On spatio-temporal blockchain query processing

Qiang Qu, Ildar Nurgaliev, Muhammad Muzammal, Christian S. Jensen, Jianping Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advances in blockchain technology suggest that the technology has potential for use in applications in a variety of new domains including spatio-temporal data management. The reliability and immutability of blockchains combined with the support for decentralized, trustless data processing offer new opportunities for applications in such domains. However, current blockchain proposals do not support spatio-temporal data processing, and the block-based sequential access in blockchain hinders efficient query processing. We propose spatio-temporal blockchain technology that supports fast query processing. More specifically, we propose blockchain technology that records time and location attributes for the transactions, maintains data integrity, and supports fast spatial queries by the introduction of a cryptographically signed tree data structure, the Merkle Block Space Index (BSI), which is a modification of the Merkle KD-tree. We consider Bitcoin-like near-uniform block generation, and we process temporal queries by means of a block-DAG data structure, called Temporal Graph Search (TGS), without the need for temporal indexes. To enable the experiments, we propose a random graph model to generate a block-DAG topology for an abstract peer-to-peer network. We perform a comprehensive evaluation to offer insight into the applicability and effectiveness of the proposed technology. The evaluation indicates that TGS-BSI is a promising solution for efficient spatio-temporal query processing on blockchains.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFuture Generation Computer Systems
Pages (from-to)208-218
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


  • Blockchains
  • Spatio-temporal data
  • Authenticated data-structure
  • Block-DAG

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