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So our team currently has two databases in two "independent" parts of the process. It's organizationally independent but for the actual work we do they depend on one another's output.

I wanted to make our Postgres databases into PostGIS databases. Currently the database holds some metadata and a reference to the corresponding file location on disk. To run an intersection, I'd go into the database for the file locations, run the intersection on the actual files which for our purpose isn't a big process, however, it would be more convenient if I didn't have to do that. If I could just run the intersection with a PostGIS query on a column.

From my understanding PostGIS just adds some optional things. It doesn't change any of the functionality of the database unless we use those options.

Is it a big deal then to just make a database into a PostGIS database?

Also, from my understanding, PostGIS depends on GDAL. If I currently have GDAL on my environment, could that potentially cascade down dependency conflicts with interrelated packages or is the PostGIS GDAL on the DB server and thus completely separate from my environment's GDAL?

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  • PostGIS does include GDAL but that's on the server side as a user it won't affect your GDAL. PostgreSQL has some benefits in centralizing corporate data but makes it difficult to work out of the office (home or field) as a connection to your intranet is required unless you're using ArcGIS and create a check out database. If you have a tendency to create mini versions for each project you can still do so but keeping everything on the server is better (have your own database to play in) - one backup location! – Michael Stimson Mar 10 at 1:59
  • Cool! That's good to know. We ran into dependency conflicts before so its nice to know that won't be a potential issue. We actually already have Postgres databases. I was wondering moreso if its worth making those Postgres databases into "Postgis" databases. It provides nothing really but some convenience. But is there any actual cons to just adding the PostGIS extension to them? It seems like just additional optional functionalities. – JustStack Mar 10 at 2:07
  • I've always created a new database with the PostGIS template, I'm not sure how to enforce the triggers/functions/tables from the template onto an existing database. If a table is non-PostGIS but resides in a PostGIS enabled database then none of the triggers apply - in short there should be no difference in functionality or speed for the database being geometry enabled. If you're using SDE from ArcGIS for Server Enterprise then you get the choice of PG (PostGIS) run a little slower but can be used in QGIS etc, ST (Esri) are more efficient but can't be viewed in non-Esri software. – Michael Stimson Mar 10 at 2:19
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All PostGIS types and functions are optional; if you do not use them, you will not notice them.

You can simply switch it on and off with CREATE EXTENSION postgis; and DROP EXTENSION postgis;, so it is easy to test.

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