Chapter 16. Spatial Extensions

Table of Contents

16.1. Introduction to MySQL Spatial Support
16.2. The OpenGIS Geometry Model
16.2.1. The Geometry Class Hierarchy
16.2.2. Class Geometry
16.2.3. Class Point
16.2.4. Class Curve
16.2.5. Class LineString
16.2.6. Class Surface
16.2.7. Class Polygon
16.2.8. Class GeometryCollection
16.2.9. Class MultiPoint
16.2.10. Class MultiCurve
16.2.11. Class MultiLineString
16.2.12. Class MultiSurface
16.2.13. Class MultiPolygon
16.3. Supported Spatial Data Formats
16.3.1. Well-Known Text (WKT) Format
16.3.2. Well-Known Binary (WKB) Format
16.4. Creating a Spatially Enabled MySQL Database
16.4.1. MySQL Spatial Data Types
16.4.2. Creating Spatial Values
16.4.3. Creating Spatial Columns
16.4.4. Populating Spatial Columns
16.4.5. Fetching Spatial Data
16.5. Analyzing Spatial Information
16.5.1. Geometry Format Conversion Functions
16.5.2. Geometry Functions
16.5.3. Functions That Create New Geometries from Existing Ones
16.5.4. Functions for Testing Spatial Relations Between Geometric Objects
16.5.5. Relations on Geometry Minimal Bounding Rectangles (MBRs)
16.5.6. Functions That Test Spatial Relationships Between Geometries
16.6. Optimizing Spatial Analysis
16.6.1. Creating Spatial Indexes
16.6.2. Using a Spatial Index
16.7. MySQL Conformance and Compatibility

MySQL 4.1 introduces spatial extensions to allow the generation, storage, and analysis of geographic features. Currently, these features are available for MyISAM tables only.

This chapter covers the following topics:

Additional resources

16.1. Introduction to MySQL Spatial Support

MySQL implements spatial extensions following the specification of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). This is an international consortium of more than 250 companies, agencies, and universities participating in the development of publicly available conceptual solutions that can be useful with all kinds of applications that manage spatial data. The OGC maintains a Web site at http://www.opengis.org/.

In 1997, the Open Geospatial Consortium published the OpenGIS® Simple Features Specifications For SQL, a document that proposes several conceptual ways for extending an SQL RDBMS to support spatial data. This specification is available from the OGC Web site at http://www.opengis.org/docs/99-049.pdf. It contains additional information relevant to this chapter.

MySQL implements a subset of the SQL with Geometry Types environment proposed by OGC. This term refers to an SQL environment that has been extended with a set of geometry types. A geometry-valued SQL column is implemented as a column that has a geometry type. The specification describe a set of SQL geometry types, as well as functions on those types to create and analyze geometry values.

A geographic feature is anything in the world that has a location. A feature can be:

  • An entity. For example, a mountain, a pond, a city.

  • A space. For example, town district, the tropics.

  • A definable location. For example, a crossroad, as a particular place where two streets intersect.

Some documents use the term geospatial feature to refer to geographic features.

Geometry is another word that denotes a geographic feature. Originally the word geometry meant measurement of the earth. Another meaning comes from cartography, referring to the geometric features that cartographers use to map the world.

This chapter uses all of these terms synonymously: geographic feature, geospatial feature, feature, or geometry. Here, the term most commonly used is geometry, defined as a point or an aggregate of points representing anything in the world that has a location.

16.2. The OpenGIS Geometry Model

The set of geometry types proposed by OGC's SQL with Geometry Types environment is based on the OpenGIS Geometry Model. In this model, each geometric object has the following general properties:

  • It is associated with a Spatial Reference System, which describes the coordinate space in which the object is defined.

  • It belongs to some geometry class.

16.2.1. The Geometry Class Hierarchy

The geometry classes define a hierarchy as follows:

  • Geometry (noninstantiable)

    • Point (instantiable)

    • Curve (noninstantiable)

      • LineString (instantiable)

        • Line

        • LinearRing

    • Surface (noninstantiable)

      • Polygon (instantiable)

    • GeometryCollection (instantiable)

      • MultiPoint (instantiable)

      • MultiCurve (noninstantiable)

        • MultiLineString (instantiable)

      • MultiSurface (noninstantiable)

        • MultiPolygon (instantiable)

It is not possible to create objects in noninstantiable classes. It is possible to create objects in instantiable classes. All classes have properties, and instantiable classes may also have assertions (rules that define valid class instances).

Geometry is the base class. It is an abstract class. The instantiable subclasses of Geometry are restricted to zero-, one-, and two-dimensional geometric objects that exist in two-dimensional coordinate space. All instantiable geometry classes are defined so that valid instances of a geometry class are topologically closed (that is, all defined geometries include their boundary).

The base Geometry class has subclasses for Point, Curve, Surface, and GeometryCollection:

  • Point represents zero-dimensional objects.

  • Curve represents one-dimensional objects, and has subclass LineString, with sub-subclasses Line and LinearRing.

  • Surface is designed for two-dimensional objects and has subclass Polygon.

  • GeometryCollection has specialized zero-, one-, and two-dimensional collection classes named MultiPoint, MultiLineString, and MultiPolygon for modeling geometries corresponding to collections of Points, LineStrings, and Polygons, respectively. MultiCurve and MultiSurface are introduced as abstract superclasses that generalize the collection interfaces to handle Curves and Surfaces.

Geometry, Curve, Surface, MultiCurve, and MultiSurface are defined as noninstantiable classes. They define a common set of methods for their subclasses and are included for extensibility.

Point, LineString, Polygon, GeometryCollection, MultiPoint, MultiLineString, and MultiPolygon are instantiable classes.

16.2.2. Class Geometry

Geometry is the root class of the hierarchy. It is a noninstantiable class but has a number of properties that are common to all geometry values created from any of the Geometry subclasses. These properties are described in the following list. Particular subclasses have their own specific properties, described later.

Geometry Properties

A geometry value has the following properties:

  • Its type. Each geometry belongs to one of the instantiable classes in the hierarchy.

  • Its SRID, or Spatial Reference Identifier. This value identifies the geometry's associated Spatial Reference System that describes the coordinate space in which the geometry object is defined.

    In MySQL, the SRID value is just an integer associated with the geometry value. All calculations are done assuming Euclidean (planar) geometry.

  • Its coordinates in its Spatial Reference System, represented as double-precision (eight-byte) numbers. All nonempty geometries include at least one pair of (X,Y) coordinates. Empty geometries contain no coordinates.

    Coordinates are related to the SRID. For example, in different coordinate systems, the distance between two objects may differ even when objects have the same coordinates, because the distance on the planar coordinate system and the distance on the geocentric system (coordinates on the Earth's surface) are different things.

  • Its interior, boundary, and exterior.

