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Spatial is not Special: Managing Tracking Data in a Spatial Database

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A wildlife tracking data management system must include the capability to explicitly deal with the spatial properties of movement data. GPS tracking data are sets of spatiotemporal objects (locations), and the spatial component must be properly managed. You will now extend the database built in Chaps. 2, 3 and 4, adding spatial functionalities through the PostgreSQL spatial extension called PostGIS. PostGIS introduces spatial data types (both vector and raster) and a large set of SQL spatial functions and tools, including spatial indexes. This possibility essentially allows you to build a GIS using the capabilities of relational databases. In this chapter, you will start to familiarise yourself with spatial SQL and implement a system that automatically transforms the GPS coordinates generated by GPS sensors from a pair of numbers into spatial objects.


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    There are also many online resources where you can find useful introductions to get started (and become proficient) with PostGIS. Here are some suggestions:


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    For the list of functions that support the geography data type see

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    This process might vary according to the Windows version.


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  • Obe OR, Hsu LS (2011) PostGIS in action. Manning Publications Company, Greenwich

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Correspondence to Ferdinando Urbano .

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Urbano, F., Basille, M. (2014). Spatial is not Special: Managing Tracking Data in a Spatial Database. In: Urbano, F., Cagnacci, F. (eds) Spatial Database for GPS Wildlife Tracking Data. Springer, Cham.

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