GEOG 583
Geospatial System Analysis and Design

Reading Assignment


For this week, I'd like you to read two different articles, one on the basic design of a very popular spatial database called PostGIS, and the other on the topic of geospatial metadata (and how to make use of it) that focuses on another important (and very different) aspect of data in GIS system design.


What is a spatial database? Chapter 1 of PostGIS in Action by Regina O. Obe and Leo S. Hsu. Note, this is the second edition.

Think About

While you're reading, I'd like you to consider the completeness of this database structure - are there other operations or data types you think are important and should be included? Also, how do you think spatial databases will evolve in the next 10-20 years? Do you think we'll be simply expanding upon the types of queries and data types that are possible, or do you think bigger changes are on the horizon?


Metadata for Geographic Information by Paula Ahonen-Rainio from the Aalto University in Helsinki.


This paper covers a lot of ground with respect to geospatial metadata and some of the challenges associated with making use of it in an effective manner. Paula has conducted a range of user studies to test how visualization methods can be used to explore metadata - this paper hints at some of this work as well. I'd like you to comment on where you think metadata works best and where it doesn't work so well. Are there certain types of GIS systems that are more readily suited to handling and making use of good metadata? What do you think about visual approaches to browsing metadata? Do you think developing such features is a step in the right direction, or not? To get credit for this assignment, you must post at least one original comment and respond to at least one comment by your fellow students.

Joining the Discussion

The Lesson 8 Reading Discussion should be completed in Canvas.