    Every geometry occupies some position in space. The exterior of a geometry is all space not occupied by the geometry. The interior is the space occupied by the geometry. The boundary is the interface between the geometry's interior and exterior.

  • Its MBR (Minimum Bounding Rectangle), or Envelope. This is the bounding geometry, formed by the minimum and maximum (X,Y) coordinates:

    ((MINX MINY, MAXX MINY, MAXX MAXY, MINX MAXY, MINX MINY))
    
  • Whether the value is simple or nonsimple. Geometry values of types (LineString, MultiPoint, MultiLineString) are either simple or nonsimple. Each type determines its own assertions for being simple or nonsimple.

  • Whether the value is closed or not closed. Geometry values of types (LineString, MultiString) are either closed or not closed. Each type determines its own assertions for being closed or not closed.

  • Whether the value is empty or nonempty A geometry is empty if it does not have any points. Exterior, interior, and boundary of an empty geometry are not defined (that is, they are represented by a NULL value). An empty geometry is defined to be always simple and has an area of 0.

  • Its dimension. A geometry can have a dimension of –1, 0, 1, or 2:

    • –1 for an empty geometry.

    • 0 for a geometry with no length and no area.

    • 1 for a geometry with nonzero length and zero area.

    • 2 for a geometry with nonzero area.

    Point objects have a dimension of zero. LineString objects have a dimension of 1. Polygon objects have a dimension of 2. The dimensions of MultiPoint, MultiLineString, and MultiPolygon objects are the same as the dimensions of the elements they consist of.

16.2.3. Class Point

A Point is a geometry that represents a single location in coordinate space.

Point Examples

  • Imagine a large-scale map of the world with many cities. A Point object could represent each city.

  • On a city map, a Point object could represent a bus stop.

Point Properties

  • X-coordinate value.

  • Y-coordinate value.

  • Point is defined as a zero-dimensional geometry.

  • The boundary of a Point is the empty set.

16.2.4. Class Curve

A Curve is a one-dimensional geometry, usually represented by a sequence of points. Particular subclasses of Curve define the type of interpolation between points. Curve is a noninstantiable class.

Curve Properties

  • A Curve has the coordinates of its points.

  • A Curve is defined as a one-dimensional geometry.

  • A Curve is simple if it does not pass through the same point twice.

  • A Curve is closed if its start point is equal to its endpoint.

  • The boundary of a closed Curve is empty.

  • The boundary of a nonclosed Curve consists of its two endpoints.

  • A Curve that is simple and closed is a LinearRing.

16.2.5. Class LineString

A LineString is a Curve with linear interpolation between points.

LineString Examples

  • On a world map, LineString objects could represent rivers.

  • In a city map, LineString objects could represent streets.

LineString Properties

  • A LineString has coordinates of segments, defined by each consecutive pair of points.

  • A LineString is a Line if it consists of exactly two points.

  • A LineString is a LinearRing if it is both closed and simple.

16.2.6. Class Surface

A Surface is a two-dimensional geometry. It is a noninstantiable class. Its only instantiable subclass is Polygon.

Surface Properties

  • A Surface is defined as a two-dimensional geometry.

  • The OpenGIS specification defines a simple Surface as a geometry that consists of a single “patch” that is associated with a single exterior boundary and zero or more interior boundaries.

  • The boundary of a simple Surface is the set of closed curves corresponding to its exterior and interior boundaries.

16.2.7. Class Polygon

A Polygon is a planar Surface representing a multisided geometry. It is defined by a single exterior boundary and zero or more interior boundaries, where each interior boundary defines a hole in the Polygon.

Polygon Examples

  • On a region map, Polygon objects could represent forests, districts, and so on.

Polygon Assertions

  • The boundary of a Polygon consists of a set of LinearRing objects (that is, LineString objects that are both simple and closed) that make up its exterior and interior boundaries.

  • A Polygon has no rings that cross. The rings in the boundary of a Polygon may intersect at a Point, but only as a tangent.

  • A Polygon has no lines, spikes, or punctures.

  • A Polygon has an interior that is a connected point set.

  • A Polygon may have holes. The exterior of a Polygon with holes is not connected. Each hole defines a connected component of the exterior.

The preceding assertions make a Polygon a simple geometry.

16.2.8. Class GeometryCollection

A GeometryCollection is a geometry that is a collection of one or more geometries of any class.

All the elements in a GeometryCollection must be in the same Spatial Reference System (that is, in the same coordinate system). There are no other constraints on the elements of a GeometryCollection, although the subclasses of GeometryCollection described in the following sections may restrict membership. Restrictions may be based on:

  • Element type (for example, a MultiPoint may contain only Point elements)

  • Dimension

  • Constraints on the degree of spatial overlap between elements

16.2.9. Class MultiPoint

A MultiPoint is a geometry collection composed of Point elements. The points are not connected or ordered in any way.

MultiPoint Examples

  • On a world map, a MultiPoint could represent a chain of small islands.

  • On a city map, a MultiPoint could represent the outlets for a ticket office.

MultiPoint Properties

  • A MultiPoint is a zero-dimensional geometry.

  • A MultiPoint is simple if no two of its Point values are equal (have identical coordinate values).

  • The boundary of a MultiPoint is the empty set.

16.2.10. Class MultiCurve

A MultiCurve is a geometry collection composed of Curve elements. MultiCurve is a noninstantiable class.

MultiCurve Properties

  • A MultiCurve is a one-dimensional geometry.

  • A MultiCurve is simple if and only if all of its elements are simple; the only intersections between any two elements occur at points that are on the boundaries of both elements.

  • A MultiCurve boundary is obtained by applying the “mod 2 union rule” (also known as the “odd-even rule”): A point is in the boundary of a MultiCurve if it is in the boundaries of an odd number of MultiCurve elements.

  • A MultiCurve is closed if all of its elements are closed.

  • The boundary of a closed MultiCurve is always empty.

16.2.11. Class MultiLineString

A MultiLineString is a MultiCurve geometry collection composed of LineString elements.

MultiLineString Examples

  • On a region map, a MultiLineString could represent a river system or a highway system.

16.2.12. Class MultiSurface

A MultiSurface is a geometry collection composed of surface elements. MultiSurface is a noninstantiable class. Its only instantiable subclass is MultiPolygon.

MultiSurface Assertions

  • Two MultiSurface surfaces have no interiors that intersect.

  • Two MultiSurface elements have boundaries that intersect at most at a finite number of points.

16.2.13. Class MultiPolygon

A MultiPolygon is a MultiSurface object composed of Polygon elements.

MultiPolygon Examples

  • On a region map, a MultiPolygon could represent a system of lakes.

MultiPolygon Assertions

  • A MultiPolygon has no two Polygon elements with interiors that intersect.

  • A MultiPolygon has no two Polygon elements that cross (crossing is also forbidden by the previous assertion), or that touch at an infinite number of points.

  • A MultiPolygon may not have cut lines, spikes, or punctures. A MultiPolygon is a regular, closed point set.

