French National Map Agency Chooses PostGIS

I picked up this tidbit on a PostgreSQL mailing list. The French IGN (Institut Géographique National - their national mapping agency) has chosen PostGIS/PostgreSQL as their spatial database repository for their national spatial datasets.

IGN has over 1800 employees with “a mandate to collect, integrate, manage and distribute reference geographical information for the whole country.” They looked at a number of database solutions, including Oracle and DB2, with the following requirements:

  • The capacity to handle more than 100 million spatial objects.
  • The speed to answer queries quickly given such a large database.
  • Full transactional integrity to ensure data quality during maintenance operations.
After a thorough review of their options, IGN opted to go with PostGIS/PostgreSQL, noting that its performance was comparable to proprietary solutions (i.e. similar to Oracle) and the cost savings were significant. They also noted how much easier testing out PostGIS was versus the other systems, as PostGIS and PostgreSQL are free to download and use.

IGN uses GeoConcept desktop GIS for its editing needs and built some tools for GeoConcept that allow it to import and export data to and from PostGIS. An estimated 130 field researchers were using the system at the end of 2006, which runs on a single database server with a backup server that is synchronized several times a day.

At my work place we’re running ArcSDE and PostGIS/PostgreSQL, with ArcSDE the primary data store in most cases. I have a feeling that arrangement will slowly reverse itself over the next few years.