I'm trying to insert a null value into a geometry column, which I cannot do:

ERROR: parse error - invalid geometry

So what I'm trying to accomplish is to erase a point from a map and save that information - the deletion of the point - to the database.

I am new to spatial data and all I can find from the internet is how to insert points, polygons and whatnot, but not how to remove that information.

The table where the geometry column resides has other information as well, so removing a row is not something I can do.

  • 1
    Welcome to gis.stackexchange.com. Your table have geometry constraints implemented by Populate_Geometry_Columns, to ensure. To allow other to get you a better answer, could you please explain why you need to NULL some geometries? Maybe ther is another way. – Alexandre Neto Jul 29 '13 at 9:23
UPDATE "table" SET the_geom = NULL

This will work unless you have a NOT NULL-constraint on the geom-column.


Common approach when creating spatial tables is ensure that certain constraints are accomplished. This common constraints can be checked in the documentation of populate_geometry_columns.

One of these constraints is add to the geometry field a NOT NULL check. If you really need a table that admits null geometries you can remove the constraint for that table:


But have null geometries is usually a bad idea, because some software can have problems handling it. Depending on your use case probably a better idea is have another table that keeps the removed points.


It's maybe better to remove unnecessary points rather than setting a 'NULL' geometry.

To delete a point (the entire row will be deleted) you can use an expression like that:

DELETE FROM mytable WHERE id_point = 'xxxx';

if the ID column is an integer :

DELETE FROM mytable WHERE id_point = xxxx;

You must specify a WHERE clause otherwise your table will be empty.

  • why nor "ALTER TABLE xx add deleted boolean set default false" and "UPDATE TABLE xx SET deleted = true WHERE ... – simplexio Jul 29 '13 at 9:38
  • Right ! I think that I didn't understand the problem... after this sentence "so removing a row is not something I can do" delete query are adapted. – Benno Jul 29 '13 at 10:25

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