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Oracle® Spatial User's Guide and Reference
10g Release 1 (10.1)

Part Number B10826-01
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New and Changed Features

This section describes new and changed Oracle Spatial features for the current release.


GeoRaster is a feature of Oracle Spatial that lets you store, index, query, analyze, and deliver georaster data, that is, raster image data and its associated Spatial vector geometry data, plus metadata. GeoRaster provides Oracle Spatial data types and an object-relational schema for storing multidimensional grid layers and digital images that can be referenced to positions on the Earth's surface or a local coordinate system.

Information about GeoRaster is in a separate manual: Oracle Spatial GeoRaster.

Topology and Network Management

The topology and network management capabilities of Oracle Spatial let you work with data about nodes, edges, and faces in a topology, and nodes and edges in a network. For example, United States Census geographic data is provided in terms of nodes, chains (line strings), and polygons (faces). You can store information about the topological elements and feature layers in Oracle Spatial tables and metadata views, and then you can perform certain Spatial operations referencing the topological elements, for example, finding which chains (such as streets) have any spatial interaction with a specific polygon entity (such as a park).

Information about topology and network management is in a separate manual: Oracle Spatial Topology and Network Data Models.

Spatial Analysis and Mining

You can use new spatial analysis and mining subprograms in Oracle Data Mining (ODM) applications. See Chapter 8 for conceptual and usage information, and Chapter 21 for reference information about each subprogram.


The geocoding capabilities of Oracle Spatial let you geocode unformatted addresses. See Chapter 5 for conceptual and usage information, and Chapter 20 for reference information about each subprogram.

Quadtree Indexing Discouraged; R-Tree Indexing Encouraged

The use of spatial quadtree indexes is discouraged. You are strongly encouraged to use R-tree indexing for spatial indexes, unless you need to continue using quadtree indexes for special situations. Significant performance improvements have been made to spatial R-tree indexing for this release.

Almost all information about quadtree indexing has been removed from this guide and placed in a separate guide, Oracle Spatial Quadtree Indexing, which is available only through the Oracle Technology Network.

For information about spatial indexing, see Section 1.7 and Chapter 4.

New Utility Subprograms

The SDO_UTIL package contains the following new subprograms:

See Chapter 19 for reference information about the utility subprograms.

New Operators

SDO_JOIN performs a spatial join based on one or more topological relations. (SDO_JOIN is technically not an operator, but a table function; however, it is presented in the chapter with Spatial operators because its usage is similar to that of the operators, and because it is not part of a package with other functions and procedures.)


See Chapter 12 for reference information about these operators.

SDO_NN Operator Behavior Changes

If you do not specify the param parameter with the SDO_NN operator, the operator returns all rows in increasing distance order from geometry2.

In the param parameter, you can specify sdo_batch_size=0, which causes Spatial to calculate a batch size that is suitable for the result set size; however, there are performance considerations, as explained in the Usage Notes for the SDO_NN operator in Chapter 12. (This feature worked in the previous release, but was not documented.)

New Spatial Aggregate Function

SDO_AGGR_CONCAT_LINES returns a geometry that concatenates the specified line or multiline geometries.

See Chapter 14 for reference information about spatial aggregate functions.

New Coordinate Systems Function: VALIDATE_WKT

The new SDO_CS.VALIDATE_WKT function validates the well-known text (WKT) description associated with a specified SRID.

See Chapter 6 for conceptual and usage information about coordinate systems, and Chapter 15 for reference information about coordinate system transformation subprograms.

MBRs Supported with Geodetic Data

Minimum bounding rectangles (MBRs) can now be geodetic or non-geodetic. In previous releases, MBRs needed to be non-geodetic.

The following functions, which were not supported with geodetic data in the previous release, are now supported for use with geodetic data:

Because geodetic MBRs are easier to use than the previous technique using the SDO_CS.VIEWPORT_TRANSFORM function (described in Chapter 15), that function is deprecated, and it will not be supported in future releases of Spatial.

New and Changed LRS Subprograms

The new SDO_LRS.FIND_OFFSET function returns the signed offset (shortest distance) between a point and a geometric segment.

The SDO_LRS.PROJECT_PT function includes a new optional output parameter offset, which stores the signed offset of the projected point from the geometric segment.

See Chapter 16 for reference information about linear referencing system (LRS) subprograms.

