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The term BLOB is used in the computer world to describe a data entity that is not of a standard primitive data type (e.g., number, date, time, character string), particularly when applied to field definitions in a relational database. Database suppliers have rationalized the term as an acronym for “Basic Large OBject” or, more commonly, “Binary Large OBject.” In geographic information systems, BLOB database fields are often used to store important data, such as coordinates, terrain elevation or slope matrices, or images.

The original relational databases were designed in the early 1970s for commercial and accounting data, using standard data types to handle entities such as counts (integers), money (fixed-point numbers), dates, and text, all of which were fixed-length fields. The contents of a field could ...

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