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A Spatial DBMS is a database management system that is able to efficiently store, manipulate and query spatial data. Spatial data represent objects in a geometric space, for example points and polygons.
Spatial DBMSs typically provide dedicated data types to store spatial data, and spatial indices to optimize the access to sets of spatial data. Spatial indices allow, for example, to efficiently retrieve points that are within a certain distance of other objects. Furthermore, spatial DBMSs provide features to perform operations on objects or to manipulate objects. Examples are computing distances, merging or intersecting objects, and calculating properties of objects, such as areas of polygons.
Geospatial data are an important subset of spatial data, dealing with data that describe locations on the Earth's surface. Geographic information systems (GIS) are able to work with geospatial data.
Spatio-temporal data are another common variation, where spatial data is combined with time stamps, and thus offering another dimension for data storage and manipulation.
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