Oracle Spatial 11g’s Enhancements

By Joe Francica

Here is an overview of the enhancements found in Oracle Spatial 11g

3D Data Type Support
One of the key features introduced in Oracle Spatial 11g is support for three dimensional data types. Siva Ravada, director of software development, introduced the specific elements of 3D data support, in addition to other enhancements in Oracle 11g, which is due for release sometime before the end of this calendar year.

Ravada emphasized that Oracle targeted its software development in supporting 3-dimensional data toward specific applications such as:
  1. GIS for city planning and property rights
  2. City modeling and adopting features to support CityGML guidelines
  3. Business Intelligence for real estate and advertising
  4. Virtual Reality solutions
Specifically, the 3D data types that will be supported include points, lines, polygons and solids, as well as multi-points, multi-lines and multi-surfaces. It will follow Geography Markup Language (GML) 3.1.1 and ISO19107 specifications. Support for simple solids includes closed surfaces such as a cube or pyramid. There will not be 3D support for arcs or parametric surfaces. These enhancements will support large, high density and volume 3D city models. Additional new data types support the massive volumes of point data, such as point clouds, obtained from laser scanners and LiDAR, as well as triangulated irregular networks (TIN). Oracle has introduced a new datatype, SDO_Point_Cloud, to efficiently manage LiDAR data. Surface models, such as a TIN model, can be generated from these point clouds and stored in the new SDO_TIN datatype. Specific functionality includes:

Operations on 3D R-trees include:
  • SQL operator support
    • SDO_Filter, SDO_Anyinteract, SDO_Within_Distance, SDO_NN (nearest neighbor) only
  • PL/SQL functions
    • Validate_geometry
    • Validate_layer
    • SDO_Distance
    • SDO_Geom.Anyinteract
    • SDO_area, SDO_volume
    • SDO_CS.Transform (coordinate system transformation in 3D)
  • J3D_Geometry: Java Interface
    • Extends the 2D JGeometry Class for 3D
Support for TIN
A TIN is a vector-based topological data model used to represent terrain surfaces. TINs are composed of a network of irregularly spaced triangles. The 3D surface is derived from these irregularly spaced points where each point has an x, y and z value. Oracle's data type, SDO_TIN, can block the data into small pieces. Oracle doesn't worry about the number of points; it has the mechanism to aggregate the TINs. This function reads the TIN block as an SDO_Geometry and is much more efficient to store and retrieve data. Oracle 11g will not support functions to derive slope and aspect in this release.

3D coordinate system support
Oracle 11g will associate a coordinate system with 3D data. The 3D coordinate systems are all based on European Petroleum Survey Group (EPSG) specifications (codes representing geodetic parameters for datums and projections), and the following are supported:
  • Vertical coordinate systems
  • Geocentric: 3-D Cartesian
  • Geographic-3D: 3-d ellipsoidal
  • Geographic-3D: 3-d ellipsoidal
  • Compound coordinate System
Web Services
Spatial Web Services

Oracle identifies two approaches for structuring spatial Web services. The first model to consider when setting up a Web service is one in which "spatial" is the primary focus of the Web service. For example, a basic Web service might entail the ability to incorporate real-time information and the result may be a map or a report, such as returning driving directions between two points. The second model is one for a business service that contains a spatial component such as performing a standard business search, query or workflow. The spatial information is not the primary focus but the result may incorporate a map as a supporting element to visualize the information.

Oracle Spatial already supports the Open Geospatial Consortium's Web Map Service (WMS 1.1). Oracle 11g will support the Web Feature Service (WFS) version 1.1 and Catalog Services Web (CSW 2.0) specifications.

Oracle Spatial's WFS implementation uses SOAP/XML over HTTP, as well as the GML filter specification for feature search and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) for authentication. For transactional operations, the product supports the ability to retrieve a set of features while locking some, or all, features for a certain period of time. It also supports updating or deleting existing feature instances based on filter criteria.

Web Services Security
One of the more important features of Oracle is the ability to address stringent security issues and specific levels of security. Those not familiar with the levels of security will find the following explanation useful.
  • Identification - Who are you?
  • Authentication - How do I know it is you?
  • Authorization - Are you allowed?
  • Integrity - Is the data tampered?
  • Confidentiality - Did anyone else read it?
  • Auditing - Can you show what happened?
  • Non-repudiation - Can you prove it happened?
Raster Data and the GeoRaster function
Enhancements to Oracle Spatial's support for raster data include:
  • Supports multiple NODATA values and multiple NODATA value Ranges for any GeoRaster objects and their individual bands/layers
  • Supports empty raster blocks
  • Union/merging of multiple GeoRaster objects or multiple layers
  • Partial update/edit of raster data inside a GeoRaster object
  • GeoRaster template functions to ease third-party software integration so that the developers don't need to directly deal with database binary large object (BLOB) and XML Type
  • Statistical analysis functions
  • Support for sub-cell and sub-pixel addressing (floating row and column numbers) in the GeoRaster cell space
  • Supports irregular raster blocking
  • Loading and exporting additional formats
    • GeoTIFF
    • JPEG 2000
    • DigitalGlobe RPC text
Network Data Model
Oracle has made several enhancements to its network data model (NMD) that some users have been awaiting. The NDM has two components: the NMD Load-on-Demand (LOD) Network Partitions that supports dynamic data sets, and the NDM LOD Analysis Engine with a Java API that supports a suite of functions including:
  • Shortest path
  • Nearest neighbors
  • Within cost
  • Reachable and reaching nodes
  • Hierarchical shortest path
Other NDM enhancements include the following modeling and analysis features:
  • User defined data
  • Duration modeling
  • Sub-network support using SQL-like filters to speed up network loading and analysis
  • Path arithmetic support including path addition, subtraction, intersection and comparison based on connectivity
  • Partial link support on paths (sub-path) and trace out
  • Workspace manager support
  • Routing engine improvements include:
    • Driving directions in different languages
    • Generation of turn-specific geometries
    • Route as a set of edges
    • Works with NAVTEQ and Tele Atlas data
In summary, while many functions are planned in this release, there are no announcements or decisions about whether some functionality will be moved into Locator (which is part of basic Oracle) from Spatial (which is an extra charge add-on). Users are encouraged to lobby Oracle through the User Group regarding this issue.

Published Friday, March 16th, 2007

Written by Joe Francica

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