I'd like to get an idea for what's involved in creating isochrones for a series of sites, with a reasonable degree of accuracy to the estimates. A general outline would be great, though my scenario would be for sites in London as I guess the problem varies with availability of data.

I'm looking at travel time modelling for specific sites using transport network vectors and nodes. Data currently available are the OS Master Map Integrated Transport Network (ITN), National Public Transport Data Repository (NPTDR) which contains a snapshot of public transport timetables in "ATCO-CIF format (including its accepted variants) or in TransXChange TXC v2.1 format" (inc. bus stops), also most of the OS datasets. Tools to hand are MapInfo 10.5, Manifold 8, SQL server 08, an open source stack (Postgres/PostGIS/QGIS etc.). Trying to get a handle on the scale and complexity of the task, possible approaches and requirements. It looks big, complex and demanding, but on the other hand must be a common application of GIS technologies.

  • 3
    It might be useful to provide a little more detail about your data. Generally, if you have a set of points with a magnitude value (you may need to normalize time data so the software can treat it more easily as an attribute), do a surface interpolation and then use an isoline generator. Many GIS packages have this functionality. For example: surfaces.co.il/?p=578
    – glennon
    Aug 6, 2010 at 17:29
  • 2
    This kind of "List of X" question should be set as community wiki.
    – JasonBirch
    Aug 7, 2010 at 4:25

12 Answers 12


You could have a look at the Targomo API (formerly Route360˚), a pretty simple but powerful JS library which you can use with Leaflet (or even Google maps if you like).

It adds travel time polygons to your map for the travel times you require (e.g. 10, 20, 60 minutes) and for the following travel modes: walk, bike, car, transit.

enter image description here

There are quite a few examples on how to use the API for your own projects on the website (see above link). Geographic coverage is pretty good and new countries are constantly added.


Here is a Google Map API Mashup for Freiburg that generates Isochrones (Time) based on time http://www.mapnificent.net/freiburg/

The marker is draggable and will re-calculate on the fly.

But as euki suggests you need to be more specific on your scenario.

  • @PolyGeo update url (site changed dns/domain name) thanks for the refer
    – Mapperz
    Jul 17, 2015 at 14:51

Two more examples:

As for working with OS ITN data. Although not in the realm of FOSSGIS, this can be done fairly well using ArcGIS. ESRI UK offers ProductivitySuite tool that works well for importing and managing ITN data. Overview here. You could build a network dataset out of it, with various costs, connectivity attributes etc. This can be then used in Network Analyst extension to buid 'origin destination matrices' or 'service areas'. Work could be automated through Python scripting of course.

For more ideas about software working with OS data you might also consult their website.


In order to show isochrones (Travel Time Map) and isodistances you can try the iso4app service. This service currently is available for over 50 countries: North America, Central America,South America, Europe, Russian Federation (European part), China and Australia.

  • You can use isolines with Leaflet or Google Maps
  • Support for walk, car, bike isolines
  • Predefined toolbar control
  • Predefined speed levels and customizable speed value
  • Flags to reduce queue time and avoid tolls

You can try directly our service at demo page

Iso4App demo page

More information at www.iso4app.net

  • @mmo63 - Assuming you (editor) are the same user of posting this answer, you should probably consider merging your accounts :)
    – Joseph
    May 17, 2016 at 10:07

I'd suggest you look at this Q&A: Creating drive time polygons using open source tools

In particular this blog post might be exactly what you're looking for.


Disclaimer: I work for iGeolise

To model travel times you can use the TravelTime platform API. It uses a range of transport and map sources to produce travel time isochrones including ATOC, DFT, TFL and open street map.

The image attached is an example isochrone of all locations reachable within 45 minutes using public transport from Waterloo in London (departure time 6pm, Tuesday). It also possible to generate driving / cycling / walking and individual public transport mode isochrones.

It's available as an API to integrate within existing websites or GIS platforms - get an API key here or as an app.

enter image description here

  • Sorry Lousia, not really important I know, but your map is inaccurate! I can leave Waterloo and get home to KT12 well within 45 minutes :)
    – Matt
    Jun 14, 2016 at 13:08
  • Hi Matt - this search is assuming that you leave on the dot from Waterloo at 6pm. Depending on where you live, it is very likely you'll be able to get home within 45 minutes if leaving at 6.05 for example. We return true polygons over our API meaning you can easily integrate into any mapping API or gis front end. If you can accept json requests you can access our data in a matter of minutes. Jun 14, 2016 at 14:55
  • Hmm, yes, my train leaves Waterloo at 18:02 and arrives at 18:28. Curious, as you have a polygon at Woking, which is further down the line. Interesting stuff, but I would expect to see more polygons in general further south along the main lines out of Waterloo...
    – Matt
    Jun 14, 2016 at 15:01
  • 1
    Hi Matt - I'm also from iGeolise. The shape you are seeing is not from Waterloo station but Waterloo the place so we account for the actual walking time from there to the station, then getting a ticket, reaching the platform, boarding the train 30 seconds before departure and making sure there is a train at that departure time. This makes our shapes really accurate as we are doing full a to b routing not just making assumptions from time tables. I welcome you to have a look at our API. I think you will like it. We do a lot more than time maps too! Jun 14, 2016 at 15:43

Three more links:

  • One of your links is already dead. It would be nice to have a summary that actually addresses the questions about "what's involved in creating isochrones."
    – whuber
    Feb 15, 2015 at 21:48

Most of our software (from RouteWare) can create drivetime isochrones. Either as SDK's or as a plugin for MapInfo. We have a free importer for ITN data too, that sets up the data, almost ready for use.


You can try Openrouteservice.org, where the results are downloadable in the GeoJSON file. Afterwards, you can easily manipulate them i.e. in the interactive map builder like GoogleMyMaps.


Apart from Openrouteservice.org in this article, you will find another useful tool. I would recommend you the Targomo and Oalley - how far can I go? services


You could try TRACC produced by Basemap? Although the licence is expensive, it does handle road network travel times and public transport travel times.


Especially for public transport isochrones, it worth trying free CommuteTimeMap web app. It is capable of generating public transit isochrones for most cities in the world. "Regular" transportation modes like driving, bicycle, and walking, are supported as well. Example of public transport isochrone for Marseille, France

I also recommend checking the "How to make travel time maps for public transport" for step-by-step instructions.

Disclaimer: I'm one of the CommuteTimeMap developers and work for Geoapify


My team built an API product to make this really easy- all you need is a starting point and a travel mode and distance/time. You can check it out here: https://docs.askiggy.com/reference/travel-time and there's a quickstart quide here for displaying the isochrones on a map in python: https://docs.askiggy.com/docs/travel-time-isochrone-notebook

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