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A spatial database is a database that is enhanced to store and access spatial data or data that defines a geometric space. These data are often associated with geographic locations and features, or constructed features like cities. Data on spatial databases are stored as coordinates, points, lines, polygons and topology. Some spatial databases handle more complex data like three-dimensional objects, topological coverage and linear networks.
Common database systems use indexes for a faster and more efficient search and access of data. This index, however, is not fit for spatial queries. Instead, spatial databases use something like a unique index called a spatial index to speed up database performance. Spatial indexing is very much required because a system should be able to retrieve data from a large collection of objects without really searching the whole bunch. It should also support relationships between connecting objects from different classes in a better manner than just filtering.
Aside from the indexes, spatial databases also offer spatial data types in their data model and query language. These databases require special kinds of data types to provide a fundamental abstraction and model the structure of the geometric objects with their corresponding relationships and operations in the spatial environment. Without these kind of data types, the system would not be able to support the kind of modeling a spatial database offers.