2 years of overpass turbo

Posted by tyr_asd on 8 February 2015 in English (English). Last updated on 28 September 2020.

overpass turbo has been around for a little over two years now. In this time, it arguably changed how developers and mappers interact with OSM data. Let us take this opportunity to look back and take a glimpse at some statistics:


The user-base has more than quintupled from the initial group of early adopters as can be seen in the following Piwik graph:

visitor stats

Note that the actual absolute number of visitors is likely significantly higher than what is reported here, because surely many of you have the do-not-track flag activated or are using tracker blocking software in your browsers. Speaking of it – as of today you can opt-out from any tracking on also by simply switching it off in the settings dialog under the privacy tab.

shared queries

Shortly after its release, overpass turbo got the ability to share queries in the form of short URLs (e.g. Here is some insight into what queries people have been sharing since then:

This map shows the locations associated with each shared query: shared query locations

Of course, central Europe is quite the center of activity, but in general the tool seems to be used all over the planet, which is nice.

The next thing we’re looking at are the two query languages. In the beginning overpass turbo preferred the Overpass XML variant (in code examples and queries generated by the wizard). Later, this default was switched over to the QL query language. This can be seen in the following graph: red is XML, blue stands for QL, brighter colours stand for queries that are taken or derived from output produced by the query wizard. Each column represents a set of 512 consecutively shared queries. Note that this means that the x-axis isn’t a linear function of time [timestamps are not stored in the short-url database as they aren’t needed to provide the service].

query language stats

One can immediately identify two main events: First, the introduction of the query wizard in Dezember 2013, and the above mentioned switch from XML to QL as the default query language in October 2014.

Another interesting fact: about 10% of all shared queries use some amount of MapCSS styling.

The question now is what will the next few years bring? Let’s find out! ;)

Comment from DaCor on 8 February 2015 at 22:06

I know I personally hadnt a clue what overpass was until the wizard came along

It really has made a huge difference

Comment from Abbe98 on 8 February 2015 at 22:32

The MapCSS feature was new for my knowledge! :-)

Comment from joost schouppe on 10 February 2015 at 14:03

Not being a programmer and having manual-o-fobia, I second DaCor. Absolutely love the wizard as a way to get to know the thing.

Now for an interface that directly converts a query to a nice little global uMap to get those user numbers even further up :)

Comment from Supaplex on 12 February 2015 at 16:07

I love the OverPass Turbo. It makes getting OSM data more easy. I can share the querry link with someone that show them interesting stuff on OSM.

Comment from Mateusz Konieczny on 10 April 2015 at 16:29

I want to thank you for the overpass turbo. It is really amazing tool allowing to quickly find missing/bad data (I am using it to find nearby roads without surface tags).

It is possible to make simple but powerful visualizations, yesterday one was used by a local portal (I quickly made a map of places with playgrounds to illustrate that city center has none - ).

Thanks for this amazing tool!

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