to customize its route calculations: custom models allow you to modify the default routing behavior by specifying a set of rules in JSON language. A simple example using the profile name of your choice or communicated from our support:

curl -XPOST -H "Content-Type: application/json" "https://graphhopper.com/api/1/route?key=your_api_key" --data '
{
  "points": [
    [
      13.31543,
      52.509535
    ],
    [
      13.29779,
      52.512434
    ]
  ],
  "profile": "your_profile",
  "ch.disable": true,
  "custom_model": {
    "speed": [
      {
        "if": true,
        "limit_to": 100
      }
    ],
    "priority": [
      {
        "if": "road_class == MOTORWAY",
        "multiply_by": 0
      }
    ],
    "distance_influence": 100
  }
}
'

Do not forget about the closing ' as otherwise embedding the JSON on the command line will fail. You can also save this JSON text into a route.json file and use --data @route.json instead of the text.

How GraphHopper's route calculations work

One of GraphHopper's most important functionality is the calculation of the 'optimal' route between two locations. To do this, GraphHopper subdivides the entire road network into so called 'edges'. Every edge represents a certain road segment between two junctions. Therefore finding the optimal route between two locations means finding the optimal sequence of edges that connect the two locations. GraphHopper stores certain attributes (so called 'encoded values') for every edge and applies a formula (the so called 'weighting') to calculate a numeric 'weight' for every edge. The total weight of a route is the sum of all the edge's weights. The optimal route is the one where the total weight is the smallest.

For example you can imagine the edge weight to be the time you need to travel from one junction to another. Finding the fastest route from A to B is then equivalent to finding the route for which the total time is minimal. Or similarly, you might want to find not the fastest, but the shortest route. In this case an edge's weight would be simply the distance of the corresponding road segment and again the optimal route would be the one with the minimum weight. However, it does not have to be as simple as that. To find a short route that is still fast the weighting might involve distance and time. Or maybe certain roads should be avoided, then the weight should be very large for the corresponding edges, such that routes that include these roads come out with a large total weight and others that do not include these roads come out with a smaller total weight and thus will be preferred.

Internally, GraphHopper uses the following formula for the weighting:

edge_weight = edge_distance / (speed * priority) + edge_distance * distance_influence

To simplify the discussion, let's first assume that distance_influence=0 and priority=1 so the formula simply reads:

edge_weight = edge_distance / speed

The weight is the larger the longer the road segment is and the smaller the faster we travel. The weight is simply the travel time. The speed obviously depends on the type of the road and our vehicle type. Riding a bike you are faster on concrete than on gravel and driving a car you are faster than a scooter for example. Therefore, GraphHopper stores the speed for every edge based on the road type for different vehicles.

It is important to note that changing the speed not only changes the edge weight which, as we just learned, is used to determine the optimal route, but also the actual travelling time of a route. But what if we want to increase an edge's weight, so it won't be part of the optimal route in case there is a better alternative, but we do not want to modify the travelling time? This is the reason why there is the priority factor in the above formula. It works the same way as speed, but changing the priority only changes the edge weight, and not the travelling time. By default, priority is always 1, so it has no effect, but it can be used to modify the edge weights as we will see in the next section.

Finally, distance_influence allows us to control the trade-off between a fast route (minimum time) and a short route (minimum distance). For example if priority=1 setting distance_influence=0 means that GraphHopper will return the fastest possible route and the larger distance_influence is the more GraphHopper will prioritize routes with a small total distance. More precisely, the distance_influence is the time you need to save on a detour (a longer distance route option) such that you prefer taking the detour compared to a shorter route. Again assuming that priority=1, a value of zero means that no matter how little time you can save when doing a detour you will take it, i.e. you always prefer the fastest route no matter how large the detour is. A value of 30 means that one extra kilometer of detour must save you 30s of travelling time or else you are not willing to take the detour. Or to put it another way, if a reference route takes 600s and is 10km long, distance_influence=30 means that you are willing to take an alternative route that is 11km long only if it takes no longer than 570s (saves 30s). Things get a bit more complicated when priority is not strictly 1, but the effect stays the same: The larger distance_influence is, the more GraphHopper will focus on finding short routes.

