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Efficient processing of spatial joins is very important due to their high cost and frequent application in spatial databases and other areas involving multidimensional data. This paper proposes slot index spatial join (SISJ), an algorithm that joins a nonindexed data set with one indexed by an R-tree. We explore two optimization techniques that reduce the space requirements and the computational cost of SISJ and we compare it, analytically and experimentally, with other spatial join methods for two cases: 1) when the nonindexed input is read from disk and 2) when it is an intermediate result of a preceding database operator in a complex query plan. The importance of buffer splitting between consecutive join operators is also demonstrated through a two-join case study and a method that estimates the optimal splitting is proposed. Our evaluation shows that SISJ outperforms alternative methods in most cases and is suitable for limited memory conditions.