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Relational databases have been around for a long time and spatial databases have exploited this feature for close to two decades. The recent past has seen the development of NoSQL non-relational databases, which are now being adopted for spatial object storage and handling, too. While SQL databases face scalability and agility challenges and fail to take the advantage of the cheap memory and processing power available these days, NoSQL databases can handle the rise in the data storage and frequency at which it is accessed and processed - which are essential features needed in geospatial scenarios, which do not deal with a fixed schema(geometry) and fixed data size. This paper attempts to evaluate the performance of an existing NoSQL database 'MongoDB' with its inbuilt spatial functions with that of a SQL database with spatial extension 'PostGIS' for two problems – spatial and aggregate queries, across a range of datasets, with varying features counts. All the data in the analysis was processed In-memory and no secondary memory was used. Initial results suggest that MongoDB performs better by an average factor of 10x-25x which increases exponentially as the data size increases in both indexed and non-indexed operations. Given these results, NoSQL databases may be better suited for simultaneous multiple-user query systems including Web-GIS and mobile-GIS. Further studies are required to understand the full potential of NoSQL databases across various geometries and spatial query types.
Agarwal, Sarthak and Rajan, KS
"Analyzing the performance of NoSQL vs. SQL databases for Spatial and Aggregate queries,"
Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) Conference Proceedings: Vol. 17
, Article 4.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/foss4g/vol17/iss1/4