Edge attributes used by GraphHopper: Encoded Values

GraphHopper stores different attributes, so called 'encoded values', for every road segment. Some frequently used encoded values are the following (some of their possible values are given in brackets):

  • road_class: (OTHER, MOTORWAY, TRUNK, PRIMARY, SECONDARY, TRACK, STEPS, CYCLEWAY, FOOTWAY, ...)
  • road_environment: (ROAD, FERRY, BRIDGE, TUNNEL, ...)
  • road_access: (DESTINATION, DELIVERY, PRIVATE, NO, ...)
  • surface: (PAVED, DIRT, SAND, GRAVEL, ...)
  • toll: (NO, ALL, HGV)

To learn about all available encoded values you can query the /info endpoint.

Besides this kind of categories, which can take multiple different string values, there are also some that represent a boolean value (they are either true or false for a given edge), like:

  • get_off_bike
  • road_class_link

There are also some that take on a numeric value, like:

  • max_weight
  • max_height
  • max_width

In the next section will see how we can use these encoded values to customize GraphHopper's route calculations.

How you can customize GraphHopper's route calculations: Custom Models

As described in the previous sections, GraphHopper's route calculations are controlled by the weighting of the different road segments. GraphHopper offers a simple way to modify this weighting based on the edges' encoded values. To make use of this you need to specify a so called 'custom model', which is a set of rules that determine the speed and the priority of an edge. The custom model is written in JSON language and also includes a few more parameters like the distance_influence.

Here is a complete request example for a POST /route query in berlin that includes a custom model:

{
  "points": [
    [
      13.31543,
      52.509535
    ],
    [
      13.29779,
      52.512434
    ]
  ],
  "profile": "car",
  "custom_model": {
    "speed": [
      {
        "if": true,
        "limit_to": 100
      }
    ],
    "priority": [
      {
        "if": "road_class == MOTORWAY",
        "multiply_by": 0
      }
    ],
    "distance_influence": 50
  }
} 

Note that this only works for custom profiles and so far only for POST /route (but not GET /route or /isochrone, /spt or /map-matching).

In the following we will explain custom models in detail. Setting up rules for speed and priority is very similar, so in our examples we will first concentrate on the speed rules, but as you will see they can be applied very much the same way for priority as well.

Custom models by the example of customizing speed

When using custom models you do not need to define rules that specify a speed for every edge, but rather GraphHopper assumes a default speed that is set on the server-side. All you need to do is adjust this default speed to your use-case. Typically, you will use the custom model in conjunction with a routing profile or vehicle which is used to determine the default speed.

The custom model is a JSON object and the first property we will learn about here is the speed property. The speed property's value is a list of conditional statements that modify the default speed. Every such statement consists of a condition and an operation. The different statements are applied to the default speed from top to bottom, i.e. statements that come later in the list are applied to the resulting value of previous operations. Each statement is only executed if the corresponding condition applies for the current edge. This will become more clear in the following examples.

Currently the custom model language supports two operators:

  • multiply_by multiplies the speed value with a given number
  • limit_to limits the speed value to a given number

if statements and the multiply_by operation

Let's start with a simple example using multiply_by:

{
  "speed": [
    {
      "if": "road_class == MOTORWAY",
      "multiply_by": 0.5
    }
  ]
}

This custom model reduces the speed of every road segment for which the road_class encoded value is MOTORWAY to fifty percent of the default speed (the default speed is multiplied by 0.5). Again, the default speed is the speed that GraphHopper would normally use for the profile's vehicle. Note the if clause which means that the operation (multiply_by) is only applied if the condition road_class == MOTORWAY is fulfilled for the edge under consideration. The == indicates equality, i.e. the condition reads "the road_class equals MOTORWAY". If you're a bit familiar with programming note that the condition (the value of the if key) is just a boolean condition in Java language (other programming languages like C or JavaScript are very similar in this regard). A more complex condition could look like this: road_class == PRIMARY || road_class == TERTIARY which uses the or (||) operator and literally means "road_class equals PRIMARY or road_class equals TERTIARY".