Tolerance with LRS Subprograms

In the current version of this guide, tolerance is shown as a required parameter for many LRS subprograms where it had previously been shown as optional. Applications that used tolerance as an optional parameter in such cases will continue to work in this release; however, such usage is deprecated and will not be supported in future releases. If you use an LRS subprogram format in which tolerance is shown as required, you should specify that parameter.

See also Section 7.6, which contains new information about tolerance values with LRS subprograms.


The new SDO_TUNE.ESTIMATE_RTREE_INDEX_SIZE function, described in Chapter 18, estimates the maximum number of megabytes needed for an R-tree spatial index table.

Deprecated Tuning Subprograms

The following SDO_TUNE subprograms specific to spatial quadtree indexing are deprecated:

Information about these subprograms has been removed from this guide and placed in a separate guide, Oracle Spatial Quadtree Indexing, which is available only through the Oracle Technology Network.

New GML Support Function: TO_GMLGEOMETRY

The new SDO_UTIL.TO_GMLGEOMETRY function, described in Chapter 19, converts a Spatial geometry object to a geography markup language (GML 2.0) fragment based on the geometry types defined in the Open GIS geometry.xsd schema document.

Interior Buffers

You can create a buffer inside a polygon by specifying a negative value for the distance (dist) parameter with the SDO_GEOM.SDO_BUFFER function, which is described in Chapter 13.

Tablespace for Temporary Tables During Index Creation

You can specify the tablespace for temporary tables used in to create a spatial R-tree index by using the new work_tablespace parameter in the CREATE INDEX statement, which is described in Chapter 10.

Separate Index Table for Nonleaf Nodes

You can create a separate index table (with a name in the form MDNT_...$) for nonleaf nodes of a spatial index by specifying 'sdo_non_leaf_tbl=TRUE' in the CREATE INDEX statement, which is described in Chapter 10. Specifying this parameter can help query performance with large data sets, and it can help overall performance for large databases where buffer pool resources are limited.

MDSYS No Longer Needed with Spatial Data Types

Public synonyms have been created for all Spatial data types; therefore, you no longer need to specify MDSYS with the data type. For example, you can declare a geometry object as type SDO_GEOMETRY instead of MDSYS.SDO_GEOMETRY.

However, you still need to specify MDSYS for the Spatial index type (CREATE INDEX ... INDEXTYPE IS MDSYS.SPATIAL_INDEX) and for Spatial tables (such as the MDSYS.SDO_DIST_UNITS table).

DBA_SDO_xxx Views No Longer Provided

The DBA_SDO_GEOM_METADATA, DBA_SDO_INDEX_INFO, and DBA_SDO_INDEX_METADATA views are no longer provided. You can instead use the ALL_SDO_GEOM_METADATA, ALL_SDO_INDEX_INFO, and ALL_SDO_INDEX_METADATA views, respectively. These views are described in Section 2.4 and Section 2.5.1.

SDO_MIGRATE Procedures

The following SDO_MIGRATE package procedures are no longer documented in Chapter 17:

You should use the SDO_MIGRATE.TO_CURRENT procedure if you need to upgrade data to the current Spatial release.

Java Client Interface

Several Java interfaces provide access to many Spatial data types and features. Section 1.11 lists the interfaces, describes the sdoapi interface, and explains how to find detailed reference information in Javadoc-generated API documentation.

Transportable Tablespace Support

Before Oracle Database 10g Release 1 (10.1), the Oracle transportable tablespace feature could not be used with tablespaces that contained any spatial indexes. Effective with Oracle Database 10g Release 1 (10.1), you can transport tablespaces that contain spatial indexes. However, you must call the new SDO_UTIL.PREPARE_FOR_TTS procedure just before you perform the export operation, and you must call it for each user that has data in the specified tablespace; and you must also call the new SDO_UTIL.INITIALIZE_INDEXES_FOR_TTS procedure just after you perform the import operation. Both procedures are described in Chapter 19.

New Schema: MDDATA

The new MDDATA schema is recommended for storing data used by geocoding and routing applications. This is the default schema for Oracle software that accesses geocoding and routing data. The MDDATA schema is described in Section 1.13.

Complex Query Examples

A new appendix (Appendix C) provides examples, with explanations, of queries that are more complex than the examples in the reference chapters in Part II, " Reference Information ". This appendix focuses on operators that are frequently used in Spatial applications, such as SDO_WITHIN_DISTANCE and SDO_NN. This appendix is based on input from Oracle personnel who provide support and training to Spatial users.