What is a Spatial Database?

A Spatial Database is any database optimized to store and query data related to objects in space, including Point, LineString and Polygon items.

Advances in relational database management technology mean users now have the option of storing their GIS data in a spatial database rather than traditional file-based storage.

SIS Desktop 9 is compatible with these industry-standard spatial databases: 

  • Oracle (using Locator or Spatial option)
  • SQL Server 2008 (Spatial)
  • PostgreSQL (with PostGIS)

Benefits of using a spatial database compared to file-based data storage:

File based Storage Database

File size

usually limited to 2Gb


Client Memory Usage


Memory efficient

Multi-user Access

Only crude control, if any

Multi-user access is supported

Managing data

Difficult to manage, data may become duplicated

Central storage of data, easy
to locate and backup


File system security

Built in security access to data
is provided

Spatial Analysis and
Attribute Searches

Carried out on the client (hence limited to client capability)

Carried out on the Server.
Servers are more powerful,
therefore analysis is faster.

Spatial data is stored in database tables, each spatial feature corresponds to a row in the table.

The spatial feature itself is stored in a special geometry type that is available in all three databases. The attribution data associated with each spatial feature is stored in the same table row, each attribute corresponds to a column in the table.

The following figure shows the relationship between a spatial feature displayed in Cadcorp SIS Desktop and how it is stored as a row in the database table.