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Is there an efficient way to split a table of Multi/Linestrings that overlap() and touch() into unique Linestrings (note: creating edges using topology is going very...very...very slow).

Here is some sample data that I've been playing with...

CREATE TABLE multilines (
  "name" char(1) NOT NULL,
  "the_geom" geometry NOT NULL
-- add data, 3 multilines, ONE of the 'B' geoms has an interior 'donut hole' multilinestring
INSERT INTO multilines(name, the_geom) VALUES (
    'A', 'MULTILINESTRING((2 1,0 3),(0 3,2 3),(2 3,2 1))'::geometry
    ), (
    'MULTILINESTRING((0 0,4 0),(4 0,4 4),(4 4,0 4),(0 4,0 0),(1 1,2 1),(2 1,2 2),(2 2,1 2),(1 2,1 1))'::geometry
    ), (
    'B', 'MULTILINESTRING((-1 -1,-1 -2),(-1 -2,-2 -2),(-2 -2,-2 -1),(-2 -1,-1 -1))'::geometry

Since I don't have a node table of where the intersections are (and it seems intuitively inefficient to generate one) I was hoping to just do this without generating another table (which most people doing this type of query seem to be doing).

Notably...when I do something like 'ST_Linemerge(st_collect(the_geom))' ...I get 1 row showing ALL the merged lines (which isn't what I'd want - I definitely want to break the lines into separate Multi and/or Linestrings, and run a DISTINCT query just to return one of the_geoms).

1 Answer 1


You can use the following query to union the geometry, find all nodes and split the lines:

SELECT row_number() OVER() new_id, geom FROM
    (ST_Dump(ST_Node(ST_Union(the_geom)))).geom geom 
  FROM multilines) a

Then you must play a little bit to retrieve the original attributes by joining the previous table on "contains" or "within".

Splitted lines

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