  • A MultiPolygon that has more than one Polygon has an interior that is not connected. The number of connected components of the interior of a MultiPolygon is equal to the number of Polygon values in the MultiPolygon.

MultiPolygon Properties

  • A MultiPolygon is a two-dimensional geometry.

  • A MultiPolygon boundary is a set of closed curves (LineString values) corresponding to the boundaries of its Polygon elements.

  • Each Curve in the boundary of the MultiPolygon is in the boundary of exactly one Polygon element.

  • Every Curve in the boundary of an Polygon element is in the boundary of the MultiPolygon.

16.3. Supported Spatial Data Formats

This section describes the standard spatial data formats that are used to represent geometry objects in queries. They are:

  • Well-Known Text (WKT) format

  • Well-Known Binary (WKB) format

Internally, MySQL stores geometry values in a format that is not identical to either WKT or WKB format.

16.3.1. Well-Known Text (WKT) Format

The Well-Known Text (WKT) representation of Geometry is designed to exchange geometry data in ASCII form.

Examples of WKT representations of geometry objects:

  • A Point:

    POINT(15 20)
    

    Note that point coordinates are specified with no separating comma.

  • A LineString with four points:

    LINESTRING(0 0, 10 10, 20 25, 50 60)
    

    Note that point coordinate pairs are separated by commas.

  • A Polygon with one exterior ring and one interior ring:

    POLYGON((0 0,10 0,10 10,0 10,0 0),(5 5,7 5,7 7,5 7, 5 5))
    
  • A MultiPoint with three Point values:

    MULTIPOINT(0 0, 20 20, 60 60)
    
  • A MultiLineString with two LineString values:

    MULTILINESTRING((10 10, 20 20), (15 15, 30 15))
    
  • A MultiPolygon with two Polygon values:

    MULTIPOLYGON(((0 0,10 0,10 10,0 10,0 0)),((5 5,7 5,7 7,5 7, 5 5)))
    
  • A GeometryCollection consisting of two Point values and one LineString:

    GEOMETRYCOLLECTION(POINT(10 10), POINT(30 30), LINESTRING(15 15, 20 20))
    

A Backus-Naur grammar that specifies the formal production rules for writing WKT values can be found in the OpenGIS specification document referenced near the beginning of this chapter.

16.3.2. Well-Known Binary (WKB) Format

The Well-Known Binary (WKB) representation for geometric values is defined by the OpenGIS specification. It is also defined in the ISO SQL/MM Part 3: Spatial standard.

WKB is used to exchange geometry data as binary streams represented by BLOB values containing geometric WKB information.

WKB uses one-byte unsigned integers, four-byte unsigned integers, and eight-byte double-precision numbers (IEEE 754 format). A byte is eight bits.

For example, a WKB value that corresponds to POINT(1 1) consists of this sequence of 21 bytes (each represented here by two hex digits):

0101000000000000000000F03F000000000000F03F

The sequence may be broken down into these components:

Byte order : 01
WKB type   : 01000000
X          : 000000000000F03F
Y          : 000000000000F03F

Component representation is as follows:

  • The byte order may be either 1 or 0 to indicate little-endian or big-endian storage. The little-endian and big-endian byte orders are also known as Network Data Representation (NDR) and External Data Representation (XDR), respectively.

  • The WKB type is a code that indicates the geometry type. Values from 1 through 7 indicate Point, LineString, Polygon, MultiPoint, MultiLineString, MultiPolygon, and GeometryCollection.

  • A Point value has X and Y coordinates, each represented as a double-precision value.

WKB values for more complex geometry values are represented by more complex data structures, as detailed in the OpenGIS specification.

16.4. Creating a Spatially Enabled MySQL Database

This section describes the data types you can use for representing spatial data in MySQL, and the functions available for creating and retrieving spatial values.

16.4.1. MySQL Spatial Data Types

MySQL has data types that correspond to OpenGIS classes. Some of these types hold single geometry values:

  • GEOMETRY

  • POINT

  • LINESTRING

  • POLYGON

GEOMETRY can store geometry values of any type. The other single-value types (POINT, LINESTRING, and POLYGON) restrict their values to a particular geometry type.

The other data types hold collections of values:

  • MULTIPOINT

  • MULTILINESTRING

  • MULTIPOLYGON

  • GEOMETRYCOLLECTION

GEOMETRYCOLLECTION can store a collection of objects of any type. The other collection types (MULTIPOINT, MULTILINESTRING, MULTIPOLYGON, and GEOMETRYCOLLECTION) restrict collection members to those having a particular geometry type.

16.4.2. Creating Spatial Values

This section describes how to create spatial values using Well-Known Text and Well-Known Binary functions that are defined in the OpenGIS standard, and using MySQL-specific functions.

16.4.2.1. Creating Geometry Values Using WKT Functions

MySQL provides a number of functions that take as input parameters a Well-Known Text representation and, optionally, a spatial reference system identifier (SRID). They return the corresponding geometry.

GeomFromText() accepts a WKT of any geometry type as its first argument. An implementation also provides type-specific construction functions for construction of geometry values of each geometry type.

The OpenGIS specification also defines the following optional functions, which MySQL does not implement. These functions construct Polygon or MultiPolygon values based on the WKT representation of a collection of rings or closed LineString values. These values may intersect.

  • BdMPolyFromText(wkt,srid)

    Constructs a MultiPolygon value from a MultiLineString value in WKT format containing an arbitrary collection of closed LineString values.

  • BdPolyFromText(wkt,srid)

    Constructs a Polygon value from a MultiLineString value in WKT format containing an arbitrary collection of closed LineString values.

16.4.2.2. Creating Geometry Values Using WKB Functions

MySQL provides a number of functions that take as input parameters a BLOB containing a Well-Known Binary representation and, optionally, a spatial reference system identifier (SRID). They return the corresponding geometry.

GeomFromWKB() accepts a WKB of any geometry type as its first argument. An implementation also provides type-specific construction functions for construction of geometry values of each geometry type.

The OpenGIS specification also describes optional functions for constructing Polygon or MultiPolygon values based on the WKB representation of a collection of rings or closed LineString values. These values may intersect. MySQL does not implement these functions:

  • BdMPolyFromWKB(wkb,srid)

    Constructs a MultiPolygon value from a MultiLineString value in WKB format containing an arbitrary collection of closed LineString values.

  • BdPolyFromWKB(wkb,srid)

    Constructs a Polygon value from a MultiLineString value in WKB format containing an arbitrary collection of closed LineString values.

16.4.2.3. Creating Geometry Values Using MySQL-Specific Functions

MySQL provides a set of useful nonstandard functions for creating geometry WKB representations. The functions described in this section are MySQL extensions to the OpenGIS specification. The results of these functions are BLOB values containing WKB representations of geometry values with no SRID. The results of these functions can be substituted as the first argument for any function in the GeomFromWKB() function family.

