PostGIS (I) – central datapool

Well, I know from my GIS at work, that just viewing objects will not satisfy people for a long time. For that we should create our environment in a lasting way. If data should be available in a company network why not doing it with all the data for our objects and why not ‘really central’. PostGIS is a free extension for PostgreSQL which includes geospatial objecttypes and functions related to them. PostgreSQL is as free as PostGIS. At the same time it is very powerful database system that can keep up with the great commercial products (e. g. Oracle). That means, you can use PostgreSQL as a datapool for all listings and other kind of information in form of a listing, that different people should access at the same time. Centralising information is always a good idea. And if you didn’t knew it before: that is the idea behind a buisness warehouse!

You can install the PostgreSQL software on a Linux- or Windows-machine. I prefer Linux, because you can than reactivate a much more older machine, that you maybe have sort out before. Even for a good database performance you don’t have to use a dual-core pentium somewhat. A machine with 1GB or more memory and a processor with about 1GHz will do. Maybe in your special case less would also do. Try it! The harddisk can be chosen by the amount of information you will store in the database plus the operation system and some clearance.

Finally we start! First of allyou should fetch the actual PostgreSQL sourcecode from their homepage. Depending on your operation system you should follow the according installation instructions. The sourcecode is needed to install PostGIS. So please don’t use binary packages. They won’t do. If all requirements are fullfilled, compiling and installing PostgreSQL should be no problem. After that we do the same with PostGIS. During the compilation I had a problem with a shared object (‘’) that couldn’t be found. I searched for it and copied it into the PostgreSQL-lib-directory. After that it worked … If PostGIS is compiled, the SQL-statements to extend PostgreSQL would also be ready and you can run than like the installationinstructions tell you. Before you should have created a database in PostgreSQL, because you don’t extend the whole databse system, but a single instance of it: your dataspace. Now there is nothing more standing in your way, holding you from using your fresh created geospatial extension of PostgreSQL.

After that I had done the tests of the PostGIS FAQs to be sure that my database has got the extension and was amazed how simple you can access the geospatial data and functions. As a ‘help programmer’ there are a lot of SQL-statements coming into my mind, which I will test next time with my demo data.

An advice at the end: if you’d like to comfortably access PostgreSQL from a Windows-based machine, you should install PgAdmin III . It’s a kind of gui and admintool in one. And for all that cannot be devorced from MS Access there should be an ODBC-driver installed on their machines which can establish the neede connection to the PostgreSQL-backend.

And now you should do some first steps in QGIS connecting with PostGIS.


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