[GRASS-dev] Some v.out.ogr shortcomings

Markus Neteler neteler at osgeo.org
Wed Sep 2 15:18:45 EDT 2009

On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 2:55 PM, Benjamin
Ducke<benjamin.ducke at oxfordarch.co.uk> wrote:
> Dear all,
> After my recent experiments with v.out.ogr, I noticed a number
> of weaknesses that show particularly when working with data
> stored in a DBMS.
> I would like to put some work into improving it.
> So could I have your comments on the following thoughts,
> please?
> 1. The GRASS primary key "cat" column always gets exported
> (and upon re-import and export, you may get "_cat", ...).
> This does not always seem to be useful and can even be
> significant bloat for very large datasets. How about adding
> a flag to drop (or preserve?) it in the output?

A flag to deactivate it would be nice. Like this the module
keeps common behavior and the flag is an addon.

> 2. There is currently no implemented action for exporting
> "Kernel" type geometries. Should they be exported simply
> as 3D points?

For the time being perhaps yes (no idea if there are any OGC
specs for this or plans in OGR)

> 3. Export in general is _very_ slow (I think this has been
> discussed here before). On my machine v.out.ogr takes almost
> 8 mins to export 32,000 points to an SQLite database file.

I was hit by the same problem today: Placenames of Italy

# in LatLong location:
wget -chttp://download.geonames.org/export/dump/IT.zip
unzip IT.zip IT.txt
v.in.geonames in=IT.txt out=italy_geonames
v.out.ogr italy_geonames dsn=italy_geonames_LL.shp type=point

... this takes forever. But:

> Compare that to ogr2ogr which does the same job (plus importing
> the input data) in 4 seconds!

ogr2ogr italy_geonames_LL.shp

... perhaps 10 seconds for 43000 points.
Since ogr2ogr uses the GRASS plugin to read the data, the problem
must be in the GRASS part of v.out.ogr.

> All that extra time seems to
> be spent in mk_at() which generates the attribute table.
> The DBMS management code look like quite some overhead.
> How about loading all the attribute tables into a simple
> in-mem C structure in one go and dumping them straight into
> each OGR feature definition on export? This would mean that
> the whole attribute table needs to be in memory (but it
> should also be possible to do this in segments) and could
> be controlled via a module flag. Or is that unlikely to
> gain much performance?

No idea but certainly worth trying. How does ogr2ogr deal with

> 4. SQLite happens to be an OGR driver that does not supports
> overwriting existing datasources. Thus,
>  Ogr_ds = OGR_Dr_CreateDataSource(Ogr_driver, dsn_opt->answer,
>           papszDSCO);
> as used by v.in.ogr will always fail.

Worth an OGR bug ticket?

> This means that users
> are confined to exporting data to a new table in a new SQLite
> database only. In fact, SQLite is capable of updating an existing
> database, by adding a new table to it. How about a new flag "-u"
> to open an OGR datasource in "update" mode, using OGR_Dr_Open(?)
> This could also benefit other OGR drivers with similar design
> issues.

Sounds good!


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