Enabling Geospatial integration in applications.

Despite the fact that spatially enabled databases have been around pretty much everywhere for quite sometime there’s still a heck a lot of enterprise applications out there that are not using the feature even though their backends support it.

SQL server has had the facility since 2008 , Oracle has it as well although it is with the expensive Oracle 11g Enterprise edition.

So if its available why are so many applications not using it?

Well one of the reasons is that many of the applications which would benefit from introduction are central to organisations and were in existence long before the feature was available in backend databases. So why not introduce it as an update? Well the problem is a geospatial attribute is a form of primary key more accurate than the often completely arbitrary primary keys that most tables will take as their reference. Adding it is likely to require not just the addition of a geospatial attribute which will be a defacto primary but potentially adding a full table not as a child but as a parent to the previous parent records – the former parent records requiring the addition of foreign keys that relate to their parents.

As most of you know altering primary keys in tables is pretty much equivalent to transplant surgery for a database.
Totally wiping a primary key and starting with a different primary key that needs to then be captured for itself and related back to its children is if anything several orders of magnitude worse than that..

Doesn’t sound good does it.

This is another case where if you have paying clients or you have a purchased product that isn’t going to happen until there is an outside force from a competitor. But the benefits are legion. As it stands most information in geographical systems is flat files that has to be updated directly within either the web gis or a gis desktop. These programs are really terrible making an application fully geospatial by design allows the UI you to display the geographical information in the GIS – web or desktop and related information in forms which often have vastly improved searching / linking to other systems drop down boxes well pretty much everything.

Leave plenty of time for it but would be proper automation. Too many GIS systems are mirrored copies of a database that periodically have to be updated. This is not the long term optimum.

About Mark

Mark Brooks a forty something individual working and living in and around Edinburgh

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