Looking for an alternative to hosting Nominatim yourself?

Need the benefits of open data without the complexity?

Using open data via OpenCage can significantly reduce your costs

The major differences between OpenCage and Nominatim

  • We use Nominatim, but we also use other open geocoders
  • We provide enterprise level reliability
  • We enhance the geocoding results with additional information
  • Some technical differences

Nominatim, and more

First up, let's be clear: we love Nominatim. So much so that our CTO is one of the top two Nominatim code contributors of all time. We are proud to help fund the work on Nominatim, and contribute our own patches. Nominatim is one of the main geocoders we run behind our API.

But ... we also run many other geocoders based on open data.


The same reason you don't eat all your meals with a spoon. Different tools are better for different tasks; different geocoders and different datasets are better for different types of queries.

Rest assured, though, we love OpenStreetMap and Nominatim, and we're proud to be corporate members of the OpenStreetMap Foundation and do our part to support open data and open source software.

The benefits of many open geocoders

  • Use data wherever you like
  • Store it as long as you need
  • Benefit from continual fixes of the crowd

With proprietary data none of this is possible
Robert Theml
Using open data has many benefits, doing it via OpenCage means one less thing for us to maintain.
Robert Theml · Director · SIXT Share

Enterprise level reliability

If you are considering using OpenStreetMap's public hosted Nominatim service for anything other than a small hobby project, you should not. That's not our opinion, it's the official OSM usage policy. The service they offer is designed for mappers to query OSM, it is not an enterprise level service. The official OSM instance of Nominatim offers limited and/or no support, no SLA or uptime guarantee.

Running your own instance of Nominatim is certainly doable if you have the operational skills. That's the great thing about open-source software; it is there for all to use (and contribute back to). Nevertheless, in the same way that you can repair your own car or bake your own bread, most people find it more convenient to leave it to the experts.

We have multiple, fully-redundant data centers. Our service is continually (and publicly) monitored by an independent third-party (see our status dashboard), and we're serving hundreds of customers around the world.

We are a long-term, stable partner who removes the operational headaches of operating and maintaining your own service.

Cost comparison

Is hosting your own solution actually cost effective? Have you added in the cost of on-going maintenance?

For most organisations engineering time is the most expensive resource. Why spend it on something experts can do much more cost-effectively?

We offer affordable, predictable pricing, with no long-term commitment required.

More is more

We enhance our results with annotations (information like timezones, calling codes, FIPS codes, NUTS codes, currency, what3words, time of sunrise/sunset, and more), well formatted address strings, and confidence scores.

The end result is we save expensive developer time and effort.

Technical differences

Hosting your own geocoding service can feel empowering, but it adds significant complexity.

Both the software and the geodata are changing continually and need to be kept up to date. The maintenance burden can be non-trivial.

We are experts with many years of experience providing high-volume, worldwide geocoding based on OpenStreetMap.

Comparing geocoding services?

See our Geocoding Buyer's Guide for a full list of all the factors to consider.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there and easy way to test OpenCage?
Yes, try our demo page, or register for a free-trial (requires just an email, takes 1 min).
Does OpenCage require a long-term commitment?
No, cancel whenever you like for any reason.
What does OpenCage do to support the OpenStreetMap community?
A lot! We're proud to be corporate members of the OSM Foundation, sponsor events, and fund the development of Nominatim. Learn more about our efforts,

Satisfied OpenCage Customers

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