Holly’s PostGIS Blog posts

Two great things that taste great together: PostGIS and PostgreSQL


reese

In my past life as a geospatial DBA, I had to navigate users and managers who belonged to different database teams (PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, etc). When I was lucky enough to work in a shop that supported open source solutions, I was often asked by members of team MySQL, Why should we use PostgreSQL as our geospatial database when MySQL has spatial data types?” 

The answer: PostGIS.

Sure, MySQL has the ability to run spatial analysis (with some prodding). But PostgreSQL + PostGIS wins in:

  • functionality
  • performance
  • adoption by 3rd party solutions (QGIS, ArcGIS Server, GeoServer…)

So if you like to do things the free and easy way, go with PostgreSQL and PostGIS.

Why are you still paying for your GIS when you can get it for free?

If you haven’t switched to open source solutions (FREE!), then you have probably fallen for some common misconceptions/myths:

 


MYTH: Open source tools are buggy. 


Does software have bugs? Of course. It was made by humans! But open source has the benefit of a strong community that can crowdsource fixes because the code base is not proprietary (open source!) And, by the way, If you have been using the most popular proprietary GIS software (wink,wink) for more than 5 years, you know all about bugs.

MYTH: Free GIS software has a limited toolbox for analysis. 

Well this depends. Let’s refer to the 80/20 rule here. When applied to GIS, 80% of your analysis can be processed with 20% of the tools / algorithms available for a spatially enabled database. If you are a bada$$ spatial stats expert and love your proprietary tools, then by all means stick with that expensive stack (also take a look at PySAL). But if you are like most of us (roughly 80%), you can accomplish your analysis with the FREE stack.

MYTH: Open source tools are impossible to install and administer.

Granted, this has been true in the past. But the open source community has made great strides in creating tools that don’t require you to have an engineering degree to stand-up a fully functioning GIS stack. And, because the community is large (and committed), you can find a ton of tutorials and documentation on the web.

MYTH: PostGIS is fine for hobbyists, but it can’t support corporate needs.

Actually, more and more companies and government agencies are turning to PostgreSQL/PostGIS for their geospatial needs: Uber, FourSquare, NOAA, and Carto just to name a few.

In upcoming posts we will show you how to install new open source (FREE!) tools from BigSQL (powered by OpenSCG) to help you build your open source GIS stack.

Just think of all the cool stuff you can buy from the Public Lab with the money you will save…