I have stored 2.5 million data points (addresses) using the geometry data type in column latlong with SRID 4326. The latlon - column has a GIST index defined. I would select all addresses within a distance given in metres.

I understand that SRID 4326 measures distance in degrees, so it doesn't make sense in my case. However the query

select *
from adresse
where st_distance(latlong::geography, ST_SetSRID(ST_Point(16.520, 47.846), 4326)::geography) < 200

is incredibly slow, I guess it is unable to use the index.

How can I speed up this query?

  • Have you tried to sava data as geography instead of using cast?
    – user30184
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 17:01
  • Did that and it already helped a lot. Casting prevents using the index, at least it seems to be in my case.
    – JohnDoe
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


You want to use ST_DWithin() which takes advantage of indexing

FROM adresse
WHERE ST_DWithin(latlong::geography, ST_SetSRID(ST_Point(16.520, 47.846), 4326)::geography, 200)
ORDER BY ST_Distance(latlong::geography, ST_SetSRID(ST_Point(16.520, 47.846), 4326)::geography);

See also http://postgis.net/2013/08/26/tip_ST_DWithin/

  • ST_DWithin was already at least 10 times faster. After adding an additional column of type geography, defining and index and using ST_DWithin I am now in the area of milliseconds. Mission accomplished.
    – JohnDoe
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 19:23

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