1.6 Query Model

Spatial and Graph uses a two-tier query model to resolve spatial queries and spatial joins. The term is used to indicate that two distinct operations are performed to resolve queries. The output of the two combined operations yields the exact result set.

The two operations are referred to as primary and secondary filter operations.

  • The primary filter permits fast selection of candidate records to pass along to the secondary filter. The primary filter compares geometry approximations to reduce computation complexity and is considered a lower-cost filter. Because the primary filter compares geometric approximations, it returns a superset of the exact result set.

  • The secondary filter applies exact computations to geometries that result from the primary filter. The secondary filter yields an accurate answer to a spatial query. The secondary filter operation is computationally expensive, but it is only applied to the primary filter results, not the entire data set.

Figure 1-2 illustrates the relationship between the primary and secondary filters.

As shown in Figure 1-2, the primary filter operation on a large input data set produces a smaller candidate set, which contains at least the exact result set and may contain more records. The secondary filter operation on the smaller candidate set produces the exact result set.

Spatial and Graph uses a spatial index to implement the primary filter. Spatial and Graph does not require the use of both the primary and secondary filters. In some cases, just using the primary filter is sufficient. For example, a zoom feature in a mapping application queries for data that has any interaction with a rectangle representing visible boundaries. The primary filter very quickly returns a superset of the query. The mapping application can then apply clipping routines to display the target area.

The purpose of the primary filter is to quickly create a subset of the data and reduce the processing burden on the secondary filter. The primary filter, therefore, should be as efficient (that is, selective yet fast) as possible. This is determined by the characteristics of the spatial index on the data.

For more information about querying spatial data, see Querying Spatial Data.