  • GeometryCollection(g1,g2,...)

    Constructs a WKB GeometryCollection. If any argument is not a well-formed WKB representation of a geometry, the return value is NULL.

  • LineString(pt1,pt2,...)

    Constructs a WKB LineString value from a number of WKB Point arguments. If any argument is not a WKB Point, the return value is NULL. If the number of Point arguments is less than two, the return value is NULL.

  • MultiLineString(ls1,ls2,...)

    Constructs a WKB MultiLineString value using WKB LineString arguments. If any argument is not a WKB LineString, the return value is NULL.

  • MultiPoint(pt1,pt2,...)

    Constructs a WKB MultiPoint value using WKB Point arguments. If any argument is not a WKB Point, the return value is NULL.

  • MultiPolygon(poly1,poly2,...)

    Constructs a WKB MultiPolygon value from a set of WKB Polygon arguments. If any argument is not a WKB Polygon, the return value is NULL.

  • Point(x,y)

    Constructs a WKB Point using its coordinates.

  • Polygon(ls1,ls2,...)

    Constructs a WKB Polygon value from a number of WKB LineString arguments. If any argument does not represent the WKB of a LinearRing (that is, not a closed and simple LineString) the return value is NULL.

16.4.3. Creating Spatial Columns

MySQL provides a standard way of creating spatial columns for geometry types, for example, with CREATE TABLE or ALTER TABLE. Currently, spatial columns are supported only for MyISAM tables.

  • Use the CREATE TABLE statement to create a table with a spatial column:

    CREATE TABLE geom (g GEOMETRY);
    
  • Use the ALTER TABLE statement to add or drop a spatial column to or from an existing table:

    ALTER TABLE geom ADD pt POINT;
    ALTER TABLE geom DROP pt;
    

16.4.4. Populating Spatial Columns

After you have created spatial columns, you can populate them with spatial data.

Values should be stored in internal geometry format, but you can convert them to that format from either Well-Known Text (WKT) or Well-Known Binary (WKB) format. The following examples demonstrate how to insert geometry values into a table by converting WKT values into internal geometry format:

  • Perform the conversion directly in the INSERT statement:

    INSERT INTO geom VALUES (GeomFromText('POINT(1 1)'));
    
    SET @g = 'POINT(1 1)';
    INSERT INTO geom VALUES (GeomFromText(@g));
    
  • Perform the conversion prior to the INSERT:

    SET @g = GeomFromText('POINT(1 1)');
    INSERT INTO geom VALUES (@g);
    

The following examples insert more complex geometries into the table:

SET @g = 'LINESTRING(0 0,1 1,2 2)';
INSERT INTO geom VALUES (GeomFromText(@g));

SET @g = 'POLYGON((0 0,10 0,10 10,0 10,0 0),(5 5,7 5,7 7,5 7, 5 5))';
INSERT INTO geom VALUES (GeomFromText(@g));

SET @g =
'GEOMETRYCOLLECTION(POINT(1 1),LINESTRING(0 0,1 1,2 2,3 3,4 4))';
INSERT INTO geom VALUES (GeomFromText(@g));

The preceding examples all use GeomFromText() to create geometry values. You can also use type-specific functions:

SET @g = 'POINT(1 1)';
INSERT INTO geom VALUES (PointFromText(@g));

SET @g = 'LINESTRING(0 0,1 1,2 2)';
INSERT INTO geom VALUES (LineStringFromText(@g));

SET @g = 'POLYGON((0 0,10 0,10 10,0 10,0 0),(5 5,7 5,7 7,5 7, 5 5))';
INSERT INTO geom VALUES (PolygonFromText(@g));

SET @g =
'GEOMETRYCOLLECTION(POINT(1 1),LINESTRING(0 0,1 1,2 2,3 3,4 4))';
INSERT INTO geom VALUES (GeomCollFromText(@g));

Note that if a client application program wants to use WKB representations of geometry values, it is responsible for sending correctly formed WKB in queries to the server. However, there are several ways of satisfying this requirement. For example:

  • Inserting a POINT(1 1) value with hex literal syntax:

    mysql> INSERT INTO geom VALUES
        -> (GeomFromWKB(0x0101000000000000000000F03F000000000000F03F));
    
  • An ODBC application can send a WKB representation, binding it to a placeholder using an argument of BLOB type:

    INSERT INTO geom VALUES (GeomFromWKB(?))
    

    Other programming interfaces may support a similar placeholder mechanism.

  • In a C program, you can escape a binary value using mysql_real_escape_string() and include the result in a query string that is sent to the server. See Section 17.7.3.51, “mysql_real_escape_string().

16.4.5. Fetching Spatial Data

Geometry values stored in a table can be fetched in internal format. You can also convert them into WKT or WKB format.

  • Fetching spatial data in internal format:

    Fetching geometry values using internal format can be useful in table-to-table transfers:

    CREATE TABLE geom2 (g GEOMETRY) SELECT g FROM geom;
    
  • Fetching spatial data in WKT format:

    The AsText() function converts a geometry from internal format into a WKT string.

    SELECT AsText(g) FROM geom;
    
  • Fetching spatial data in WKB format:

    The AsBinary() function converts a geometry from internal format into a BLOB containing the WKB value.

    SELECT AsBinary(g) FROM geom;
    

16.5. Analyzing Spatial Information

After populating spatial columns with values, you are ready to query and analyze them. MySQL provides a set of functions to perform various operations on spatial data. These functions can be grouped into four major categories according to the type of operation they perform:

  • Functions that convert geometries between various formats

  • Functions that provide access to qualitative or quantitative properties of a geometry

  • Functions that describe relations between two geometries

  • Functions that create new geometries from existing ones

Spatial analysis functions can be used in many contexts, such as:

  • Any interactive SQL program, such as mysql.

  • Application programs written in any language that supports a MySQL client API

16.5.1. Geometry Format Conversion Functions

MySQL supports the following functions for converting geometry values between internal format and either WKT or WKB format:

16.5.2. Geometry Functions

Each function that belongs to this group takes a geometry value as its argument and returns some quantitative or qualitative property of the geometry. Some functions restrict their argument type. Such functions return NULL if the argument is of an incorrect geometry type. For example, Area() returns NULL if the object type is neither Polygon nor MultiPolygon.

16.5.2.1. General Geometry Functions

The functions listed in this section do not restrict their argument and accept a geometry value of any type.

  • Dimension(g)

    Returns the inherent dimension of the geometry value g. The result can be –1, 0, 1, or 2. The meaning of these values is given in Section 16.2.2, “Class Geometry.

    mysql> SELECT Dimension(GeomFromText('LineString(1 1,2 2)'));
    +------------------------------------------------+
    | Dimension(GeomFromText('LineString(1 1,2 2)')) |
    +------------------------------------------------+
    |                                              1 |
    +------------------------------------------------+
    
  • Envelope(g)

    Returns the Minimum Bounding Rectangle (MBR) for the geometry value g. The result is returned as a Polygon value.

