Improving dissolve spatial operations in a simple feature model
This paper presents an algorithm to improve the performance of a spatial operation called ‘dissolve’ widely used in Geographic Information System (GIS) through spatial database systems. In simple feature models (lacking of persistent topology) executing some common spatial operations requires a high amount of system resources. Such common operations occur for example in the ‘OpenGIS Simple Features for SQL’ protocol (SFS), a client-server interoperability standard defined by ‘The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.’ (OGC). The specific spatial operation studied in this paper is called ‘dissolve’. It is carried out using the union spatial operator defined by OGC) and consists of removing the boundaries between adjacent polygons. The proposed algorithm improves substantially the performance of this spatial operation and it needs between 100 and 1000 times less amount of resources. This way it enables the database server to carry out this spatial operation on huge datasets containing up to millions of geometries. To check and to validate this algorithm a new open source software package (PGAT) has been developed.