Detecting spikes in geometries using angle threshold

Hi there,

We all know that search for errors in geometries can be quite a journey. One of the errors we need to fix is the presence of spikes in our geometries. One way to determine the location of those spikes is to determine the angles and check if them are smaller than a predefined threshold.

Ok them, one way to tackle this problem is to load your data into a PostGIS layer and use the available ST functions.

In this post I’ll show you guys a SQL query to solve this.

Let’s suppose we have geometries with problems like these here:


To solve this problems we will use the following ST PostGIS functions:

  • ST_Azimuth
  • ST_PointN
  • ST_NPoints
  • ST_Boundary
  • ST_Dump
  • ST_ForceRHR

For more information about these functions check this:

The following query can show us where the problems are located, let’s use a limit of 10 degrees here to determine the spikes:

WITH result AS (SELECT, points.anchor, (degrees
                                ST_Azimuth(points.anchor, points.pt1) - ST_Azimuth(points.anchor, points.pt2)
                            )::decimal + 360) % 360 as angle
                  ST_PointN(geom, generate_series(1, ST_NPoints(geom)-1)) as pt1,
                  ST_PointN(geom, generate_series(1, ST_NPoints(geom)-1) %  (ST_NPoints(geom)-1)+1) as anchor,
                  ST_PointN(geom, generate_series(2, ST_NPoints(geom)) %  (ST_NPoints(geom)-1)+1) as pt2,
         as id
                  (SELECT id as id, ST_Boundary((ST_Dump(ST_ForceRHR(geom))).geom) as geom
                   FROM only my schema.mylayer -- enter your layer name here
                   ) AS linestrings WHERE ST_NPoints(linestrings.geom) > 2 ) as points)
select distinct id, anchor, angle from result where (result.angle % 360) < 10 or result.angle > (360.0 - (10 % 360.0)) -- the 10 here is our threshold

With the results from this query we can locate our spikes using the “anchor” value returned in the query. Something like this:


Very nice right?


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