    The polygon is defined by the corner points of the bounding box:

    POLYGON((MINX MINY, MAXX MINY, MAXX MAXY, MINX MAXY, MINX MINY))
    
    mysql> SELECT AsText(Envelope(GeomFromText('LineString(1 1,2 2)')));
    +-------------------------------------------------------+
    | AsText(Envelope(GeomFromText('LineString(1 1,2 2)'))) |
    +-------------------------------------------------------+
    | POLYGON((1 1,2 1,2 2,1 2,1 1))                        |
    +-------------------------------------------------------+
    
  • GeometryType(g)

    Returns as a string the name of the geometry type of which the geometry instance g is a member. The name corresponds to one of the instantiable Geometry subclasses.

    mysql> SELECT GeometryType(GeomFromText('POINT(1 1)'));
    +------------------------------------------+
    | GeometryType(GeomFromText('POINT(1 1)')) |
    +------------------------------------------+
    | POINT                                    |
    +------------------------------------------+
    
  • SRID(g)

    Returns an integer indicating the Spatial Reference System ID for the geometry value g.

    In MySQL, the SRID value is just an integer associated with the geometry value. All calculations are done assuming Euclidean (planar) geometry.

    mysql> SELECT SRID(GeomFromText('LineString(1 1,2 2)',101));
    +-----------------------------------------------+
    | SRID(GeomFromText('LineString(1 1,2 2)',101)) |
    +-----------------------------------------------+
    |                                           101 |
    +-----------------------------------------------+
    

The OpenGIS specification also defines the following functions, which MySQL does not implement:

  • Boundary(g)

    Returns a geometry that is the closure of the combinatorial boundary of the geometry value g.

  • IsEmpty(g)

    Returns 1 if the geometry value g is the empty geometry, 0 if it is not empty, and –1 if the argument is NULL. If the geometry is empty, it represents the empty point set.

  • IsSimple(g)

    Currently, this function is a placeholder and should not be used. If implemented, its behavior will be as described in the next paragraph.

    Returns 1 if the geometry value g has no anomalous geometric points, such as self-intersection or self-tangency. IsSimple() returns 0 if the argument is not simple, and –1 if it is NULL.

    The description of each instantiable geometric class given earlier in the chapter includes the specific conditions that cause an instance of that class to be classified as not simple. (See Section 16.2.1, “The Geometry Class Hierarchy”.)

16.5.2.2. Point Functions

A Point consists of X and Y coordinates, which may be obtained using the following functions:

  • X(p)

    Returns the X-coordinate value for the point p as a double-precision number.

    mysql> SET @pt = 'Point(56.7 53.34)';
    mysql> SELECT X(GeomFromText(@pt));
    +----------------------+
    | X(GeomFromText(@pt)) |
    +----------------------+
    |                 56.7 |
    +----------------------+
    
  • Y(p)

    Returns the Y-coordinate value for the point p as a double-precision number.

    mysql> SET @pt = 'Point(56.7 53.34)';
    mysql> SELECT Y(GeomFromText(@pt));
    +----------------------+
    | Y(GeomFromText(@pt)) |
    +----------------------+
    |                53.34 |
    +----------------------+
    

16.5.2.3. LineString Functions

A LineString consists of Point values. You can extract particular points of a LineString, count the number of points that it contains, or obtain its length.

  • EndPoint(ls)

    Returns the Point that is the endpoint of the LineString value ls.

    mysql> SET @ls = 'LineString(1 1,2 2,3 3)';
    mysql> SELECT AsText(EndPoint(GeomFromText(@ls)));
    +-------------------------------------+
    | AsText(EndPoint(GeomFromText(@ls))) |
    +-------------------------------------+
    | POINT(3 3)                          |
    +-------------------------------------+
    
  • GLength(ls)

    Returns as a double-precision number the length of the LineString value ls in its associated spatial reference.

    mysql> SET @ls = 'LineString(1 1,2 2,3 3)';
    mysql> SELECT GLength(GeomFromText(@ls));
    +----------------------------+
    | GLength(GeomFromText(@ls)) |
    +----------------------------+
    |            2.8284271247462 |
    +----------------------------+
    

    GLength() is a nonstandard name. It corresponds to the OpenGIS Length() function.

  • NumPoints(ls)

    Returns the number of Point objects in the LineString value ls.

    mysql> SET @ls = 'LineString(1 1,2 2,3 3)';
    mysql> SELECT NumPoints(GeomFromText(@ls));
    +------------------------------+
    | NumPoints(GeomFromText(@ls)) |
    +------------------------------+
    |                            3 |
    +------------------------------+
    
  • PointN(ls,N)

    Returns the N-th Point in the Linestring value ls. Points are numbered beginning with 1.

    mysql> SET @ls = 'LineString(1 1,2 2,3 3)';
    mysql> SELECT AsText(PointN(GeomFromText(@ls),2));
    +-------------------------------------+
    | AsText(PointN(GeomFromText(@ls),2)) |
    +-------------------------------------+
    | POINT(2 2)                          |
    +-------------------------------------+
    
  • StartPoint(ls)

    Returns the Point that is the start point of the LineString value ls.

    mysql> SET @ls = 'LineString(1 1,2 2,3 3)';
    mysql> SELECT AsText(StartPoint(GeomFromText(@ls)));
    +---------------------------------------+
    | AsText(StartPoint(GeomFromText(@ls))) |
    +---------------------------------------+
    | POINT(1 1)                            |
    +---------------------------------------+
    

The OpenGIS specification also defines the following function, which MySQL does not implement:

  • IsRing(ls)

    Returns 1 if the LineString value ls is closed (that is, its StartPoint() and EndPoint() values are the same) and is simple (does not pass through the same point more than once). Returns 0 if ls is not a ring, and –1 if it is NULL.

16.5.2.4. MultiLineString Functions

These functions return properties of MultiLineString values.

  • GLength(mls)

    Returns as a double-precision number the length of the MultiLineString value mls. The length of mls is equal to the sum of the lengths of its elements.

    mysql> SET @mls = 'MultiLineString((1 1,2 2,3 3),(4 4,5 5))';
    mysql> SELECT GLength(GeomFromText(@mls));
    +-----------------------------+
    | GLength(GeomFromText(@mls)) |
    +-----------------------------+
    |             4.2426406871193 |
    +-----------------------------+
    

    GLength() is a nonstandard name. It corresponds to the OpenGIS Length() function.

