26 - Timeouts and endpoints

Like any open, public API the Overpass API imposes both time and memory limits on queries.

The default time out value is 180 seconds. Which is quite a long time, although in practice your query might also be rejected because of server load or because it hits memory limits.

While the default timeout is quite generous, sometimes you just need a little bit more time. The timeout query parameter can be used to request a longer timeout for your query.

Use it to specify a timeout value in seconds. The below takes our earlier CSV output example and sets a timeout of 60 seconds.

One other option available is to switch to using a different Overpass API endpoint. There are a number of public Overpass instances. But there are others which are listed on the OSM wiki.

When you're using Overpass Turbo your queries will be load-balanced across two of these endpoints.

Be sure to check the details around terms of use before putting any load on them. And be aware that they don't store exactly the same data. Some don't include "attic data" which includes data about historical changes to the OSM database.

If you're querying the APIs directly, then you can just point your code at the right URL. But if you're using Overpass Turbo then you'll need to include a special instruction as the first line of your query.

To use the Kumi Systems Overpass instance, use the following:


Source File26-timeouts-and-endpoints.osm
  • Leigh Dodds