I am running an intersect from a subset of one table on itself (this is part of a larger parameterized query but the issue in question arose out of this particular situation) using a CTE (zones in the query below).

zones should result in four records selected by ID.
In the subsequent query summ_table should be limited to just three of those four records due to the where clause (WHERE (ST_Area(summ_table.geom) > 7769967522)).
However, when I run the query it produces the following result:

id  area
4   7911449533.18243
36  8167237869.65092
38  5.16730218436123e-05
69  17451037319.6371

id=38 is obviously not correct. I assumed the result would only include the three records that satisfy the above where clause.

Here is the full query:

-- select from zone table using IDs
WITH zones AS
    SELECT ogc_fid, geom
    FROM mn_county_dissolved
    WHERE ogc_fid IN (4,36,69,38)

-- individual area of features that intersect each zone
SELECT inter.ogc_fid, sum(inter.area) AS area
    -- zone / summary table intersect
            WHEN ST_CoveredBy(summ_table.geom, zones.geom) THEN ST_Area(summ_table.geom)
            ELSE ST_Area( ST_Intersection(summ_table.geom, zones.geom) )
        END AS area
    FROM mn_county_dissolved AS summ_table
    INNER JOIN zones
    ON ( ST_Intersects(summ_table.geom, zones.geom) )
    WHERE (ST_Area(summ_table.geom) > 7769967522)
) AS inter
GROUP BY inter.ogc_fid

And here are the values for those records in question for ST_Area:

 ogc_fid | countyname  |    ST_Area
       4 | Beltrami    | 7911449533.18243
      36 | Koochiching | 8167237869.65092
      38 | Lake        | 5924950382.16346
      69 | St. Louis   | 17451037319.6371

I'll help you out with the math --> 7769967522 - 5924950382.16346 = 1845017139.84
As you can see the record with id=38 should definitely not satisfy that where clause

The only thing I can think of is that it might have something to do with the number of geometries for each record. ST_NumGeometries returns 8 for the record id=38 and 1 for all of the others. Note that ST_GeometryType returns ST_MultiPolygon for all rows.

Why is that where clause in the query not filtering out that particular row (id=38), and if the query is indeed working as expected, is it due to the fact that there is more than one geometry for that particular record?

  • 1
    That query tells you that a tiny fraction of your Lake is intersected by features from summ_table that have an area greater than the threshold. All others are, in sum, fully covered by features from summ_table that have an area greater than the threshold. Note that you are filtering rows from summ_table, not from the subset. Note also that you are also intersecting the same polygons with each other except for Lake.
    – geozelot
    Commented Nov 13, 2020 at 20:08
  • Are you trying to filter on the sums of intersected areas per subset county that are greater than 7769967522? If so, then maybe try a HAVING clause at the very end, instead of a WHERE clause, like this,: HAVING sum(inter.area) > 7769967522, otherwise your filter merely checks the total area of the counties, not the intersected areas.
    – FSimardGIS
    Commented Nov 14, 2020 at 3:03
  • @geozelot - thank you for this explanation. I am still confused as to how Lake (as a part of zones) could intersect with anything in summ_table when it is not a part of it. Should I be looking for some smaller sliver geometry? I think I can confirm that it is not a shared boundary issue since the ST_Intersects portion of the query with ON (ST_Relate(summ_table.geom, zones.geom, 'T********')) does not change the result
    – rumski20
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 15:04
  • @FSimardGIS - thank you for this suggestion. I will attempt the approach you suggested.
    – rumski20
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 15:05
  • Quite like you found out; it suggests there are tiny overlapping areas, probably due to topological mismatches, or floating point rounding errors. Also, as I said, with that query you are also getting the intersection between the same polygons (same id in both tables), so the covered area will always be 100%. Use summ_table.ogc_fid <> zone.ogc_fid in your WHERE filter to not consider the same geometries.
    – geozelot
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 16:37

1 Answer 1


After guidance from @geozelot and @FSimardGIS, I took another look at the geometry involved with this query.

    row_number() OVER() As id, 
    st_setsrid(st_collectionextract(st_intersection(lake.geom, slc.geom), 1), 26915) as geom
from (
    select geom from mn_county_dissolved where id = 69
) as slc,
    select geom from mn_county_dissolved where id = 38
) as lake

enter image description here

Revealed that there is somehow some sliver geometry that is overlapping between these two featueres which explains the odd result from the query above.

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