PgOSM Flex allows customizing the indexes on the tables using .ini files. The default index configuration files are stored under flex-config/indexes/. The default indexing strategy is baked into the Docker image, to use the defaults you can follow the instructions throughout the documentation without any adjustments.

Custom indexes added in PgOSM Flex 0.10.0.

Map Volume in docker run

To customize indexes, map the path of your custom index definitions folder to the Docker container under /app/flex-config/indexes. This overwrites the default indexing scheme with the custom folder. You must define an INI file for each of the layers included by your chosen layerset. The easiest approach is to copy the existing directory with all of the index definitions, then customize those to your needs.

The following command assumes you have the PgOSM Flex project cloned into the ~/git/pgosm-flex folder. The noindexes example creates the PgOSM Flex tables with only the required PRIMARY KEYs.

docker run --name pgosm -d --rm \
    -v ~/pgosm-data:/app/output \
    -v /etc/localtime:/etc/localtime:ro \
    -v ~/git/pgosm-flex/flex-config/indexes/examples/noindexes:/app/flex-config/indexes \
    -p 5433:5432 -d rustprooflabs/pgosm-flex

The lotsofexamples folder under flex-config/indexes/examples/ illustrates creating indexes on nearly all columns.

INI files

Each Lua style (flex-config/style/*.lua) must have a matching INI file under flex-config/indexes/. Each .ini file should have 4 sections defined. These sections can all be empty.





Index settings in the [all] section will apply to all tables in the layer unless specific tables override the setting. Indexes in the [point], [line], and [polygon] sections apply to only those specific tables. The variables to use for indexes are described in the next section.

Index variables

There are three (3) variables that can be configured for each column in the PgOSM Flex database. <name> is the name of the column in the database.

  • <name>
  • <name>_where
  • <name>_method

See the section Most Columns can be Indexed for details about which columns can be indexed.

To index or not to index

The <name> variable is the column's name and is set to boolean. To add an index to the admin_level column add admin_level=true. To exclude an index from a column either omit the column from the definition file, or set it to false, e.g. admin_level=false.

Partial indexes

Partial indexes can be created with the <name>_where variable. The admin_level column can have a partial index created on rows where the admin_level value is set using admin_level_where=admin_level IS NOT NULL.

admin_level_where=admin_level IS NOT NULL

Index method

The <name>_method variable can be used to set the index method used by Postgres. This value is passed to osm2pgsql's method option, which appears to hand off to Postgres. This should allow any indexing method supported by Postgres.

One common way to use the <name>_method variable is to change a spatial column's index from GIST to SPGIST using geom_method=spgist. GEOMETRY columns default to GIST and all other columns default to BTREE.


See Paul Ramsey's post (The Many) Spatial Indexes of PostGIS for more information about when to choose SPGIST.

Setting index method isn't limited to spatial indexes. The following example illustrates adding a BRIN index to the admin_level column.


Most columns can be indexed

The only limit to which columns can be indexed is the index_columns list defined in flex_config/helpers.lua.

If there are columns that you would like to index this way submit either a pull request or create an issue requesting the change.


Setting indexes is only relevant for the first import. When using --replication these configurations only impact the initial import. Subsequent imports make no attempt to verify / adjust database indexes.

The primary key cannot be omitted using this approach. The primary keys on osm_id are created in post-processing SQL and is not able to be overridden using this approach.

The simplest index specification file is shown above by defining the four (4) empty sections define no indexes beyond the table's PRIMARY KEY on the osm_id column.