# Multi-dimensional indexes

Multi-dimensional indexes allow you to index two- or higher dimensional data such as time ranges, for efficient intersection of multiple range queries

The multi-dimensional index type is called ZKD.

`zkd` indexes are an experimental feature.

A multi-dimensional index is setup by setting the index type to `"zkd"`. The `fields` attribute describes which fields are used as dimensions. The value of each dimension has to be a numeric (double) value.

## Querying documents within a 3D box

Assume we have documents in a collection `points` of the form

``````{"x": 12.9, "y": -284.0, "z": 0.02}
``````

and we want to query all documents that are contained within a box defined by `[x0, x1] * [y0, y1] * [z0, z1]`.

To do so one creates a multi-dimensional index on the attributes `x`, `y` and `z`, e.g. in arangosh:

``````db.collection.ensureIndex({
type: "zkd",
fields: ["x", "y", "z"],
fieldValueTypes: "double"
});
``````

Unlike for other indexes the order of the fields does not matter.

`fieldValueTypes` is required and the only allowed value is `"double"`. Future extensions of the index will allow other types.

Now we can use the index in a query:

``````FOR p IN points
FILTER x0 <= p.x && p.x <= x1
FILTER y0 <= p.y && p.y <= y1
FILTER z0 <= p.z && p.z <= z1
RETURN p
``````

## Possible range queries

Having an index on a set of fields does not require you to specify a full range for every field. For each field you can decide if you want to bound it from both sides, from one side only (i.e. only an upper or lower bound) or not bound it at all.

Furthermore you can use any comparison operator. The index supports `<=` and `>=` naturally, `==` will be translated to the bound `[c, c]`. Strict comparison is translated to their non-strict counterparts and a post-filter is inserted.

``````FOR p IN points
FILTER 2 <= p.x && p.x < 9
FILTER y0 >= 80
FILTER p.z == 4
RETURN p
``````

## Example Use Case

If you build a calendar using ArangoDB you could create a collection for each user that contains the appointments. The documents would roughly look as follows:

``````{
"from": 345365,
"to": 678934,
"what": "Dentist",
}
``````

`from`/`to` are the timestamps when an appointment starts/ends. Having an multi-dimensional index on the fields `["from", "to"]` allows you to query for all appointments within a given time range efficiently.

### Finding all appointments within a time range

Given a time range `[f, t]` we want to find all appointments `[from, to]` that are completely contained in `[f, t]`. Those appointments clearly satisfy the condition

``````f <= from and to <= t
``````

Thus our query would be:

``````FOR app IN appointments
FILTER f <= app.from
FILTER app.to <= t
RETURN app
``````

### Finding all appointments that intersect a time range

Given a time range `[f, t]` we want to find all appointments `[from, to]` that intersect `[f, t]`. Two intervals `[f, t]` and `[from, to]` intersect if and only if

``````f <= to and from <= t
``````

Thus our query would be:

``````FOR app IN appointments
FILTER f <= app.to
FILTER app.from <= t
RETURN app
``````

Introduced in: v3.10.0

Using the lookahead index hint can increase the performance for certain use cases. Specifying a lookahead value greater than zero makes the index fetch more documents that are no longer in the search box, before seeking to the next lookup position. Because the seek operation is computationally expensive, probing more documents before seeking may reduce the number of seeks, if matching documents are found. Please keep in mind that it might also affect performance negatively if documents are fetched unnecessarily.

You can specify the `lookahead` value using the `OPTIONS` keyword:

``````FOR app IN appointments OPTIONS { lookahead: 32 }
FILTER @to <= app.to
FILTER app.from <= @from
RETURN app
``````

## Limitations

Currently there are a few limitations:

• Using array expansions for attributes is not possible (e.g. `array[*].attr`)
• The `sparse` property is not supported.
• You can only index numeric values that are representable as IEEE-754 double.
• A high number of dimensions (more than 5) can impact the performance considerably.
• The performance can vary depending on the dataset. Densely packed points can lead to a high number of seeks. This behavior is typical for indexing using space filling curves.