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           (informations from original ORACLE web-site)

Oracle® Spatial serves as a foundation for deploying enterprise-wide spatial information systems, and web-based and wireless location-based applications. It provides data management for location information such as road networks, wireless service boundaries, and geocoded customer addresses that are driving innovative product development in the emerging online, wireless, and in-vehicle telematics markets. These location-based services in Oracle11g extend existing Oracle-based applications by allowing users to easily incorporate location information directly in their applications and services.

Oracle Spatial, an option to Oracle11g Enterprise Edition, serves as a foundation for enterprise-wide spatial information systems and either web-based or wireless location-based applications. It provides data management for location information such as road networks, wireless service boundaries, and geocoded customer addresses that are driving innovative product development in the emerging mobile and in-vehicle telematics markets. These location-based services capabilities in Oracle11g extend existing Oracle-based applications by allowing users to easily incorporate location information directly in their applications and services. This is possible because location data is fully integrated in the Oracle server itself. Geographic and location data are manipulated using the same semantics applied to the CHAR, DATE or INTEGER types that are familiar to all users of SQL. Specific features delivered by Oracle11g and Oracle Spatial include: 

* Open, standard SQL access to all functions and operations
* Spatial object type storage accommodating geometry-type and linear referencing 
* Spatial operators and functions including aggregate functions (e.g. unions and user defined aggregates)
* Layer geometry type constraints
* Fast R-tree and quadtree indexing
* Whole earth geometry model providing comprehensive storage, management and use of geodetic data
* Partitioning support for spatial indexes
* Powerful linear referencing system
* Tools supporting seamless integration of heterogeneous data (fusion) including projection management and coordinate transformation 
* Support for parallel index builds for R-tree and quadtree indexes
* Integration with Oracle11g Application Server
* Integration with Oracle11g Application Server MapViewer tool

Oracle11g enables e-business applications, portals and wireless service providers to easily integrate location data into their corporate information systems. This means that e-business applications like call centers, marketing and sales applications can readily incorporate mapping and spatial analysis. In addition, a new class of location applications is emerging to take advantage of these capabilities. These applications include concierge services (e.g. location queries on geocoded yellow page databases that provide information on the location of service outlets, hotels, restaurants etc.); emergency services (E911, 511); and a range of other consumer-oriented location-enhanced services which are both wire-based and wireless.

Spatial Geometry, Layers
Oracle11g supports three basic geometric forms that represent geographic and location data:

* Points: Points can represent locations such as buildings, fire hydrants, utility poles, oil rigs, boxcars, or roaming vehicles.
* Lines: Lines can represent things like roads, railroad lines, utility lines, or fault lines.
* Polygons and complex polygons with holes: Polygons can represent things like outlines of cities, districts, flood plains, or oil and gas fields. A polygon with a hole might geographically represent a parcel of land surrounding a patch of wetlands.

Internally, location data is modeled in layers, located in a common database or a single table, sharing a common coordinate system. For example, the representation of a city might include separate layers for outlines of political districts or socioeconomic neighborhoods, every business and domestic location, and the maze of water, gas, sewer, and electrical lines. Because all these layers share a common database and notion of the earth¿s geometry (coordinate, geoid and projection), they can be related through their respective (common) locations. 

In addition to the geometric elements noted above, Oracle11g supports the following geometry types:

* Arc strings
* Compound polygons
* Circles

Spatial Indexing: R-trees and Quadtrees 
Oracle11g applies spatial indexes to any data in relational databases. Oracle Spatial includes R-tree indexing, in addition to quadtree indexing capability. R-tree indexes can be used in place of quadtree indexes, or in conjunction with them. In addition, R-tree indexing can be used for any 3D and 4D indexing of data ¿ critical to solving problems in oil exploration, architecture, engineering, and many other scientific applications.

Typical queries specify a window of interest and retrieve all data intersecting or contained in the specified query window. 

An R-tree index approximates each geometry with the smallest single rectangle that encloses the geometry (called the minimum bounding rectangle, or MBR).

For a layer of geometries, an R-tree index consists of a hierarchical index on the minimum bounding rectangles of the geometries in the layer. Because R-tree indexes are fast and work directly on geodetic data they are the preferred indexing mechanism for working with spatial data. Geodetic data is data consisting of angular coordinates (longitude and latitude) that are defined relative to a particular representation of the figure of Earth, or datum.

With quadtree indexing, a mosaic of covering tiles for the geometrically represented data is created for each layer. A binary representation of the tile is then stored in the spatial index. The covering tiles can be quickly examined for any interaction between the layers. As location data is added to a database, a spatial quadtree index subdivides (or "tessellates") the geometry into tiles, preserving the spatial organization of the data. Database designers can specify the number of times a geometry should be subdivided to optimize the coverage with smaller and smaller uniformly sized tiles. 

