What is the difference between Nominatim and Overpass-Api?

What can't I do with Nominatim that I can do with the overpass-api ?

  • 4
    In your research so far what have you found to be any evident differences?
    – PolyGeo
    Nov 5, 2016 at 10:08
  • 1
    What are you trying to do? Nov 5, 2016 at 13:58
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    – underdark
    Nov 5, 2016 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


Nominatim is a geocoder and reverse-geocoder. You can search for an address and it will return the location. Likewise you can search for a location and it will return its full address hierarchy. Nominatim usually only returns address-related tags from OSM.

Overpass API instead can query for all tags in OSM. You can search for POIs, parking spaces, roads, rivers, speed cameras, traffic lights, ... However it just allows you to search for raw tags. It doesn't know about addresses (except for the raw address tags in OSM), especially it lacks the knowledge of address hierarchies.

For a better understanding of their differences and specific use-cases take a look at the Nominatim examples and Overpass API exmaples in the OSM wiki.

  • 1
    Overpass API feature list looks somewhat incomplete, which is probably due to the language guide cited (it's a bit dated). For a better idea on what is possible, I'd recommend to take a look at the following wiki page: wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Overpass_API/Overpass_QL -
    – mmd
    Nov 5, 2016 at 20:21
  • Hi, what OSM does mean?
    – franz1
    Jun 17, 2019 at 8:45
  • OSM stands for OpenStreetMap in this context.
    – scai
    Jun 17, 2019 at 9:09

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