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CQL Parser

Module Maintainer:

Gabriel Roldán


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A module dedicated to fully support the OGC Common Query Language, version 2.0.1, as a query predicate language inside GeoTools.


Axios have developed, for the Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa, Department of Land Planning, an implementation of the OGC Catalog Service for Web 2.0.1 specification, based on GeoAPI medatada interfaces and Geotools implementation.

The CSW specification, in section 6.2.2 defines the complete BNF for a constraint language to use as query predicates in a CSW implementation, named OGC Common Query Language, CQL for short.

As the CSW implementation worked on uses exclusively org.opengis.filter.Filter, it was needed a converter from an input query in CQL format to an equivalent predicate in the form of a Filter object.

Target Audience

By being part of the GeoTools library, this little module would just allow for any client code to easily construct a filter from a more human friendly predicate language.

In particular, the GeoServer community is currently willing to use it to add friendly filtering capabilities in WMS GetMap requests, and I guess it could be used in WFS GetFeature too.

An example usage would be:

Ofcourse the quoted text after CONSTRAINT= should be properly encoded for HTTP


The module is derived from the old org.geotools.filter.ExpressionBuilder parser by Ian Schneider.

The focus was to fully support the 2.0.1 version of the BNF as defined in the CSW spec. This implies, among other improvements:

  • support for nested and prefixed property names (for example, gmd:MD_Metadata.identificationInfo.gmd:MD_DataIdentification.abstract)
  • support for spatial predicates (intersect, touches, etc). Note the BNF oddly suppressed the trailing 's' from these predicates, so TOUCH(ATTR1, POINT(1 2)) instead of TOUCHES(ATTR1, POINT(1 2))
  • temporal predicates (BEFORE, AFTER, DURING, etc)


Unit test coverage

We made a full test coverage. Had to throw away the unit tests of the old ExpressionBuilder since they were testing that the resulting Filter or Expression evaluates to an expected value, which was a wrong way of testing the parser. The correct way is to ensure that the Filter is built as expected. For example:
Old test:

This doesn't asserts the built Filter is a "att is less than 10" Filter.
New way:

There are three unit tests that fail:

  • One due to a FilterExpression for "Property Exists" not implemented. We'll implement that.
  • One due to FilterFactoryFinder not finding the abs() function. I guess that'll be fixed once I sync with geotools trunk.
  • One due to a missimplementation of the Equals spatial operator. Guess it is already fixed in geotools or going to be soon.
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