generated on 2019-08-22 00:08:53.789912 from the wiki page for Simulation/Output/Binary for SUMO git

All SUMO applications (SUMO, NETCONVERT,...) can save all its outputs including networks and routes in SUMO Binary XML (.sbx) and also read the corresponding files as input. This output format is used automatically whenever an output file name with extension .sbx is specified. In order to read these files they must also have the .sbx extension (for all other extensions, XML is assumed). The format is XML and TraCI inspired and aims to be self contained (can be read without additional information from a network etc.).

Data types

Every data item is preceeded by a single byte describing the type which is one of the following:

  • Byte (single unsigned byte, also used for boolean values)
  • Integer (32bit, signed, endianness see below)
  • Double (standard double precision floating point)
  • String (32bit integer encoding length (n), followed by n unsigned chars 7bit-ASCII; UTF8 may be implemented later)
  • List (32bit integer encoding length (n), followed by n entries each having a possibly different type stated up front)
  • XML-Element-Start (two bytes referring to the element list)
  • XML-Element-End (no data, just an indicator)
  • XML-Attribut (two bytes referring to the attribute list, see below)
  • Edge (32bit integer referring to the edge list, currently unused)
  • Lane (32bit integer referring to the edge list, followed by a single byte encoding the index, currently unused)
  • Position2D (2 doubles)
  • Position3D (3 doubles)
  • Color (4 bytes)
  • Node-Type (single byte referring to the respective list, see below)
  • Edge-Function (single byte referring to the respective list, see below)
  • Route (32bit integer encoding length (n), followed by bineary encoded route, see below)
  • Scaled Integer (32bit int, fixed point float with two decimals)
  • Scaled Position2D (2 32bit int, analogue Position2D fixed point float with two decimals)
  • Scaled Position3D (3 32bit int, analogue Position3D fixed point float with two decimals)

The change from version 1 to version 2 consisted of an "upgrade" of XML-Element-Start and XML-Attribut to two bytes (least significant first) whereas the explicit reference to the XML-element is now omitted from XML-Element-End. Please note that encoding shapes binary may increase file size because small nets only need 7 bytes per coordinate when truncated to two decimals. Regarding endianness / byte order: Opposed to TraCI we use platform byte order for easier usage with the FileHelper-functions.



Every file starts with a single byte SUMO Binary XML version number, followed by a string containing the SUMO version. Before SUMO 0.29.0 the version number was 1, starting with 0.29.0 it is 2. After that there are

  • a list of strings containing all XML elements
  • a list of strings containing all XML attributes
  • a list of strings containing all node types
  • a list of strings containing all edge functions
  • a list of strings containing all edges
  • a list of connection lists which themselves contain ints as reference into the edge list

The two last lists may be empty but if they are, the usage of the edge, lane and route types are not allowed (the respective entries need to be strings)

"real content"

  • simple XML oriented style with the following PseudoBNF:
    • Simple = Byte | Integer | Double | String | List | Edge | Lane | Position2D | Position3D | Color | Node-Type | Edge-Function | Route
    • XMLContent = XML-Element-Start (XML-Attribut Simple)* XMLContent* XML-ELement-End
  • no comments or whitespace, no character data

Route encoding

Routes, or more precisely lists of consecutive (in the sense of being connected in the network) edges, can be compressed most efficiently. If the route is connected every edge is encoded as the successor index to the previous edge in the connection list from the header. This is done using as few bits as possible (e.g. if no edge has more than 16 successors, 4 bits suffice). For unconnected edge lists all edges are simply stored by their index.


The element, attribute and type lists are usually ordered the same way they are in SUMOXMLDefinitions.cpp, but this should be tested at parse (currently it is not!). This is also true for the edge and connection lists.

There is a script converting the binary format back to plain XML: <SUMO>/tools/xml/

The current implementation guesses from the file extension (.sbx) whether binary output is wished. It is currently not possible to write binary to sockets or stdout.