Database designers may choose whether to use R-tree or quadtree indexing. Each index type is appropriate in different situations, although R-tree indexing will often be the best choice because of its capacity to operate directly against geodetic data. In general, quadtrees are preferable when data sets require frequent updates and update performance is critical. Quadtrees are also generally preferred for concurrent updates.

Considerations in selecting which index to use include 

* Geodetic or non-geodetic
* The type and range of queries submitted to the database
* Frequency of updates and the need for re-indexing 
* Available disk storage space
* Concurrent updates
* Number of dimensions in the spatial data

The spatial index uses the Oracle11g extensible indexing mechanism, providing maintenance of the index on insert, update, and delete. This results in increased ease of use.

Spatial Operators, Functions
The interaction of various geometric features can be determined through the use of comparison operators (such as SDO_RELATE), with masks such as contains, covers, and anyinteract (any interaction) and others. This permits answers to such requests as "list all the school zones crossed by this railroad line," or "find all pizza parlors within this area of interest."

Spatial functions can be used to perform computations of distances between geometries, and lengths and areas of geometries. This is useful for location-based services queries such as "return the 10 hotels which are closest to the airport, and distance to each in miles." Other advanced spatial functions perform geometry manipulations and return new geometries such as buffers, centroids, unions, intersections, and spatial aggregates of certain functions. 

Fast Access With Two-Tiered Queries 
Until now, database performance has largely been a factor of database size and index efficiency. But with Oracle11g and Oracle Spatial, performance is a function of the amount of data actually retrieved. Performance is optimized through the use of a spatial index and a two-tiered query model. This model significantly reduces load and query processing overhead and provides excellent scalability as the spatial data volume grows. The first tier, or primary filter, permits fast selection of a small number of candidate records to pass along to the secondary filter. The primary filter uses approximations stored in the spatial index to reduce computational complexity.

The secondary filter applies exact computational geometry to the result set of the primary filter. These exact computations yield the final answer to a query. The secondary filter operations are more computationally intense, but they are only applied to the relatively small result set from the primary filter.

Queries can be spatially constrained, as defined by an "area of interest" chosen by the user. Eliminating data outside the area of interest from consideration during queries ensures optimum performance levels. 

Location queries, using standard SQL, can be made in a number of ways. For example, two-dimensional window extracts are possible as range searches, proximity searches, and polygon searches.

Projections and Coordinate Systems 
Oracle Spatial supports over 950 commonly used mapping coordinate systems and also will support user-defined coordinate systems. It enables explicit map projection transformations of vector objects from one coordinate system to another. These transformations can be on a geometry-level basis or an entire layer (table) at a time. 

Linear Referencing Support 
Oracle Spatial now supports the storage of "measurement" information associated with a linear geometry. This feature is key to supporting linear networking applications such as Internet street routing, transportation, utility, telecommunications networks and pipeline management. 

Geocoding is the process which associates geographic references, such as addresses, phone numbers, and postal codes, with location coordinates (e.g. longitude/latitude). Oracle11g can integrate with any third party geocoding tools and services to match these records with a longitude/latitude point that is then stored in the database. Users can choose the best geocoder to fit their needs (for example, a geocoding service which provides international address support). This facilitates analysis based on the spatial relationships of the associated data, like the proximity of store locations to customers within a given distance and sales revenue per territory. 

Oracle11g supports new location-based services features which extend the range and productivity of application developers, enabling a broader range of applications and improving performance.

Spatial Aggregates
SQL has long had aggregate functions, which are used to aggregate the results of a SQL query. Oracle11g adds aggregate functions which operate on a set of geometries rather than just one or two geometries. An aggregate function performs a specified aggregate operation on a set of input geometries, and returns a single geometry object. For example, the following statement returns the minimum bounding rectangle of all the geometries in a table:

FROM cola_markets c; 

Other supported aggregate functions include union, centroid, and convex hull; users can also define other aggregate functions. The use of spatial aggregates improves performance and simplifies coding.

Function-Based Index Support 
A function-based index enables Oracle Spatial queries and analysis on any relational data associated with a location attribute without creating and preloading an Oracle Spatial column of type SDO_GEOMETRY. 

Users can create spatial indexes on spatial data stored in relational columns (for example in columns of longitude and latitude). Spatial operators can search function-based indexes as well as traditional spatial indexes. This spatial index will make it possible to invoke spatial operators on these relational columns without the need to create an SDO_GEOMETRY column. 

This is useful for business geographic applications which have a schema for storing location data but cannot change their current schema to move the location data to a column of type SDO_GEOMETRY. 