  • IsClosed(mls)

    Returns 1 if the MultiLineString value mls is closed (that is, the StartPoint() and EndPoint() values are the same for each LineString in mls). Returns 0 if mls is not closed, and –1 if it is NULL.

    mysql> SET @mls = 'MultiLineString((1 1,2 2,3 3),(4 4,5 5))';
    mysql> SELECT IsClosed(GeomFromText(@mls));
    +------------------------------+
    | IsClosed(GeomFromText(@mls)) |
    +------------------------------+
    |                            0 |
    +------------------------------+
    

16.5.2.5. Polygon Functions

These functions return properties of Polygon values.

  • Area(poly)

    Returns as a double-precision number the area of the Polygon value poly, as measured in its spatial reference system.

    mysql> SET @poly = 'Polygon((0 0,0 3,3 0,0 0),(1 1,1 2,2 1,1 1))';
    mysql> SELECT Area(GeomFromText(@poly));
    +---------------------------+
    | Area(GeomFromText(@poly)) |
    +---------------------------+
    |                         4 |
    +---------------------------+
    
  • ExteriorRing(poly)

    Returns the exterior ring of the Polygon value poly as a LineString.

    mysql> SET @poly =
        -> 'Polygon((0 0,0 3,3 3,3 0,0 0),(1 1,1 2,2 2,2 1,1 1))';
    mysql> SELECT AsText(ExteriorRing(GeomFromText(@poly)));
    +-------------------------------------------+
    | AsText(ExteriorRing(GeomFromText(@poly))) |
    +-------------------------------------------+
    | LINESTRING(0 0,0 3,3 3,3 0,0 0)           |
    +-------------------------------------------+
    
  • InteriorRingN(poly,N)

    Returns the N-th interior ring for the Polygon value poly as a LineString. Rings are numbered beginning with 1.

    mysql> SET @poly =
        -> 'Polygon((0 0,0 3,3 3,3 0,0 0),(1 1,1 2,2 2,2 1,1 1))';
    mysql> SELECT AsText(InteriorRingN(GeomFromText(@poly),1));
    +----------------------------------------------+
    | AsText(InteriorRingN(GeomFromText(@poly),1)) |
    +----------------------------------------------+
    | LINESTRING(1 1,1 2,2 2,2 1,1 1)              |
    +----------------------------------------------+
    
  • NumInteriorRings(poly)

    Returns the number of interior rings in the Polygon value poly.

    mysql> SET @poly =
        -> 'Polygon((0 0,0 3,3 3,3 0,0 0),(1 1,1 2,2 2,2 1,1 1))';
    mysql> SELECT NumInteriorRings(GeomFromText(@poly));
    +---------------------------------------+
    | NumInteriorRings(GeomFromText(@poly)) |
    +---------------------------------------+
    |                                     1 |
    +---------------------------------------+
    

16.5.2.6. MultiPolygon Functions

These functions return properties of MultiPolygon values.

  • Area(mpoly)

    Returns as a double-precision number the area of the MultiPolygon value mpoly, as measured in its spatial reference system.

    mysql> SET @mpoly =
        -> 'MultiPolygon(((0 0,0 3,3 3,3 0,0 0),(1 1,1 2,2 2,2 1,1 1)))';
    mysql> SELECT Area(GeomFromText(@mpoly));
    +----------------------------+
    | Area(GeomFromText(@mpoly)) |
    +----------------------------+
    |                          8 |
    +----------------------------+
    

The OpenGIS specification also defines the following functions, which MySQL does not implement:

  • Centroid(mpoly)

    Returns the mathematical centroid for the MultiPolygon value mpoly as a Point. The result is not guaranteed to be on the MultiPolygon.

  • PointOnSurface(mpoly)

    Returns a Point value that is guaranteed to be on the MultiPolygon value mpoly.

16.5.2.7. GeometryCollection Functions

These functions return properties of GeometryCollation values.

  • GeometryN(gc,N)

    Returns the N-th geometry in the GeometryCollection value gc. Geometries are numbered beginning with 1.

    mysql> SET @gc = 'GeometryCollection(Point(1 1),LineString(2 2, 3 3))';
    mysql> SELECT AsText(GeometryN(GeomFromText(@gc),1));
    +----------------------------------------+
    | AsText(GeometryN(GeomFromText(@gc),1)) |
    +----------------------------------------+
    | POINT(1 1)                             |
    +----------------------------------------+
    
  • NumGeometries(gc)

    Returns the number of geometries in the GeometryCollection value gc.

    mysql> SET @gc = 'GeometryCollection(Point(1 1),LineString(2 2, 3 3))';
    mysql> SELECT NumGeometries(GeomFromText(@gc));
    +----------------------------------+
    | NumGeometries(GeomFromText(@gc)) |
    +----------------------------------+
    |                                2 |
    +----------------------------------+
    

16.5.3. Functions That Create New Geometries from Existing Ones

The following sections describe functions that take geometry values as arguments and return new geometry values.

16.5.3.1. Geometry Functions That Produce New Geometries

Section 16.5.2, “Geometry Functions”, discusses several functions that construct new geometries from existing ones. See that section for descriptions of these functions:

16.5.3.2. Spatial Operators

OpenGIS proposes a number of other functions that can produce geometries. They are designed to implement spatial operators.

These functions are not implemented in MySQL. They may appear in future releases.

  • Buffer(g,d)

    Returns a geometry that represents all points whose distance from the geometry value g is less than or equal to a distance of d.

  • ConvexHull(g)

    Returns a geometry that represents the convex hull of the geometry value g.

  • Difference(g1,g2)

    Returns a geometry that represents the point set difference of the geometry value g1 with g2.

  • Intersection(g1,g2)

    Returns a geometry that represents the point set intersection of the geometry values g1 with g2.

  • SymDifference(g1,g2)

    Returns a geometry that represents the point set symmetric difference of the geometry value g1 with g2.

  • Union(g1,g2)

    Returns a geometry that represents the point set union of the geometry values g1 and g2.

16.5.4. Functions for Testing Spatial Relations Between Geometric Objects

The functions described in these sections take two geometries as input parameters and return a qualitative or quantitative relation between them.

16.5.5. Relations on Geometry Minimal Bounding Rectangles (MBRs)

MySQL provides several functions that test relations between minimal bounding rectangles of two geometries g1 and g2. The return values 1 and 0 indicate true and false, respectively.

  • MBRContains(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether the Minimum Bounding Rectangle of g1 contains the Minimum Bounding Rectangle of g2. This tests the opposite relationship as MBRWithin().

    mysql> SET @g1 = GeomFromText('Polygon((0 0,0 3,3 3,3 0,0 0))');
    mysql> SET @g2 = GeomFromText('Point(1 1)');
    mysql> SELECT MBRContains(@g1,@g2), MBRContains(@g2,@g1);
    ----------------------+----------------------+
    | MBRContains(@g1,@g2) | MBRContains(@g2,@g1) |
    +----------------------+----------------------+
    |                    1 |                    0 |
    +----------------------+----------------------+
    
  • MBRDisjoint(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether the Minimum Bounding Rectangles of the two geometries g1 and g2 are disjoint (do not intersect).

