I encountered this today:
Looks like a more widely-used format for spatial indexes on .shp files than Mapnik's own .index. Any plans to support this?
We could look into it (learning and contributing to the gdal implementation: http://erouault.blogspot.com/2012/06/gdalogr-using-shapefile-native-sbn.html).
I'd be curious if natural earth might start distributing sbn files... (/cc @nvkelso)
Yeah that'd be awesome. I'm maintaining a set of Mapnik-ready NE files (e.g. http://cascadenik.teczno.com/data/ne-1.4/900913/ocean_110m.zip) that could definitely grow a set of .sbn’s if I figure out how to generate them reliably.
How do I make SBN files?
I see this newer post:
But that says even the new 2.0dev branch of OGR/GDAL doesn't write them yet.
They aren't automagically made in ArcMap, either. Though they creep
in occasionally. Maybe when geoprocessing toolkits are run?
Is index in SBN files any better than .index *.qix ?
ArcMap creates an SBN for you if you start an editing session on the shapefile's workspace. There's probably a tool for it in ArcToolbox too.
Hasbeen does the indexing but doesn't write SBN files - that job is part of spatialindex.py. I don't know if Joel has pulled the hasbeen code into it yet.
closing - the index format is not documented by Esri