[OSM-dev] spatial index - B-Tree over z-order curves vs R-Tree over GIST

pablo platt pablo.platt at gmail.com
Thu Apr 9 00:12:08 BST 2009


I posted this question in the forum but I think that the list is more

PostGIS uses R-Tree index over GIST.
I'm trying to understand if it is possible to use couchDB for storing and
indexing the osm data.
couchdb is a schema less db for storing documents. Each document store data
encoded as JSON.
It uses B-Tree index so the only way I know to enable spatial index is to
use space-filling-curves (z-order, morton codes)
to translate a lat,lng to a number and then index all the numbers using a

My question is why PostGIS choose to use R-Tree over GIST. Using z-order
with B-Tree seem simpler and supported out of the box
by most databases. Is there a significant performance difference or other
issues against using z-order?


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