The open-source community has the vector on mapping data. PostGIS, a project of the Open Geospatial Consortium, hit version 2.0 yesterday. This open-source database based on PostgreSQL hosts spatial and geographical relational data, and allow users and applications to search that data based on geographic criteria as well as on standard relational criteria.

Version 2.0 has been in the works for years now, and this release benefits from a number of changes that have taken place in PostgreSQL itself. Because the latest version of PostgreSQL now runs under Windows, PostGIS 2.0 also now works with Windows, as well as with Linux, Mac OS X and Java (through JDBC).

PostGIS is also flanked by several support projects, such as the Generic Mapping Tools and uDig. GMT allows developers and users to output postscript files of the maps they’ve generated using PostGIS, and uDig allows users to view spatial information in a simple-to-use interface.

In an e-mail to the PostGIS development list, Paul Ramsey, a contributor to the project, announced the 2.0 release: “The PostGIS development team is super excited, can hardly believe that they are actually doing this, aren’t maybe even sure that they are ready to make this kind of commitment, not so young, and not when we have so much more living to do, but PostGIS 2.0.0 is complete and available for download.

“The development process for 2.0 has been very long, but has resulted in a release with a number of exciting new features.”