What is the difference between Oracle Spatial, PostGIS, SQLServer2008, SpatiaLite, and MySQL in terms of their spatial support. Are there specific use cases where each shines. What might you want to avoid with any of these databases.

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    You may want to add some specifics to get a good answer. – Dandy Jul 23 '10 at 15:31
  • This is phrased differently, but is a near-duplicate of gis.stackexchange.com/questions/90/… (although that one has some MapInfo-specific requirements) – JasonBirch Jul 24 '10 at 7:49

Database Comparison Matrix

In this link you can find the matrix of comparison between databases with spatial capabilities.


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    Could you elaborate a little more on what we'll see if we click that link? I'm a human, I don't like parsing URLs :p – Matt Parker Jul 23 '10 at 14:52
  • This is Boston GIS' comprehensive spatial database comparison matrix. It's pretty much the definitive (if techincal) answer to the question. – JasonBirch Jul 24 '10 at 7:37

It is a very broad question.

  • Cost
  • Implementation
  • Support
  • Speed
  • Limitations

The bottom line is you get what you pay for.

Oracle Spatial which can only be used with Oracle Enterprise Edition. One can use Oracle Locator, but has less of the native tools for GIS. Spatial also has GeoRaster which is an image format stored inside the database.

The next level is SQL Server 2008, but they are very new to the Spatial Storage market. Most GIS vendors had to build application functionality to service geospatial information in this DB. But now with spatial capabilities, of which I am not familiar with this.

Now you get into the free world. PostGIS, SpatialLite, MySQL

PostGIS is the oldest open source, followed by the others. PostGIS is by far the most mature open source implementation out there. It seems that there may be limitations to these DB, but for a light implementation, possibly limited in functionality, they are sufficient for the masses.

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    PostGIS is the most mature implementation, even beating Oracle Spatial in number of functions. Check the article I referenced below. – George Silva Jul 23 '10 at 22:18
  • Beating it in price/function. I haven't implemented a PostGIS, so I don't have any jurisdiction in this area. I can only say that it is the oldest of all open source DBs. – CrazyEnigma Jul 23 '10 at 22:20
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    "The bottom line is you get what you pay for." I don't know if I agree with that really. Spatialware (SQL Server addon) from PBBI for MapInfo is $5000 a year and I don't think even comes close to PostGIS which is free. – Nathan W Jul 24 '10 at 4:09
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    "An Oracle database is the best that money can buy if only you could get money to grow on trees." (quoting bostongis.com) To everybody else I'd recommend PostGIS. – underdark Jul 25 '10 at 21:18

One thing about PostgreSQL/PostGIS is that it is the most likely candidate for having a native interface present in other open source projects. For example, in QGIS 1.4.0, there is a button sitting right in the menu bar that says "Add PostGIS Layer". Spatialite also has a toolbar entry, but there is no similar support for other databases like MySQL.

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