DynamoDB for Location Data: Geospatial querying on DynamoDB datasets

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Over the past few years, two important trends that have been disrupting the database industry are mobile applications and big data. The explosive growth in mobile devices and mobile apps is generating a huge amount of data, which has fueled the demand for big data services and for high scale databases. Meanwhile, mobile app developers have shown that they care a lot about getting to market quickly, the ability to easily scale their app from 100 users to 1 million users on day 1, and the extreme low latency database performance that is crucial to ensure a great end-user experience. These factors have made DynamoDB a compelling database for mobile developers, who happen to be among the biggest adopters of this technology. For example, Crittercism, a mobile application performance management company, uses DynamoDB to monitor the performance and stability of mobile apps on over 600 million devices with billions of daily transactions.

“We picked DynamoDB because it supports the scale we require" said Robert Kwok, CTO of Crittercism. “Our business is growing rapidly, and DynamoDB allows us to immediately scale up to support sudden increases in our workload. Switching to DynamoDB also reduced our costs by an order of magnitude and eliminated engineering efforts that used to come with growing our database layer.”

Similarly, Earth Networks uses DynamoDB to power its lightning alert system, which gives millions of users real time access to live streaming lightning data, while Dropcam uses DynamoDB to power its cloud based monitoring system which has become one of the biggest video streaming platforms in the world. These innovative developers chose DynamoDB because it allows them to scale seamlessly without compromising on performance or cost.

The blooming mobile industry has made location data ubiquitous and offers mobile developers opportunities to build a whole new breed of novel mobile applications. Many mobile apps have features that help customers find nearby points of interest (e.g. “Find the closest coffee shop”), access location-specific offers, and find friends in your vicinity. Today, we are launching a geospatial indexing library that helps our customers build location-aware features by executing geospatial queries on their datasets in DynamoDB. With this library, you can:

  • Efficiently store points of interest (POIs) and run exploration spatial queries
  • Calculate great circle distances and perform spherical math. For example, “find points of interest near me”.

We put together a sample application that shows the power of the library we are launching today. For more details on this library, which you can find on github, please take a look at Jeff Barr’s blog.