What Is Point Data Type in PostgreSQL?


Scott Campbell

Point data type in PostgreSQL is a powerful feature that allows you to store and manipulate geometric data in your database. This data type represents a point in a two-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system. It consists of an x-coordinate and a y-coordinate, which can be used to represent the position of an object or location on a map.

The Point Data Type

The point data type in PostgreSQL is represented by the syntax POINT(x, y), where x and y are the coordinates of the point. These coordinates can be integers or floating-point numbers, depending on the precision required for your application.

For example, let’s say we have a table called locations, which stores various points on a map:

CREATE TABLE locations (
    name VARCHAR(100),
    location POINT

We can insert values into this table using the following syntax:

INSERT INTO locations (name, location)
VALUES ('Point A', POINT(10, 20)),
       ('Point B', POINT(30.5, 40.8)),
       ('Point C', POINT(-15, -7));

Operations on Point Data Type

You can perform various operations on point values to manipulate and retrieve data from your database.

  • Determining Distance:
  • To calculate the distance between two points, you can use the point_distance() function. This function takes two points as arguments and returns the Euclidean distance between them.

      SELECT point_distance(POINT(10, 20), POINT(30, 40));
  • Checking Equality:
  • You can check if two points are equal using the equality operator (=).

    This compares both the x and y coordinates of the points.

      SELECT POINT(10, 20) = POINT(10, 20);
  • Accessing Coordinates:
  • You can access the individual x and y coordinates of a point using the arrow operator (->). This allows you to retrieve specific values from a point.

      SELECT location->x AS x_coordinate, location->y AS y_coordinate
      FROM locations;

Using Point Data Type in Queries

The point data type can be used in various queries to filter and manipulate data based on spatial relationships. For example, you can use it to find all locations within a certain distance from a given point:

FROM locations
WHERE point_distance(location, POINT(0,0)) < 50;

This query will return all locations within a radius of 50 units from the origin (0,0).


The point data type in PostgreSQL is a powerful tool for working with geometric data. It allows you to store and manipulate coordinates efficiently and perform spatial operations on your data. By understanding how to use this data type effectively, you can enhance your database applications with spatial functionality.

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