Assignment 9 – Organizing Spatial Data

Due Date: Apr 20, 2017


  • Please note that this assignment is due on Thu Apr 20 by 11:59pm. Submit it electronically to the Box; you will not be printing out or handing in a paper copy.
  • In this exercise you’ll be referring back to material from Chapter 14 in PostGIS in Action, but most of the assignment is dedicated to exploring what you would like to do for your final project.
  • This exercise is worth 6 points. Each question is worth 1.5 points each.
  • You do not have to use the SQL template for this assignment, as the questions do not involve writing code.


This assignment will review some of the concepts we covered for organizing spatial data, but is primarily designed to get you to start thinking about your final project.

Part I – Spatial Storage Approaches

In this part, refer back to Chapter 14 in PostGIS in Action, section 14.1 on pages 337-346.

1. Write a paragraph in your own words that summarizes the three different methods for storing spatial data in geometry columns. In your explanation, provide some examples of the most important advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

Part II – Final Project Brainstorming

For this part, refer back to the journal articles that I emailed you, and to the description of the final project. You will need to do some background research on what you are thinking about pursuing for your final project. Please allocate sufficient time for doing this: this will be your opportunity to receive feedback from me on your initial ideas.

2. Skim through all of the journal articles I sent you, choose one that interests you, and read it thoroughly. For the article that you chose, in your own words write a paragraph or two that explains what the author’s research question or problem is, and describe how they used a spatial database to answer that question.

3. Write a paragraph or two that describes two or three final project ideas that you are considering pursuing. For each idea, explain what the research question or goal for the different projects would be.

4. For the ideas you have listed above, explore and list some possible data sources that you could use. Be specific: provide names of specific datasets or even variables – don’t just list general websites or repositories. For example: “I could use TIGER Line shapefiles for census tracts and educational attainment data from the latest 5-year American Community Survey from the Census Bureau”. Not: “I would use the census website and some shapefiles”.

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