I have a PostGIS database with a table called 'sites' that includes a field sitename and a field geometry.

If I select, e.g.

select sitename, ST_AsGeoJSON(geometry) from sites limit 1;

I get:

Plot 7 | {"type":"Polygon","coordinates": [[[-111.974951718315,33.0745275800293,353], [-111.974935360975,33.0745276003588,353], [-111.974935370263,33.0745546649121,353], [-111.974951727608,33.0745546445826,353],[-111.974951718315,33.0745275800293,353]]]}

These are rectangles oriented very close to N-S. I would like to divide each plot in half along (or close to) its N-S axis. Is there an easy way to do this?

Solutions in PostGIS-SQL preferred. Ultimately I plan to write insert statements like

insert into sites (name, geometry) 
   values ('Site 1 E', (select ??east half of geometry?? from sites where name = 'Site 1'))  

The closest I've gotten is ST_Split, which requires the polygon as well as the 'blade' (line used to split), but it is not clear how I can compute the blade from the geometry.

1 Answer 1


I would like to divide each plot in half along (or close to) its N-S axis. Is there an easy way to do this? [...] can compute the blade from the geometry.

Something like?


Here we create a sample data set foo. In it we create a polygon, we calculate the xaxis to bisect the polygon with, and we create the blade.

Then we do the bisection and display the results with ST_AsText

WITH foo AS (
  SELECT geom, blade
  FROM ST_MakeEnvelope(-10,-10,10,10) AS geom
  CROSS JOIN LATERAL ( SELECT ST_xMin(geom) + (ST_xMax(geom) - ST_xMin(geom)) / 2 ) AS axis(x)
    ST_MakePoint(axis.x, ST_yMin(geom)),
    ST_MakePoint(axis.x, ST_yMax(geom))
  ) AS blade
SELECT ST_AsText(geom),
  ST_AsText( ST_Split(geom, blade) )
FROM foo;
                   st_astext                    |       st_astext        |                                                st_astext                                                 
 POLYGON((-10 -10,-10 10,10 10,10 -10,-10 -10)) | LINESTRING(0 -10,0 10) | GEOMETRYCOLLECTION(POLYGON((-10 -10,-10 10,0 10,0 -10,-10 -10)),POLYGON((0 10,10 10,10 -10,0 -10,0 10)))
  • 1
    How about ST_Centroid ?
    – dbaston
    May 10, 2017 at 0:22
  • 1
    @dbaston that sounds more cpuintensive, I showed you how to read xMin/xMax/yMin/yMax but for the purpose of creating a blade to split something, you need only two of the four. May 10, 2017 at 0:24
  • Maybe it sounds CPU-intensive, but it isn't, especially in the context of ST_Split. Whether it should be used depends on the requirements, I guess. I was suggesting centroid in order to get an equal-area split.
    – dbaston
    May 10, 2017 at 12:23
  • Just noticed that the inputs are strictly rectangles, which makes my above point irrelevant.
    – dbaston
    May 10, 2017 at 12:24
  • @EvanCarroll this was great, I learned a lot ... thanks! Though would be awesome if the query generated insert statements. (for future reference) to generate an insert statement I had to 1) ST_Dump(ST_Split to the polygons, but 2) had to use ST_xmax to sort 3) and remove split ({1},, ({2} and ) generated from the dump; 4) ST_SetSRID to avoid error; my final query gist.github.com/dlebauer/f586e380fa4cfadc25551cd1df487b7d got me most of the way but still required spreadsheet-foo. May 17, 2017 at 22:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.