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PostGIS 2.1 Released: What You Need to Know

This weekend, PostGIS 2.1.0 was released. As usual, the change log runs many pages: lots of bugs have been fixed,  features added, and  corner cases filled in.

PostGIS(Side note: As PostGIS becomes more and more feature complete and bug free, it’s interesting as a developer to see how much time ends up being spent on weird cases that only occur for one user in a thousand, or one feature in a million. It’s like Jevons paradox applied to software development.)

You can read the complete list of changes in the news file, but here’s a highlight reel:

  • More terrain analysis functions. In addition so slope and aspect calculations, there are now also roughness, Topographic Position Index and Terrain Ruggedness Index.
  • Tiling large rasters into small rasters with ST_Tile. This is useful for analyses that work best on large rasters, but are served out as results best as small tiles. The raster opposite of ST_Tile is ST_Union, which has received performance improvements in 2.1
  • New geocoding engine. The TIGER geocoder that has shipped with PostGIS for several years has been enhanced using the address normalization engine from PACG. As a result, batch geocoding is an order of magnitude faster.
  • New selectivity calculations, supporting N-D and geographic indexes, as well as improved join selectivity calculations. Will provide generally improved query planning for complex SQL.
  • Performance enhancement by up to 20x for ST_Distance calculations on geography.
  • Delaunay triangulation inside the database with ST_DelaunayTriangles.
  • Performance and functionality enhancements to ST_MapAlgebra, allowing even more crazy in-database raster analytics.

In general, the raster sub-system has received a huge number of both new functions and improved functionality in existing functions. Performance for important operations has been improved with native C implementations. Users of the vector sub-system mostly see performance improvements, with a new corner case feature additions (like ST_Distance support for arc-based geometries).

The next release of the OpenGeo Suite will include PostGIS 2.1, but until then you can get the source and build your own from the postgis.net download page.