I'm capturing tweets and saving them into a PostgreSQL table like:

  id bigint,
  location point

And I'd like to select all tweets within a radius from a city, ie:

Buenos Aires (lat: -34.603722, lon: -58.381592, radius: 2Km)

As far I could understand I need to run a query similar to:

SELECT * FROM tweets WHERE location <@ circle '((-34.603722, -58.381592), 2000)'

I'm not sure if this approach makes sense, can I use Latitude/Longitude on simple PostgreSQL? Or I need to install PostGIS, I rather prefer not having more dependencies if it is possible.

I saw a few posts where people says a point should be (longitude, latitude) and I'm not sure unit is metric (meters) or imperial (miles).

Reference: Postgres Contained in operator


PostgreSQL points are just ordinary points in the 2-D Cartesian system. So lat,long will be treated as if they were X-Y coordinates, which is generally not correct. (For example, consider the boundaries)

SELECT * FROM tweets WHERE location <@ circle '((-34.603722, -58.381592), 2000)'

Also, your query above would be incorrect because the radius 2000 will be treated as degrees. How much is 2 km in degrees varies depending on where you are on earth.

It's probably easier to go with PostGIS, unless you are restricted to a small area where the above errors are not an issue.

  • Thanks @tinlyx it clarifies a lot of doubts. I'll give PostGIS a try :) – arjones Dec 21 '17 at 1:32

Check Paul Ramsey's post on this subject: https://carto.com/blog/lateral-joins/

Then this documentation:

I asked this question on the PostGIS mailing list and Stephen Mather gave me the answer...

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