What does PostGIS offer the ArcGIS user?

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04-21-2014 02:46 PM
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Occasional Contributor II
All,

After reading the exploits of the ESRI Portland team, and a few blog post comments stating "that there are people inside of Esri using, and trying to improve PostGIS", I have to wonder - what does PostGIS have to offer the ArcGIS user?

What is ESRI Portland using PostGIS for? A replacement to SQL Server, perhaps? Are they still using ArcSDE on top of PostGIS?

Our organization is tied to SQL Server, and we run ArcSDE on top of that. We also, however run a SQL-only database, with native geometry loaded via FME / Data Interop. Extension. Most of the student-level analysis we do is accomplished using SQL Spatial Functions (ST_Intersect, ST_Distance, ST_Buffer, etc.).

In our case, would PostGIS replace SQL Server? Would we still load ArcSDE on top of it and use PostGIS as only the 'geometry-enabling' back-end, using ArcMap/Catalog as the front-end?

Curious...

Thanks!

-m
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Esri Esteemed Contributor
It's also important to keep the technology stack straight.  In your situation, PostGIS is not
a replacement for SQL-Server, PostgreSQL would be. PostGIS would be a replacement for
the GEOMETRY/GEOGRAPHY native to Microsoft's database (or for the SDE.ST_GEOMETRY
created when an enterprise geodatabase is enabled).  ArcSDE doesn't go "on top of" databases
anymore, it's just the access technology framework for enterprise geodatabases (and as such,
can't be bypassed in a geodatabase; only Query Layers can bypass ArcSDE technology,
but then you don't get versioned editing).

- V

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One thing to remember is that the Portland Esri office is an R&D center, and thus it is part of our jobs to explore all aspects of GIS technology, both open and closed source.
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Esri Esteemed Contributor
It's also important to keep the technology stack straight.  In your situation, PostGIS is not
a replacement for SQL-Server, PostgreSQL would be. PostGIS would be a replacement for
the GEOMETRY/GEOGRAPHY native to Microsoft's database (or for the SDE.ST_GEOMETRY
created when an enterprise geodatabase is enabled).  ArcSDE doesn't go "on top of" databases
anymore, it's just the access technology framework for enterprise geodatabases (and as such,
can't be bypassed in a geodatabase; only Query Layers can bypass ArcSDE technology,
but then you don't get versioned editing).

- V

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Occasional Contributor II
Thanks, @Vince, that is interesting!

@jsievert - you guys going to 'open source' what you've come up with???

-m
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