There can be multiple such 'if statements' in the speed section, and they are evaluated from top to bottom:

{
  "speed": [
    {
      "if": "road_class == MOTORWAY",
      "multiply_by": 0.5
    },
    {
      "if": "road_class == PRIMARY || road_environment == TUNNEL",
      "multiply_by": 0.7
    }
  ]
}

In this example the default speed of edges with road_class == MOTORWAY will be multiplied by 0.5, the default speed of edges with road_class == PRIMARY will be multiplied by 0.7 and for edges with both road_class == MOTORWAY and road_environment == TUNNEL the default speed will be multiplied first by 0.5 and then by 0.7. So overall the default speed will be multiplied by 0.35. For edges with road_class == PRIMARY and road_environment == TUNNEL we only multiply by 0.7, even though both parts of the second condition apply. It only matters whether the edge matches the condition or not.

road_class and road_environment are categories of 'enum' type, i.e. their value can only be one of a fixed set of values, like MOTORWAY for road_class.

Other categories like get_off_bike are of boolean type. They can be used as conditions directly, for example:

{
  "speed": [
    {
      "if": "get_off_bike",
      "multiply_by": 0.6
    }
  ]
}

which means that for edges with get_off_bike==true the speed factor will be 0.6.

For categories/encoded values with numeric values, like max_width you should not use the == (equality) or != ( inequality) operators, but the numerical comparison operators "bigger" >, "bigger or equals" >=, "smaller" <, or "smaller or equals" <=, e.g.:

{
  "speed": [
    {
      "if": "max_width < 2.5",
      "multiply_by": 0.8
    }
  ]
}

which means that for all edges with max_width smaller than 2.5m the speed is multiplied by 0.8.

Categories of string type are used like this (note the quotes ''):

{
  "speed": [
    {
      "if": "country == 'DEU'",
      "multiply_by": 0
    }
  ]
}

The limit_to operation

Besides the multiply_by operator there is also the limit_to operator. As the name suggests limit_to limits the current value to the given value. Take this example:

{
  "speed": [
    {
      "if": "road_class == MOTORWAY",
      "multiply_by": 0.8
    },
    {
      "if": "surface == GRAVEL",
      "limit_to": 60
    }
  ]
}

This implies that on all road segments with the GRAVEL value for surface the speed will be at most 60km/h, regardless of the default speed and the previous rules. So for a road segment with road_class == MOTORWAY, surface == GRAVEL and default speed 100 the first statement reduces the speed from 100 to 80 and the second statement further reduces the speed from 80 to 60. If the road_class was PRIMARY and the default speed was 50 the first rule would not apply and the second rule would do nothing, because limiting 50 to 60 still yields 50.

Note that all values used for limit_to must be in the range [0, max_vehicle_speed] where max_vehicle_speed is the maximum speed that is set for the base vehicle and cannot be changed.

A common use-case for the limit_to operation is the following pattern:

{
  "speed": [
    {
      "if": true,
      "limit_to": 90
    }
  ]
}

which means that the speed is limited to 90km/h for all road segments regardless of its properties. The condition true is always fulfilled.

else and else_if statements

The else statement allows you to define that some operations should be applied if an edge does not match a condition. So this example:

{
  "speed": [
    {
      "if": "road_class == MOTORWAY",
      "multiply_by": 0.5
    },
    {
      "else": "",
      "limit_to": 50
    }
  ]
}

means that for all edges with road_class == MOTORWAY we multiply the default speed by 0.5 and for all others we limit the default speed to 50 (but never both).

In case you want to distinguish more than two cases (edges that match or match not a condition) you can use else_if statements which are only evaluated in case the previous if or else_if statement did not match:

{
  "speed": [
    {
      "if": "road_class == MOTORWAY",
      "multiply_by": 0.5
    },
    {
      "else_if": "road_environment == TUNNEL",
      "limit_to": 70
    },
    {
      "else": "",
      "multiply_by": 0.9
    }
  ]
}

So if the first condition matches (road_class == MOTORWAY) the default speed is multiplied by 0.5, but the other two statements are ignored. Only if the first statement does not match (e.g. road_class == PRIMARY) the second statement is even considered and only if it matches (road_environment == TUNNEL) the default speed is limited to 70. The last operation (multiply_by: 0.9) is only applied if both previous conditions did not match.

else and else_if statements always require a preceding if or else_if statement. However, there can be multiple 'blocks' of subsequent if/else_if/else statements in the list of rules for speed.

else_if is useful for example in case you have multiple multiply_by operations, but you do not want that the speed gets reduced by all of them. For the following model

{
  "speed": [
    {
      "if": "road_class == MOTORWAY",
      "multiply_by": 0.5
    },
    {
      "else_if": "road_environment == TUNNEL",
      "multiply_by": 0.8
    }
  ]
}

only the first factor (0.5) will be applied even for road segments that fulfill both conditions.

areas

You can not only modify the speed of road segments based on properties, like we saw in the previous examples, but you can also modify the speed of road segments based on their location. To do this you need to first create and add some areas to the areas section of the custom model. You can then use the name of these areas in the conditions of your if/else/else_if statements.

