MariaDB goes geospatial, developer-first

The (possibly, hopefully) post-pandemic push for corporate connections and platform-level integrations moved in the open source database space this month.

August 2022 saw everybody’s favourite pluggable purpose-built storage engine database company MariaDB Corporation finish its ambitions to acquire Finnish geospatial software company  CubeWerx.

The deal was completed at a ‘we’re not telling’ undisclosed amount and is deigned to (obviously) put geospatial power into the company’s managed cloud service, known as MariaDB SkySQL

In a triple-bingo statement to celebrate this news MariaDB VP & GM for SkySQL Jags Ramnarayan said, “We’re taking a unique [bingo!] developer-centric [bingo!] approach to delivering geospatial capabilities that no other database vendor [bingo!] has taken,” said Jags Ramnarayan, VP and general manager for SkySQL at MariaDB Corporation. 

Ramnarayan thankfully moved on from the showboating hyperbole and provided a more valuable enriched statement to explain that while other databases such as PostgreSQL and Oracle have added geospatial capabilities directly into the database, MariaDB is taking a modern cloud-native approach.

“[That] cloud-native approach [means] managing virtually infinite amounts of geospatial data on low-cost, durable cloud storage and providing Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards-based REST APIs to access the data. We believe this approach will allow MariaDB to leapfrog the database world for geospatial application development,” explained Ramnarayan.

As we all know, geographic data and information is becoming increasingly important and critical to businesses everywhere. New drones, satellites and sensors are contributing to the growing amount of location-based and imagery data available. 

This presents an opportunity for businesses to integrate geospatial data into their applications to offer services and capabilities that they couldn’t previously.

Endless use cases

According to MariaDB, the use cases are endless.

From mapping services for everything from location awareness to route optimisation, to applications that improve forecast accuracy, inventory management and even equity trading. 

Up to 90% of all US government information includes geospatial data – the UK Geospatial Commission has provided similar studies and white papers and can be assumed to run with a figure very similar to our US counterparts.

“MariaDB’s vision for how to deliver geospatial capabilities aligns perfectly with what we’ve built at CubeWerx,” said Edric Keighan, co-founder at CubeWerx and VP for geospatial engineering at MariaDB Corporation. “Our team brings significant experience in geospatial to MariaDB, having worked as the original implementers of Oracle Spatial. We’ll be able to help execute MariaDB’s vision to bring the best geospatial experience to developers and end users, reaching an even broader audience.”

Beyond the public sector, industries such as manufacturing, financial services, gaming, insurance, construction and energy are finding novel uses for geospatial to deliver better services and new offerings. 

Geospatial data and services are also key to tracking climate change, carbon emissions and their impact on global ecosystems.

Geospatial for developers

MariaDB says that geospatial application development has moved from traditional geospatial interfacing with databases to off-the-shelf geospatial library use and web APIs. 

With CubeWerx, MariaDB will provide geospatial the way developers use geospatial through modern, open standard APIs. CubeWerx manages data in tiers for extreme scale and high performance. 

It uses MariaDB to manage frequently used vector data (e.g. a geolocation) and for intelligent caching while relying on unlimited cloud storage for raster data which tends to be voluminous (e.g. satellite imagery). Data volume is no longer a limiting factor with this approach and geospatial data is able to grow to any scale.


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