I know there are similar questions on here that have been answered but unfortunately none of them work for me. I am hacking my way through creating a page which will display multiple locations on a map. I am using HTML 5 mapping plus Google maps. I have converted the addresses I have, into long/lat and they are stored in a CSV file along with other attributes.

I have tried storing as point, character varying and number as well as trying to create my own definition but have had no success. The table already exists and I just need to add these additional columns. I would rather not use PostGIS since that feels like adding in an additional level of complexity which I could well do without.

So what do you suggest?

  • 3
    I would say if you are doing a lot of GIS processing then adding PostGIS will actually remove some complexity. But even if you only use the PostGIS data types, I don't see how that adds "additional complexity". You install it once and then you are done. Btw: what exactly was the problem when using the point data type?
    – user1822
    Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 12:30

2 Answers 2


The simplest solution without PostGIS would be to store lat/long as two number columns.
numeric for exact precision.
double precision or even just real if you don't need the precision.

I see no reason why the data type point shouldn't work as well. Per documentation:

Points are the fundamental two-dimensional building block for geometric types. Values of type point are specified using either of the following syntaxes:

( x , y )
  x , y

where x and y are the respective coordinates, as floating-point numbers.



I would rather not use PostGIS since that feels like adding in an additional level of complexity which I could well do without.

That's pretty silly. Firstly, latitude, and longitude without an SRS ID say nothing of where those points are. Are they project or unprojected? Where is POINT( 0 0 )? Are you addressing from East or West as negative?

Just use PostGIS. It's not complex. It does more of your problem so you don't have to.

CREATE TABLE foo ( geog geography(POINT, 4326) );
INSERT INTO foo (geog) ( ST_MakePoint(0,0) );

Comparison with geometric point

Even in the simple case,

  • a point in PostGIS can be exported to GeoJSON ST_AsGeoJSON, or a slew of export formats
  • can be aggregated into a GEOMETRYCOLLECTION
  • can be aggregated into a line that connects all points.
  • can be aggregated into a polygon (ST_ConvexHull)
  • can have the distance calculated between points using ST_Distance
  • can be reprojected to other reference systems
  • can be be indexed
    • is subject to KNN queries on index (find nearest point) with <=>
    • find all points-of-interest within X-range ST_DWithin

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