What is Pelias ?

Pelias is an open-source search engine for our world and was originally created by Mapzen in 2014. But in 2018, Mapzen announced the end of its hosted services. As an open source project, Pelias survived thanks to Julian and Peter from Mapzen who still maintain it. After the Mapzen shutdown, they created their own company named Geocode Earth. They continue Pelias development and are also Pelias API providers.

Jawg meets Pelias

Before choosing Pelias, we looked at the alternatives on the market. Among the alternatives there was Nominatim (another open-source project) or proprietary providers (reseller licence). Back then, we noticed some flaws in Pelias, mainly in French addresses search which is our main market. Despite this, I pushed Pelias over others and Pelias was our final choice.

Why Pelias ?

Pelias was a 2 year old project when we started using it, as a comparison, Nominatim was a +7 year old project. This did not stop us because as a young project, Pelias also uses new technologies (Javascript + ElasticSearch vs C + PHP + Postgres for Nominatim). The main drawback with old and complex projects like Nominatim is “What can we do if something is wrong ?” or “What can we do if we need to extend the project ?”. At Jawg we are Java/Kotlin developers with good skills in Javascript, so contributing to Pelias is not an issue. Choosing Pelias was a bet on the future !

Now, I'm a part of the Pelias core team and I'm contributing to improve Pelias and our geocoder. The biggest contributions I have made was on the new pelias parser for autocomplete search. This was a real challenge for both Jawg and the Pelias team, creating a new address parser able to analyse incomplete addresses in all languages. This feature was named “Address comma city” by our Product Owner because commas were required for autocomplete searches. This was an huge step forward and it's the kind of change that motives us to continue to improve Pelias !

Pelias compare project with Jawg as map provider

As a open-source project, Pelias needs help. This is an important part of our business, that's why Jawg is now a sponsor of Pelias. We are offering our maps services freely to all Pelias projects and we helped with their new design. Of course, we will continue to contribute to Pelias and improve the project with Geocode Earth. This is only the beginning of our journey.

See you soon.