I'm figuring out how to use the PostGIS extension, and I found a nice tutorial: http://postgis.net/workshops/postgis-intro/geometries.html.

First the tutorial directs to create a table:

CREATE TABLE geometries (
    name varchar,
    geom geometry

Then insert into that table

insert into geometries (name, geom)
    ('Point', 'point(0 0)');

Then, looking at what other column types I can use with the PostGIS addon, I found that I can use the point type directly:

create table points (
    name varcar,
    point point
insert into points (name, point)
    ('point 1', point(0, 1));

(Notice that the inserted value into the point column is NOT wrapped in quotes)

Trying to insert a point into the geometries table without wrapping the value in a quote fails:

insert into geometries (name, geom)
    ('Point', point(0 0));

SQL Error [42601]: ERROR: syntax error at or near "0"

This seems like it might be significant... If a column of type point allows for inserting values defined via that type (point(0 0)) - I assume this isn't a normal SQL function call? -, why can't I do the same for a column of type geometry?

  • 1
    you mix up a few things; the plain POINT type is a native PostgreSQL geometric type, independent from PostGIS and incompatible with it's functionality. Most types come with built in (implicit) type cast from common input types; this is why PostGIS GEOMETRY type accepts a valid WKT string representation.
    – geozelot
    Jul 18, 2019 at 13:39

2 Answers 2


the point is not a PostGIS type, but a native PostgresSQL type. The two are not compatible.

Creating a geometry from a string is one way. You can of course create a (PostGIS) point geometry via ST_Point or ST_MakePoint

select st_point(1,1);

For either type, you could insert with or without quotes. What caused the error was the missing comma (which is required only in SQL):

postgres=# select point(0 0);
ERROR:  syntax error at or near "0"
LINE 1: select point(0 0);
postgres=# select point(0, 0);
(1 row)

(For the geometry type, the point value would be automatically converted.)

  • According to the answers above... this is misleading as it implies the point type and 'point' geometry type are comparable. which the other answers say isn't correct
    – Zach Smith
    Jul 19, 2019 at 12:49
  • You could force the cast (point(0,0)::geometry) but it is not automatic
    – JGH
    Jul 19, 2019 at 13:13

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