I have a Postgres DB with a lot of lines that are too long and so now I want to split those lines into smaller ones.

This is why I started writing a little python script for that job. Basically it fetches my lines like this:

cursor.execute("SELECT ogc_fid, id, ST_AsGeoJSON(wkb_geometry) as geometry, ST_Length(wkb_geometry) as length, height FROM cont OFFSET " + str(offset) + " LIMIT " + str(limit) )

Here's my first problem. In order to further work with the data I have to select the geometry as JSON. I'll come to that later.

Now I iterate over the lines and make something like this:

sqlCommand = "INSERT INTO " + table + " (ogc_fid, id, wkb_geometry, height) VALUES(" + ogc_fid + ", " + row_id + ", ST_Line_Substring(ST_GeomFromGeoJSON(\'" + geometry + "\'), " + str(rangeFrom) + ", " + str(min(rangeFrom + stepWidth, 1)) + "), " + str(height) + ");"

So if I didn't use ST_AsGeoJSON in the select, I couldn't append it to my command cause it can only append a string.

That way my whole script is very slow. It always has to convert my geometries into JSON and then back from JSON.

Is there a datatype that python can handle?

Is there a more efficient way of dealing with geometry fields?

I heard of GeoDjango. Could that help here?

  • 1
    Why not do it in a single query? – Jakub Kania May 14 '15 at 8:47
  • What Jakub said. Do it directly in Postgres. It isn't at all clear why you would want all the overhead of JSON for this. If you must do it in Python, use a library that deals with geometries directly, such as shapely of fiona. – John Powell May 14 '15 at 9:17
  • Well... I tried doing it as a Postgres function, but as it would then all be one big transaction, it fails as there are too many queries. Basically what I need to do is to figure out if a line is too long and if so, I need to cut it into pieces. I know that the JSON part is slowing everything down like crazy... that's why I'd like to get rid of it... I'll have a look at shapely – Georg May 14 '15 at 13:42
  • There is no way of doing it directly as a postgres function but forcing it not to do everything in one transaction but to write the data after some loops, right? – Georg May 14 '15 at 13:45

You could try using geoalchemy2. Personally I would look at using the Object Relational Mapper (ORM) model for working with your data, for example:

from sqlalchemy import create_engine
# Enter your database connection below
engine = create_engine('postgresql://gis:gis@localhost/gis', echo=True)

from sqlalchemy.ext.declarative import declarative_base
from sqlalchemy import Column, Integer, Float
from geoalchemy2 import Geometry

Base = declarative_base()

class Cont(Base):
    __tablename__ = "cont"
    ogc_fid = Column(Integer, primary_key=True)
    id = Column(Integer)
    wkb_geometry = Column(Geometry("LINESTRING"))
    height = Column(Float)
    # Other database columns here

From there you can setup a session and easily query the database:

from sqlalchemy.orm import sessionmaker
Session = sessionmaker(bind=engine)
session = Session()

And write a query to get back the lines you want to update:

query = session.query(Cont).filter(Cont.geom.ST_Length() > tolerance)

Queries are iterators, so it's easy to loop over them and work with the data, especially as geoalchemy2 has inbuilt shapely integration.

from geoalchemy2.shape import from_shape, to_shape

new_rows = []

for row in query:
    shapely_geometry = to_shape(row.wkb_geometry)
    # ... some operations to create `new_geom`
            wkb_geometry=new_geom.wkt, #shapely geometries have a wkt property

Then you can commit all your rows at once:


Or commit by chunk by splitting your new rows into chunks (credit):

for chunk in (new_rows[i:i+chunksize] for i in range(0, len(new_rows), chunksize)):
  • you are super awesome!!!! thank you so much for your help!!!! – Georg May 17 '15 at 18:10
  • One more question... So, once I have a row, I'd like to figure out it's length. shapely_geometry.ST_Length() didn't did the trick for me. And once I have it I'd need to run ST_Line_Substring to split the line. Sorry to bother you, but my python skills are very limited... would be so super awesome if you might tell me how to do those two commands!!! – Georg Jun 2 '15 at 11:32
  • I managed to figure it out! What took 2 weeks before took 6hours now :) thanks again!!!! – Georg Jun 3 '15 at 6:06

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