  • MBREqual(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether the Minimum Bounding Rectangles of the two geometries g1 and g2 are the same.

  • MBRIntersects(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether the Minimum Bounding Rectangles of the two geometries g1 and g2 intersect.

  • MBROverlaps(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether the Minimum Bounding Rectangles of the two geometries g1 and g2 overlap. The term spatially overlaps is used if two geometries intersect and their intersection results in a geometry of the same dimension but not equal to either of the given geometries.

  • MBRTouches(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether the Minimum Bounding Rectangles of the two geometries g1 and g2 touch. Two geometries spatially touch if the interiors of the geometries do not intersect, but the boundary of one of the geometries intersects either the boundary or the interior of the other.

  • MBRWithin(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether the Minimum Bounding Rectangle of g1 is within the Minimum Bounding Rectangle of g2. This tests the opposite relationship as MBRContains().

    mysql> SET @g1 = GeomFromText('Polygon((0 0,0 3,3 3,3 0,0 0))');
    mysql> SET @g2 = GeomFromText('Polygon((0 0,0 5,5 5,5 0,0 0))');
    mysql> SELECT MBRWithin(@g1,@g2), MBRWithin(@g2,@g1);
    +--------------------+--------------------+
    | MBRWithin(@g1,@g2) | MBRWithin(@g2,@g1) |
    +--------------------+--------------------+
    |                  1 |                  0 |
    +--------------------+--------------------+
    

16.5.6. Functions That Test Spatial Relationships Between Geometries

The OpenGIS specification defines the following functions. They test the relationship between two geometry values g1 and g2.

The return values 1 and 0 indicate true and false, respectively.

Note

Currently, MySQL does not implement these functions according to the specification. Those that are implemented return the same result as the corresponding MBR-based functions. This includes functions in the following list other than Distance() and Related().

These functions may be implemented in future releases with full support for spatial analysis, not just MBR-based support.

  • Contains(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether g1 completely contains g2. This tests the opposite relationship as Within().

  • Crosses(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 if g1 spatially crosses g2. Returns NULL if g1 is a Polygon or a MultiPolygon, or if g2 is a Point or a MultiPoint. Otherwise, returns 0.

    The term spatially crosses denotes a spatial relation between two given geometries that has the following properties:

    • The two geometries intersect

    • Their intersection results in a geometry that has a dimension that is one less than the maximum dimension of the two given geometries

    • Their intersection is not equal to either of the two given geometries

  • Disjoint(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether g1 is spatially disjoint from (does not intersect) g2.

  • Distance(g1,g2)

    Returns as a double-precision number the shortest distance between any two points in the two geometries.

  • Equals(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether g1 is spatially equal to g2.

  • Intersects(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether g1 spatially intersects g2.

  • Overlaps(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether g1 spatially overlaps g2. The term spatially overlaps is used if two geometries intersect and their intersection results in a geometry of the same dimension but not equal to either of the given geometries.

  • Related(g1,g2,pattern_matrix)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether the spatial relationship specified by pattern_matrix exists between g1 and g2. Returns –1 if the arguments are NULL. The pattern matrix is a string. Its specification will be noted here if this function is implemented.

  • Touches(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether g1 spatially touches g2. Two geometries spatially touch if the interiors of the geometries do not intersect, but the boundary of one of the geometries intersects either the boundary or the interior of the other.

  • Within(g1,g2)

    Returns 1 or 0 to indicate whether g1 is spatially within g2. This tests the opposite relationship as Contains().

16.6. Optimizing Spatial Analysis

Search operations in nonspatial databases can be optimized using SPATIAL indexes. This is true for spatial databases as well. With the help of a great variety of multi-dimensional indexing methods that have previously been designed, it is possible to optimize spatial searches. The most typical of these are:

  • Point queries that search for all objects that contain a given point

  • Region queries that search for all objects that overlap a given region

MySQL uses R-Trees with quadratic splitting for SPATIAL indexes on spatial columns. A SPATIAL index is built using the MBR of a geometry. For most geometries, the MBR is a minimum rectangle that surrounds the geometries. For a horizontal or a vertical linestring, the MBR is a rectangle degenerated into the linestring. For a point, the MBR is a rectangle degenerated into the point.

16.6.1. Creating Spatial Indexes

MySQL can create spatial indexes using syntax similar to that for creating regular indexes, but extended with the SPATIAL keyword. Currently, columns in spatial indexes must be declared NOT NULL. The following examples demonstrate how to create spatial indexes:

  • With CREATE TABLE:

    CREATE TABLE geom (g GEOMETRY NOT NULL, SPATIAL INDEX(g));
    
  • With ALTER TABLE:

    ALTER TABLE geom ADD SPATIAL INDEX(g);
    
  • With CREATE INDEX:

    CREATE SPATIAL INDEX sp_index ON geom (g);
    

For MyISAM tables, SPATIAL INDEX creates an R-tree index. For nonspatial indexing of spatial columns, MyISAM tables creates a B-tree index. A B-tree index on spatial values will be useful for exact-value lookups, but not for range scans.

For more information on indexing spatial columns, see Section 12.1.4, “CREATE INDEX Syntax”.

To drop spatial indexes, use ALTER TABLE or DROP INDEX:

Example: Suppose that a table geom contains more than 32,000 geometries, which are stored in the column g of type GEOMETRY. The table also has an AUTO_INCREMENT column fid for storing object ID values.

mysql> DESCRIBE geom;
+-------+----------+------+-----+---------+----------------+
| Field | Type     | Null | Key | Default | Extra          |
+-------+----------+------+-----+---------+----------------+
| fid   | int(11)  |      | PRI | NULL    | auto_increment |
| g     | geometry |      |     |         |                |
+-------+----------+------+-----+---------+----------------+
2 rows in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT COUNT(*) FROM geom;
+----------+
| count(*) |
+----------+
|    32376 |
+----------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

To add a spatial index on the column g, use this statement:

mysql> ALTER TABLE geom ADD SPATIAL INDEX(g);
Query OK, 32376 rows affected (4.05 sec)
Records: 32376  Duplicates: 0  Warnings: 0