In the following example we multiply the speed of all edges in an area called custom1 with 0.7 and also limit it to 50km/h. Note that each area's name needs to be prefixed with in_:

{
  "speed": [
    {
      "if": "in_custom1",
      "multiply_by": 0.7
    },
    {
      "if": "in_custom1",
      "limit_to": 50
    }
  ],
  "areas": {
    "custom1": {
      "type": "Feature",
      "id": "something",
      "properties": {},
      "geometry": {
        "type": "Polygon",
        "coordinates": [
          [
            [
              1.525,
              42.511
            ],
            [
              1.510,
              42.503
            ],
            [
              1.531,
              42.495
            ],
            [
              1.542,
              42.505
            ],
            [
              1.525,
              42.511
            ]
          ]
        ]
      }
    }
  }
}

Areas are given in GeoJson format, but currently only the exact format in the above example is supported, i.e. one object with type Feature, a geometry with type Polygon and optional (but ignored) id and properties fields. Note that the coordinates array of Polygon is an array of arrays that each must describe a closed ring, i.e. the first point must be equal to the last. Each point is given as an array [longitude, latitude], so the coordinates array has three dimensions total.

Using the areas feature you can also block entire areas i.e. by multiplying the speed with 0, but for this you should rather use the priority section that we will explain next.

Customizing priority

Make sure you read the introductory section of this document to learn what the priority factor means. In short it allows similar modifications as speed, but instead of modifying the edge weights and travel times it will only affect the edge weights. By default, the priority is 1 for every edge, so it does not affect the weight. However, changing the priority of a road can yield a relative weight difference in comparison to other roads.

Customizing the priority works very much like changing the speed, so in case you did not read the section about speed you should go back there and read it now. The only real difference is that there is no limit_to operator for priority. As a quick reminder here is an example for priority:

{
  "priority": [
    {
      "if": "road_class == MOTORWAY",
      "multiply_by": 0.5
    },
    {
      "else_if": "road_class == SECONDARY",
      "multiply_by": 0.9
    },
    {
      "if": "road_environment == TUNNEL",
      "multiply_by": 0.1
    }
  ]
}

means that road segments with road_class==MOTORWAY and road_environment==TUNNEL get priority 0.5*0.1=0.05 and those with road_class==SECONDARY and no TUNNEL, get priority 0.9 and so on.

Edges with lower priority values will be less likely part of the optimal route calculated by GraphHopper, higher values mean that these road segments shall be preferred. If you do not want to state which road segments shall be avoided, but rather which ones shall be preferred, you need to decrease the priority of others:

{
  "priority": [
    {
      "if": "road_class != CYCLEWAY",
      "multiply_by": 0.8
    }
  ]
}

means decreasing the priority for all road_classes except cycleways.

Just like we saw for speed you can also adjust the priority for road segments in a certain area. It works exactly the same way:

{
  "priority": [
    {
      "if": "in_custom1",
      "multiply_by": 0.7
    }
  ]
}

To block an entire area set the priority value to 0. You can even set the priority only for certain roads in an area like this:

{
  "priority": [
    {
      "if": "road_class == MOTORWAY && in_custom1",
      "multiply_by": 0.1
    }
  ]
}

Some other useful encoded values to restrict access to certain roads depending on your vehicle dimensions are the following:

{
  "priority": [
    {
      "if": "max_width < 2.5",
      "multiply_by": 0
    },
    {
      "if": "max_length < 10",
      "multiply_by": 0
    },
    {
      "if": "max_weight < 3.5",
      "multiply_by": 0
    }
  ]
}

which means that the priority for all road segments that allow a maximum vehicle width of 2.5m, a maximum vehicle length of 10m or a maximum vehicle weight of 3.5tons, or less, is zero, i.e. these "narrow" road segments are blocked.

Customizing distance_influence

We already explained the meaning of distance_influence in one of the previous sections. To specify its value simply use the distance_influence property of the custom value like this:

{
  "distance_influence": 100
}

If you do not use this property, GraphHopper will use the default value which is 70.

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