Real-time spatial queries for moving objects using storm topology

Feng Zhang, Ye Zheng, Dengping Xu, Zhenhong Du, Yingzhi Wang, Renyi Liu, Xinyue Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


With the rapid development of mobile data acquisition technology, the volume of available spatial data is growing at an increasingly fast pace. The real-time processing of big spatial data has become a research frontier in the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). To cope with these highly dynamic data, we aim to reduce the time complexity of data updating by modifying the traditional spatial index. However, existing algorithms and data structures are based on single work nodes, which are incapable of handling the required high numbers and update rates of moving objects. In this paper, we present a distributed spatial index based on Apache Storm, an open-source distributed real-time computation system. Using this approach, we compare the range and K-nearest neighbor (KNN) query efficiency of four spatial indexes on a single dataset and introduce a method of performing spatial joins between two moving datasets. In particular, we build a secondary distributed index for spatial join queries based on the grid-partition index. Finally, a series of experiments are presented to explore the factors that affect the performance of the distributed index and to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed distributed index based on Storm. As a real-world application, this approach has been integrated into an information system that provides real-time traffic decision support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number178
JournalISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • Apache Storm
  • Moving objects
  • Real time
  • Spatial query


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