Extra geography simplification in BigQuery

  • it smoothes the edges of each shape using Douglas-Peucker algorithm, creating simpler edges with error up to the given tolerance
  • it drops any resulting shapes smaller than tolerance in diameter
  • First, we need to split geometry into parts, we’ll use ST_Dump for that.
  • Diameter is the max distance between two points of a shape, so we can use ST_MaxDistance(g, g) function, passing same object as first and second argument.
  • A tiny optimization: since all points (0-dimension objects) have zero diameter, we can simply drop all of them, without even calling this function.
  • Finally, we need to merge all the remaining parts together, using ST_Union_Agg.
tolerance FLOAT64) AS
WITH parts AS (
-- split into parts
SELECT ST_Dump(geo) g
filtered AS (
-- select large enough parts
SELECT g2 FROM parts p, UNNEST(p.g) g2
WHERE ST_Dimension(g2) > 0
AND ST_MaxDistance(g2, g2) > tolerance
-- merge them together
SELECT ST_Union_Agg(g2)
FROM filtered



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Michael Entin

Michael Entin


Hi, I'm TL of BigQuery Geospatial project. Posting small recipes and various notes for BQ Geospatial users.