Geographic data is naturally structured like a graph, and topological analyses view GIS data as graphs, but until now no-one has tried to make use of a real graph database as the backing store for a GIS. The developers of Neo4j have added features to the popular open source graph database to provide for support for spatial indexing, storage and topology. In addition to these core components, there are a number of useful utilities for importing and exporting data from other popular data sources, and enabling the use of this database in well known libraries and applications in the open source GIS environment.
We will discuss the advantages of using a graph database for geographic data, the performance and scalability implications, and the opportunities enabled by this approach. In today's highly connected social web, there is an increasing need for graph-based data management. At the same time applications are becoming more and more location aware. The time is right for the first geographic graph database.