16.6.2. Using a Spatial Index

The optimizer investigates whether available spatial indexes can be involved in the search for queries that use a function such as MBRContains() or MBRWithin() in the WHERE clause. The following query finds all objects that are in the given rectangle:

mysql> SET @poly =
    -> 'Polygon((30000 15000,31000 15000,31000 16000,30000 16000,30000 15000))';
mysql> SELECT fid,AsText(g) FROM geom WHERE
    -> MBRContains(GeomFromText(@poly),g);
+-----+---------------------------------------------------------------+
| fid | AsText(g)                                                     |
+-----+---------------------------------------------------------------+
|  21 | LINESTRING(30350.4 15828.8,30350.6 15845,30333.8 15845,30 ... |
|  22 | LINESTRING(30350.6 15871.4,30350.6 15887.8,30334 15887.8, ... |
|  23 | LINESTRING(30350.6 15914.2,30350.6 15930.4,30334 15930.4, ... |
|  24 | LINESTRING(30290.2 15823,30290.2 15839.4,30273.4 15839.4, ... |
|  25 | LINESTRING(30291.4 15866.2,30291.6 15882.4,30274.8 15882. ... |
|  26 | LINESTRING(30291.6 15918.2,30291.6 15934.4,30275 15934.4, ... |
| 249 | LINESTRING(30337.8 15938.6,30337.8 15946.8,30320.4 15946. ... |
|   1 | LINESTRING(30250.4 15129.2,30248.8 15138.4,30238.2 15136. ... |
|   2 | LINESTRING(30220.2 15122.8,30217.2 15137.8,30207.6 15136, ... |
|   3 | LINESTRING(30179 15114.4,30176.6 15129.4,30167 15128,3016 ... |
|   4 | LINESTRING(30155.2 15121.4,30140.4 15118.6,30142 15109,30 ... |
|   5 | LINESTRING(30192.4 15085,30177.6 15082.2,30179.2 15072.4, ... |
|   6 | LINESTRING(30244 15087,30229 15086.2,30229.4 15076.4,3024 ... |
|   7 | LINESTRING(30200.6 15059.4,30185.6 15058.6,30186 15048.8, ... |
|  10 | LINESTRING(30179.6 15017.8,30181 15002.8,30190.8 15003.6, ... |
|  11 | LINESTRING(30154.2 15000.4,30168.6 15004.8,30166 15014.2, ... |
|  13 | LINESTRING(30105 15065.8,30108.4 15050.8,30118 15053,3011 ... |
| 154 | LINESTRING(30276.2 15143.8,30261.4 15141,30263 15131.4,30 ... |
| 155 | LINESTRING(30269.8 15084,30269.4 15093.4,30258.6 15093,30 ... |
| 157 | LINESTRING(30128.2 15011,30113.2 15010.2,30113.6 15000.4, ... |
+-----+---------------------------------------------------------------+
20 rows in set (0.00 sec)

Use EXPLAIN to check the way this query is executed:

mysql> SET @poly =
    -> 'Polygon((30000 15000,31000 15000,31000 16000,30000 16000,30000 15000))';
mysql> EXPLAIN SELECT fid,AsText(g) FROM geom WHERE
    -> MBRContains(GeomFromText(@poly),g)\G
*************************** 1. row ***************************
           id: 1
  select_type: SIMPLE
        table: geom
         type: range
possible_keys: g
          key: g
      key_len: 32
          ref: NULL
         rows: 50
        Extra: Using where
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Check what would happen without a spatial index:

mysql> SET @poly =
    -> 'Polygon((30000 15000,31000 15000,31000 16000,30000 16000,30000 15000))';
mysql> EXPLAIN SELECT fid,AsText(g) FROM g IGNORE INDEX (g) WHERE
    -> MBRContains(GeomFromText(@poly),g)\G
*************************** 1. row ***************************
           id: 1
  select_type: SIMPLE
        table: geom
         type: ALL
possible_keys: NULL
          key: NULL
      key_len: NULL
          ref: NULL
         rows: 32376
        Extra: Using where
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Executing the SELECT statement without the spatial index yields the same result but causes the execution time to rise from 0.00 seconds to 0.46 seconds:

mysql> SET @poly =
    -> 'Polygon((30000 15000,31000 15000,31000 16000,30000 16000,30000 15000))';
mysql> SELECT fid,AsText(g) FROM geom IGNORE INDEX (g) WHERE
    -> MBRContains(GeomFromText(@poly),g);
+-----+---------------------------------------------------------------+
| fid | AsText(g)                                                     |
+-----+---------------------------------------------------------------+
|   1 | LINESTRING(30250.4 15129.2,30248.8 15138.4,30238.2 15136. ... |
|   2 | LINESTRING(30220.2 15122.8,30217.2 15137.8,30207.6 15136, ... |
|   3 | LINESTRING(30179 15114.4,30176.6 15129.4,30167 15128,3016 ... |
|   4 | LINESTRING(30155.2 15121.4,30140.4 15118.6,30142 15109,30 ... |
|   5 | LINESTRING(30192.4 15085,30177.6 15082.2,30179.2 15072.4, ... |
|   6 | LINESTRING(30244 15087,30229 15086.2,30229.4 15076.4,3024 ... |
|   7 | LINESTRING(30200.6 15059.4,30185.6 15058.6,30186 15048.8, ... |
|  10 | LINESTRING(30179.6 15017.8,30181 15002.8,30190.8 15003.6, ... |
|  11 | LINESTRING(30154.2 15000.4,30168.6 15004.8,30166 15014.2, ... |
|  13 | LINESTRING(30105 15065.8,30108.4 15050.8,30118 15053,3011 ... |
|  21 | LINESTRING(30350.4 15828.8,30350.6 15845,30333.8 15845,30 ... |
|  22 | LINESTRING(30350.6 15871.4,30350.6 15887.8,30334 15887.8, ... |
|  23 | LINESTRING(30350.6 15914.2,30350.6 15930.4,30334 15930.4, ... |
|  24 | LINESTRING(30290.2 15823,30290.2 15839.4,30273.4 15839.4, ... |
|  25 | LINESTRING(30291.4 15866.2,30291.6 15882.4,30274.8 15882. ... |
|  26 | LINESTRING(30291.6 15918.2,30291.6 15934.4,30275 15934.4, ... |
| 154 | LINESTRING(30276.2 15143.8,30261.4 15141,30263 15131.4,30 ... |
| 155 | LINESTRING(30269.8 15084,30269.4 15093.4,30258.6 15093,30 ... |
| 157 | LINESTRING(30128.2 15011,30113.2 15010.2,30113.6 15000.4, ... |
| 249 | LINESTRING(30337.8 15938.6,30337.8 15946.8,30320.4 15946. ... |
+-----+---------------------------------------------------------------+
20 rows in set (0.46 sec)

In future releases, spatial indexes may also be used for optimizing other functions. See Section 16.5.4, “Functions for Testing Spatial Relations Between Geometric Objects”.

16.7. MySQL Conformance and Compatibility

MySQL does not yet implement the following GIS features:

  • Additional Metadata Views

    OpenGIS specifications propose several additional metadata views. For example, a system view named GEOMETRY_COLUMNS contains a description of geometry columns, one row for each geometry column in the database.

  • The OpenGIS function Length() on LineString and MultiLineString currently should be called in MySQL as GLength()

    The problem is that there is an existing SQL function Length() that calculates the length of string values, and sometimes it is not possible to distinguish whether the function is called in a textual or spatial context. We need either to solve this somehow, or decide on another function name.