The PostGIS documentation is the best source for walking through all the steps of setting up PostGIS. This section provides a very brief run-through of steps. Depending on your skill and understanding of PostgreSQL and SQL scripts, these instructions may or may not be enough. If not, please refer to the main PostGIS documentation at http://postgis.refractions.net/docs.
Depending on the method you have used to get the PostgreSQL database set up and PostGIS installed, there will be different steps required to get started. Some installation packages include all the steps required to jump right into using PostGIS. Others don't, which means you still need to set up the final stages of PostGIS functionality. If you compile PostGIS from source code, you will always have the following steps to walk through. In a nutshell, these steps involve:
Getting PostgreSQL up and running
Enabling pl/pgsql language support
Loading the postgis.sql (or lwpostgis.sql) script
Loading the spatial_ref_sys.sql script
Creating a database
Other steps involving loading and accessing data are covered in later sections.
You must have a PostgreSQL database service running before setting up PostGIS. PostgreSQL runs in a similar fashion to other enterprise database services (MySQL, Oracle, DB2, SQL Server). It waits for requests to come from a client program and then responds by interacting with databases on the server that the service is running on.
To test that ...