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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 download page.

Boundless Geo

Boundless has over 14 years of experience in the open GIS technology industry; serving as the leading open mapping software and solutions provider to government and commercial sector clients. As an active member of the open source community, including OSGeo and LocationTech, Boundless contributes to over 140 projects repositories. Boundless resides in the USA and has over 80 employees spread across the globe.