Embracing the Future with MariaDB Geospatial: A Hybrid Approach to Geospatial Data Management


The world of geospatial application development has experienced a significant transformation in recent years. Traditional approaches, such as using Enterprise GIS suites or taking a database-centric approach like PostgreSQL, have given way to more innovative solutions to meet the constantly evolving demands of business and industry. MariaDB Geospatial is a groundbreaking solution that epitomizes this shift – and today, it’s available in MariaDB SkySQL as a tech preview.

Our approach to managing geospatial data combines vector (points, lines, polygons) storage in the database with raster (satellite and drone imagery) storage in cloud objects. It is a developer-first, API-driven solution that embraces open standard interfaces for web mapping and geospatial queries. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why MariaDB Geospatial offers a superior approach for geospatial data management and application development compared to its predecessors.

New Problems Require New Ways of Thinking

We cannot solve today’s problems with yesterday’s technologies. The geospatial landscape is rapidly changing, and new challenges call for innovative solutions. The advent of reusable launch vehicles from SpaceX, and improvements in sensor technologies capable of imaging the earth in unprecedented detail have made torrents of new, high quality data available. Breakthroughs in machine learning and artificial intelligence that can derive insights from raw data compound the volume and complexity.

Traditional database approaches and GIS suites were not designed to handle the complexities and sheer volume of modern geospatial data. In contrast, MariaDB Geospatial adopts a hybrid approach that leverages the combined strengths of relational databases and the cloud to effectively address today’s geospatial challenges.

Cloud-Native Data Needs to Live in the Cloud

Increasingly, large geospatial data comes in cloud-native formats, such as COG (Cloud Optimized GeoTiff), which are specifically designed for efficient storage, retrieval, and processing in the cloud. MariaDB fully leverages these formats, ensuring optimal performance, scalability, and cost-effectiveness for managing big data.

Modern Geospatial Programming is Based Around APIs, Not Databases

Traditional databases often struggle with indexing, storing, and retrieving geospatial data, leading to performance issues and bottlenecks that hinder innovation. MariaDB Geospatial overcomes this limitation by providing a full suite of open APIs defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), ensuring that data can be efficiently accessed, queried, and analyzed.

MariaDB Geospatial embraces the API-centric approach that has become the standard in modern geospatial programming. By leveraging OGC’s open APIs, MariaDB Geospatial allows for seamless integration with other tools and services, enabling users to easily create powerful geospatial applications and workflows.


MariaDB Geospatial represents a significant step forward in the world of geospatial data management. Big data lives in the cloud. The tools that unlock its potential need to live there too, which is why we’re bringing MariaDB geospatial to SkySQL. By adopting a hybrid approach that combines the best of database and cloud object storage technologies, MariaDB Geospatial addresses the limitations of traditional GIS suites and database-only approaches. With its focus on modern APIs and cloud-native formats, MariaDB Geospatial is well-suited to tackle the challenges and opportunities presented by the ever-evolving geospatial landscape.