Geodetic Coordinate Support
With Oracle11g, Oracle Spatial functions return accurate lengths, areas, and distances for both projected and geodetic data (i.e., angular coordinates defined relative to a particular model of the shape of the earth). In previous versions of Oracle Spatial, length, area, and distance calculations were accurate only for nongeodetic data. With release 11g Oracle Spatial provides a whole earth geometry model which takes into account the curvature of the Earth¿s surface when performing length, area, and distance calculations on geodetic data. Oracle Spatial supports over 30 of the most commonly used distance and area units which are useful for both geodetic and projected data, e.g. foot/square foot, meter/square meter, kilometer/square kilometer, and so on. 

Partitioning Support for Spatial Indexes 
Another new feature of Oracle11g is the ability to partition spatial indexes in association with partitioned tables (range partitioning is supported). Partitioned spatial indexes can provide the following benefits: 

* Reduced response times for long-running queries; partitioning can reduce disk I/O operations 
* Reduced response times for concurrent queries; I/O operations run concurrently on each partition 
* Easier index maintenance, because of partition-level create and rebuild operations 
* Indexes on partitions can be rebuilt without affecting the queries on other partitions
* Storage parameters for each local index can be changed independent of other partitions. 

With Oracle11g, additional partitioning enhancements are supported, including splitting, merging, and exchanging partitions. 

Note: This feature requires the Partitioning Option to Enterprise Edition.

Parallel Spatial Index Creation (New with Oracle11g)
Parallel creation of spatial indexes and index partitions is supported with Oracle11g. R-tree and quadtree index creation can be subdivided into smaller tasks that can be performed in parallel, making use of unused hardware (CPU) resources. For certain spatial data sets and index types and parameters, parallel index creation can substantially increase index build performance and provide a significant time savings. Large non-point datasets (commonly used in many standard GIS applications) and datasets with quadtree indexes with high tiling levels on large geometries can show dramatic performance improvements. 

Performance Enhancements 
Oracle11g provides significant improvements to spatial data storage and indexing performance over previous releases: 

* R-tree indexes can now be created up to 20% faster than with the previous release.
* Partitioning spatial data and using partitioned local indexes can provide additional performance gains for queries on large datasets, and concurrent queries and updates. 
* Spatial aggregate functions speed retrieval of large sets of SDO_GEOMETRY objects. 
* Spatial queries that utilize secondary filters will run significantly faster when using all masks other than INTERACT. Gains of up to 200% can result, depending on the complexity of the geometries. 
* WITHIN_DISTANCE queries can run up to 40% faster when using R-tree indexes, and the VALIDATE_GEOMETRY function runs up to 200% faster depending on the complexity of the geometries. 

Performance Enhancements for Oracle11g 
With 11g, Oracle Spatial achieves even greater leaps in performance to meet the demands of location-based services and enterprise GIS:

* R-tree indexes can now be created up to 50% faster than with release 10g.
* R-tree update performance -- critical to applications that frequently update and query location data -- has been significantly increased. Applications that will benefit include LBS asset tracking, fleet management, telco friend finder, and GIS asset management and cadastral management. 
* Building spatial R-tree or quadtree indexes in parallel can dramatically reduce index creation time for very large non-point spatial datasets.
* Spatial queries that use secondary filters on geodetic data can run up to 40% faster. 
* Applications that execute WITHIN_DISTANCE queries on linear features perform up to 30% faster. (Such queries are commonly used in applications such as wireless location-based services, transportation, utilities, and pipeline/asset management.)

For more information on performance characteristics, please refer to a separate performance technical white paper on the Oracle Technology Network.

Enterprise Features Supporting Location-Based Services In Oracle11g
Oracle11g provides powerful, reliable support for an organization¿s mission-critical applications. These enterprise features enrich Oracle11g location-based services capabilities via a flexible Internet deployment architecture, object capabilities, and robust data management utilities that ensure data integrity, data recovery, and data security. This level of support can only exist in the homogenous environment of an enterprise database solution, and cannot be effectively replicated in a hybrid solution that marries an external location-based solution with a traditional enterprise solution, no matter how tightly integrated the two components may appear.

Oracle Spatial takes full advantage of expanded database size limits, high-performance VLDB maintenance utilities, replication, workspace manager (versioning), faster backup and recovery, and partitioning. The full range of Oracle utilities (e.g. SQL*Loader, etc.) are also available to ease migration and help upgrade applications which use the location-based services features. Some of these key enterprise features have been introduced in the sections above; below are other key features. 

With Oracle Spatial, Oracle's Advanced Replication capabilities can be used for location data, since it is stored in standard Oracle tables. For example, distributed systems that involve geographically dispersed yet logically replicated web sites, can take advantage of synchronized replication of spatial data objects across multiple databases.

