Database mappings

With Elasticsearch, it is possible to define mappings for collections. These mappings allow you to configure the way Elasticsearch will handle these collections.

There are 3 root fields for mapping configuration:

  • properties: collection types definition
  • dynamic: dynamic mapping policy against new fields
  • _meta: collection metadata

The following API methods can be used to modify these mappings:

Properties types definition

The field type definitions that will be inserted in a collection allow Elasticsearch to index your data for future searches.

Especially when searching on fields with special types such as date or geo_shape.

Once a type has been defined for a field, it is not possible to modify it later.

Refer to the Elasticsearch documentation for an exhaustive list of available types:


If I want the following document to be correctly indexed:

  "category": "limousine",
  "distance": 120990,
  "position": {
    "lat": 27.730400,
    "lon": 85.328467
  "driver": {
    "name": "liia mhe ry"

The following mapping must first be defined:

  "properties": {
    "category": { "type": "keyword" },
    "distance": { "type": "integer" },
    "position": { "type": "geo_point" },
    "driver": {
      "properties": {
        "name": { "type": "keyword" }

This mapping is then passed in the body to the methods collection:create or collection:updateMapping.

# First create a collection yellow-taxi in the nyc-open-data index
curl -X PUT -d '{"properties":{"category":{"type":"keyword"},"distance":{"type":"integer"},"position":{"type":"geo_point"},"driver":{"properties":{"name":{"type":"keyword"}}}}}' -H "Content-Type: application/json" "http://localhost:7512/nyc-open-data/yellow-taxi?pretty"

# Then create the desired document
curl -X POST -d '{"category":"limousine","distance":120990,"position":{"lat":27.7304,"lon":85.328467},"driver":{"name":"liia meh ry"}}' -H "Content-Type: application/json" "http://localhost:7512/nyc-open-data/yellow-taxi/_create?pretty"
Because of the way Elasticsearch manages collections, mappings are shared between indexes.
This means that if I have an index nyc-open-data, two collections yellow-taxi and green-taxi and a field name with type keyword in the collection yellow-taxi, then I can't have a field name with a different type in the collection green-taxi.

Dynamic mapping policy

For each collection, you can set the policy against new fields that are not referenced in the collection mapping by modifying the dynamic root field.

The value of this configuration will change the way Elasticsearch manages the creation of new fields that are not declared in the collection mapping.

  • "true": Stores the document and updates the collection mapping with the inferred type
  • "false": Stores the document and does not update the collection mapping (fields are not indexed)
  • "strict": Rejects the document

Refer to Elasticsearch documentation for more informations:

The default policy for new collections is "true" and is configurable in the kuzzlerc file under the key services.db.dynamic.

We advise not to let Elasticsearch dynamically infer the type of new fields in production.
This can be a problem because then the mapping cannot be modified.

It is also possible to specify a different dynamic mapping policy for nested fields. This can be useful in imposing a strict policy on the collection while allowing the introduction of new fields in a specific location.


If you want a strict dynamic policy for your entire collection, you have to define it in root level but you can have a different policy for nested types:

  "dynamic": "strict"
  "properties": {
    "driver": {
      "dynamic": "false"
      "properties": // allow insertion of new fields in the driver nested field

# Define a strict dynamic policy for the yellow-taxi collection
curl -X PUT -d '{ "dynamic": "strict" }' -H "Content-Type: application/json"  "http://localhost:7512/nyc-open-data/yellow-taxi?pretty"

# Try to create a document with a field that is not referenced in the mapping curl -X POST -d '{"language":"nepali"}' -H "Content-Type: application/json" "http://localhost:7512/nyc-open-data/yellow-taxi/_create?pretty"

# You should see an error with the following message: # "mapping set to strict, dynamic introduction of [language] within [yellow-taxi] is not allowed"

Collection metadata

Elasticsearch allows the definition of metadata that is stored next to the collections in the root field _meta.
These metadata are ignored by Elasticsearch, they can contain any type of information specific to your application.

Unlike the properties types definition, new collection metadata are not merged with the old one.
If you set the _meta field in your request, the old value will be overwritten.

Refer to Elasticsearch documentation for more informations:

These metadata can be retrieved with the collection:getMapping API method.


  "_meta": {
    "area": "Panipokhari"

# Add collection metadata
curl -X PUT -d '{ "_meta": { "area": "Panipokhari" } }' -H "Content-Type: application/json"  "http://localhost:7512/nyc-open-data/yellow-taxi/_mapping?pretty"

# Retrieve it curl -X GET -H "Content-Type: application/json" "http://localhost:7512/nyc-open-data/yellow-taxi/_mapping?pretty"

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