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Application Architecture and Custom Development Services for Actian

Actian is the maker of the open-source database platform, Ingres. Actian added spatial extensions to the Ingres Database, but did not have a data editing platform that could read and write spatial data. Spatial DNA extended the Esri ArcGIS platform to support read-write to the Ingres Database.


Several Ingres users are also large users of GIS, including open source and Esri ArcGIS users. Actian provided a limited-release spatial data engine to a select community. This release was later integrated into the base code that is open source and available to the broader Ingres community. For users of Esri ArcGIS, however, there was no connectivity available for the spatial data management capabilities available in Ingres.

DM Solutions of Ottawa, Canada selected Spatial DNA to work with them in the development of desktop and server access to the Ingres database through an ArcGIS extension.

The biggest challenge for the team was to extend Esri’s geodatabase object model to work with Ingres, and to behave in the same way as other database vendors from the perspective of ArcGIS Desktop or Server users. Other than connecting to the database, users should not have to use different tools for standard spatial data management operations, including select, insert, update, delete, as well as support for long transactions through versions.


Spatial DNA developed the application architecture for in ArcObjects by extending the geodatabase objects to read and write to the Ingres Database. This required the creation of class extensions to standard Esri classes for query and display of spatial data (select operation), and query, display, edit, delete, and update within an edit session (edit operation).

Spatial DNA extended Esri classes within ArcCatalog to enable the connection to the Ingres Database, visualization within the user interface, and the creation, renaming, and deletion of Ingres Database tables.


Esri’s ArcGIS environment is split into three major components: ArcCatalog for data management, ArcMap for spatial editing, analysis, and visualization, and Server for publishing web map services.

ArcCatalog users were able to manage Ingres database connections and add or delete tables, to create and edit metadata, visualize tabular data, and visualize the geometry for tables containing spatial attributes. They were also able to publish map documents containing Ingres feature layers and feature classes to ArcGIS Server for publishing as a web map service.

ArcMap users were able to perform all standard visualization, layer management, cartographic symbolization, tabular and relational query capabilities. In edit mode, users were able to visualize and edit geometries and attributes, and support multi-user editing through transactions and geodatabase versions.

Spatial DNA provided the application architecture, and delivered the working code-base that was integrated as part of the latest Ingres database release supporting the Ingres spatial capabilities to Actian’s largest clients.