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About this Book


This book isn’t a substitute for the official PostGIS documentation. The official PostGIS documentation does a good job of introducing you to the myriad of functions available in PostGIS and provides examples on how to use each. It won’t tell you how to combine all these functions into a recipe to solve your problems. That is the purpose of our book. Although it doesn’t cover all functions available in PostGIS, this book does cover the more commonly used or interesting ones and gives you the skills you need to combine them to solve classic and more esoteric but interesting problems in spatial analysis and modeling.

While you can use this book as a source of reference, we recommend that you do visit the official PostGIS site at

This book focuses on two-dimensional non-curved Cartesian vector geometries. Although it is primarily about writing spatial queries against 2D vector geometries, we provide introductions to the following ancillary topics:

  • Creating 3D vector geometries
  • Creating curved geometries
  • Creating and querying the geodetic geography data type
  • Working with raster data using the companion raster data type (integrated in PostGIS 2.0)

While the main purpose of this book is the use of PostGIS, we’d fall short of our mission if we neglected to provide some perspective on the landscape it lives in. PostGIS is not an island and rarely works alone. To complete the cycle, we also include the following:

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