Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Most of the applications providing pedestrian routing I see are sufficient for many needs but not optimal: you cannot cross open spaces like town squares, routing is in the middle of the street etc.

Do you have examples of websites or applications with routing really specific to pedestrians?


share|improve this question
I think your issue isn't "methodologies" or "websites". The issue is primarily lack of data in open space usage. What seems rational to cross such as a park or a public building, if not mapped, no algorithm or website can determine that. – dassouki Mar 6 '13 at 19:25
I agree with you with the potential lack of data, but I am surprised no municipality for example has this kind of data and the service related – FredB Mar 6 '13 at 22:02
Not necessarily routing, but publishes walkability scores for different locations. They also publish a web api. – Kirk Kuykendall Jul 3 '13 at 20:40

We are working on a multimodal routing for Austria (also for pedestrians). What I can say till now:

  • You need the data: It took at least 4 years and even longer to collect all the necessary walkways, barriers, steps, opening times, streets, railways, bikeways, ferrys, and, and and...and its still going on
  • You need a router which can interprete theses graphs and transfers between the different networkings, including all the metainformation (traffic jams on the streets, trains getting late, opening times of a portal to a park)

Our very first prototype was which does mutlimodal routing in the eastern vienna region of austria. It was released 2009.

enter image description here

In 2013 there will be a new site which will hopefully provide also an improved pedestrian routing (routing pedestrians over existing walkways only, also respecting safety). At the moment its in internal beta testing, and there is still some work to do.

These projects were also presented at the ITS World Congress which also was held in .... tataaa ... Vienna last year, so the routing theme and ITS in general is experiencing kind of a hype here at the moment

share|improve this answer

enter image description here

Google Maps has an option to do pedestrian routing. I tested it for the San Antonio riverwalk, and it seems to work (this path cannot be driven). I'm sure less popular walkways are missing from their network.

I'm not sure if their algorithm handles large open spaces. I suspect they are using a graph based approach. Finding the best path across a large field would be tricky ... but if a dog can learn Snell's law, seems like a web app could too. I notice Google Maps no longer suggests swimming across the ocean.

share|improve this answer

Check out OpenTripPlanner. It is an open source trip planning package that uses OpenStreetMap data to route trips. It is able to route through plazas and other open pedestrian areas.

share|improve this answer
Thanks I didn't know OpenTripPlanner was able to route through areas – FredB Jul 4 '13 at 10:14

Check out (and especially the first and last part of the routes that is pedestrian). Example:!&ZADR=1&Z=Kiel,August-Viktoria%201!&start=1

This uses a routeplanner that does pedestrian navigation over polygon-areas (parkingplaces, squares, parks) combined with routing along roads.

The same routingengine is also used in other applications (example: which gives another example on how it works when navigating over open areas).

The openarea navigation is done by doing a proprocessing with a bitmapnavigation algorithm that calculates the connections over areas (including avoidance of "holes" in the area)

Of you want more information about the routingengine and how it can be used, feel free to contact me

share|improve this answer

Maybe I'm simplifying this a little too much; but wouldn't high detailed DSMs and a road/river network cover just about 90% of walkabity? A high detailed DSM (lidar) would give you walkable and open terrain, buildings, dense forest, bridges, water, steep slopes. Performing a walkability analysis on that would be similar to a water course, the path of least resistance.

share|improve this answer
It's more complex than that. Although a costdistance calculation is a natural approach, it just cannot handle the fact that at many locations there must be multiple different costs of crossing. A simple example would be a road with a pedestrian walkway: while on the road, a pedestrian could walk freely in its direction, but otherwise such a road (if it is elevated or has walls or a median strip barrier) would be an obstacle to a pedestrian crossing from one side to the other. – whuber Jun 30 '13 at 13:30

While this does not answer the routing algorithm part of your question, I thought it worth to at least mention this example of a dataset which I think would be perfect for pedestrian routing:

The city of Vienna has a polygon model of the whole city which maps out in great detail pedestrian walks and crossings, parks and much more (zoom in as far as possible but as far as I know, there is no routing application which takes advantage of this data.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
Despite of the viennese city map, Vienna (and all other austrian counties) are building up a multimodal graph ( since 2009, which also handles pedestrian walkways, espescially where it is allowed and safe to walk, or for example free of barriers. The problem we have in this project, is that the graph is very complex and there isn't really a router off the shelve which can easily handle these. At the moment, a prototype gets finished and hopefully released soon, which will be based on this graph data under the url – Jürgen Zornig Jun 29 '13 at 21:12

I have worked a lot with this sw for dynamic microsimulation: Quadstone-Paramics. Now I have stop to work with it but I know that they have studied also a pedestrian model. You can try to see on this website: Quadstone Paramics

share|improve this answer

I ended up by building my own application for pedestrian routing, based on OpenStreetMap data. It is only available for Toulouse, France for now:

Some features specific to pedestrian routing:

  • route on the sidewalks when available in OSM
  • possibility to cross an open space like a public square (I generate visibility graphs on the polygons in order to do that)
  • several pedestrian profiles to fit the user needs.
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.