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Issue Date: December 2004

Bringing benefits to the spatial data storage sector

1 December 2004
Wim Hugo, systems engineering consultant, Relogix

Relogix is a spatial information technology company specialising in standards-based software applications. In June 2003 the company formed a partnership with post-relational database provider InterSystems. After discovering how well Caché handled spatial data, most of the original technology has been redeveloped to provide spatial extensions for InterSystems' flagship database, Caché.
Just over a year later, Relogix has two principal technology streams: the original gecko! solution - targeted mainly at smaller applications and non-enterprise mapping requirements - and the extensions developed for Caché
The agreement has enabled Caché applications partners to expand into the spatial data storage sector by extending geographical information system (GIS) functionality to existing applications. It has also allowed Relogix to increase its exposure in markets where InterSystems application partners are already strongly represented in healthcare, finance, telecommunications and retail.
Caché is well suited to the spatial information sector. This type of work involves the consumption of vast quantities of data, and significant amounts of disk storage space are required as a result.
Caché can handle these sorts of volumes and also support the capacious data repositories that populate the sector. In addition, its unique realtime transactional-bitmap indexing capability enables us to obtain rapid access to data. And, because Caché is scalable, it supports a seamless migration path for developers and users alike.
In addition, Caché is extremely open - it is not tied into any particular development language, paradigm or platform. So, developers have flexibility. The database offers three separate ways to access spatial data: first, through Relogix's in-house developed interface, second via a SQL interface and finally through an object-oriented interface.
Caché's object access makes itself available through virtually all the common development platforms including C++, VisualBasic, Java and .NET. As a result, any developer who understands the underlying object structure of geographical data can develop their own bespoke applications to integrate with these systems in a direct, object-oriented fashion.
Open and flexible
Caché provides a rapid application development environment, which allows business classes and applications that will interface with those classes to be generated quickly. InterSystems has also built its own Web development environment, known as Caché Server Pages, into the database.
Developers are never forced to use the company's environment. While they can do all their development within Caché, if they prefer, they can define for themselves a base set of classes using one of the popular modelling tools available today, project those classes into Caché, and then reposition them out into their favourite development environment.
Additional interface layers are provided to enable developers to work with the relevant data in a 32-bit based programming environment: ASP, VBScript or JavaScript scripting environment.
There are two key features of the Caché-based extensions. First, a set of data tables has been developed based on OpenGIS Consortium (OGC) specifications which allows users to store spatial data in Caché. Second, this enables third-party applications that comply with that specification to work with the data. Relogix's implementation also adds metadata that allows users to organise the spatial data, prepare views of it and define maps, for example.
Developers are now in a position to extend this metadata so they can write additional class definitions which incorporate the original metadata classes and organise the data in a way which suits them better. This provides the starting point for the management of a large spatial data repository in Caché.
It is clear that GIS functionality has an increasing pervasive role to play in modern applications. Examples of how to use GIS functionality can be found at
For more information contact Anton Barnard, Relogix South Africa, 083 326 7288, or Christine Bergstedt, InterSystems, 011 324 1800,

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