Database Workspaces
Oracle Workspace Manager is a database feature in Oracle11g. It provides shareable workspaces in which to version live data. It is fully integrated with Oracle Spatial and supports long transactions for automated mapping/facilities management (AM/FM) and engineering applications. As such it is ideally suited for GIS applications that extend over long periods and/or are comprised of many collaborators working at remote locations. 

Oracle11g Application Server MapViewer
Oracle11g Application Server (Oracle11gAS) includes a map rendering and viewing component used for visualizing geospatial data managed by Oracle Spatial. This viewing tool is called MapViewer, and will be included as part of the Oracle11gAS Wireless and Portal installation. MapViewer includes components that perform cartographic rendering, and a map definition tool to manage map metadata and portrayal information. The Oracle11gAS MapViewer feature enables application developers to embed a map rendering capability directly into existing e-business applications. MapViewer will enable maps and location services to be incorporated directly into their solutions. Application developers using the Oracle11gAS OC4J will have a tightly integrated map rendering and map visualization component for location and map data stored in Oracle11g with Oracle Spatial.

Many leading third-party Internet mapping tools that support Oracle Spatial have been developed as GIS application software for the Internet. In contrast, MapViewer is designed as a lightweight tool to provide general map rendering visualization requirements of e-business and location-based service developers.

Wireless Solutions 
In addition to the location-based services in the Oracle11g database, Oracle11g Application Server (Oracle11gAS) Wireless Edition has location-based services which enhance and expose these services to wireless and mobile devices. Oracle11gAS Wireless Edition, with Oracle11g, allows users to create and associate data with geographical regions, enabling queries and analysis based on all the regions associated with a particular point or area of interest. This "region modeling" capability enables users to filter, classify, and prioritize services. Oracle11gAS Wireless Edition also provides Java interfaces to ingest external location services such as geocoding, driving directions, mapping, mobile positioning, and yellow page services, enabling wireless carriers to create pre-integrated serivces for location queries, and seamlessly integrate applications with existing location services.

Oracle11gAS Wireless Edition allows companies to wireless-enable any new or existing Internet applications or content for any Web-enabled device, including smart phones, pagers, PDAs, etc. Oracle11gAS Wireless Edition adapts any Internet content to XML and transforms it to any markup language supported by any device, including HTML, WML, HDML, VoiceXML, VoxML, SMS. Oracle11gAS Wireless Edition provides for location-based services, wireless messaging, wireless e-commerce, and extensive personalization for users and devices, allowing for customization of services and device display.

Open Standards
Oracle consistently works to help shape, drive, implement and support the latest open standards, particularly in the area of location-based services. Oracle11g continues this commitment with the implementation of the OpenGIS Consortium Simple Features guidelines. Oracle is also committed to supporting the new OGC Geographic Markup Language (GML) as well as Open Location Service interfaces. The object-relational model used for geometry storage by Oracle11g also conforms to the specifications associated with SQL92 representation of points, lines, and polygons.

Oracle11g, with Oracle Spatial, provides the foundation for deploying enterprise-wide spatial information systems and wireless location-based services. These location-based services in Oracle11g now include fast R-tree indexing, linear referencing, and projection and coordinate transformation support, in addition to spatial object type storage, SQL access, spatial operations, quadtree indexing, and the ability to work with third party geocoding providers. 

With Oracle11g, it becomes both faster and easier to incorporate location information into Internet and wireless applications and services. This release continues to emphasize performance, ease of use, and an architecture that truly scales across the enterprise. 

* Schema that prescribes the storage, syntax, and semantics of supported geometric data types 
* Spatial indexing mechanism 
* Set of spatial operators and a mechanism to perform area-of-interest and spatial-join queries using these operators 
* Set of spatial functions which perform length, area, distance calculations on geometries; and generate new geometries such as buffers, unions 
* Set of administrative utilities
* Linear referencing support
* Comprehensive projection and coordinate transformation support
* Geocoding framework
* Long transaction support (Oracle Workspace Manager database feature)

* Geodetic support (Whole Earth Geometry Model)
* Function-based spatial indexing
* Spatial aggregates
* Secondary filter performance enhancements
* Partitioning support for spatial indexes
* Object replication 

* Parallel spatial index creation 
* Enhancements to spatial partitioning support (split, merge, exchange partitions) 
* Performance enhancements for R-tree index creation and updates 
* Additional secondary filter performance enhancements 
* Additional geometry validation procedures

* MapViewer is an Oracle11gAS v2 Java map rendering and viewing component used for visualizing geospatial data managed by Oracle Spatial
* Oracle Workspace Manager provides long transaction support for Oracle Spatial 
* Oracle11gAS Wireless provides location-based services for wireless and mobile devices


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