SQL Server 2008 To Offer Spatial Data Type Support
sQL Server 2008 offers new support for spatial data types that some analysts say should deliver a real boost to geospatial applications and data sharing.
Microsoft's soon-to-be-released SQL Server 2008 offers new support for spatial
data types that some analysts say should deliver a real boost to geospatial
applications and data sharing.
Expected to ship in the third quarter, the new version of SQL Server will allow
storage of spatial data -- in the form of points, lines and polygons --
in SQL tables. The software will also offer a set of functions to allow the
manipulation of this data and new spatial indexes to support the execution of
The move is especially important, according to John Baleja, senior product
manager at mapping software provider ESRI,
because about half the company's customer base now uses SQL Server. ESRI is
the dominant vendor of geospatial software in the federal sector.
"I would say that the request for SQL access to the spatial types is probably
over the last two years the No. 1 request that we received here at ESRI for
new functionality," Baleja said. "We've been in discussions with Microsoft for
quite a few years about adding a spatial type, so we are really excited to see
this coming out in SQL Server 2008."
Since 1996, ESRI customers who wanted to use SQL Server as a data repository
had to use an ESRI Web service add-on to manage the data. The biggest advantages
to having native SQL support for spatial data, Baleja said, will be easier integration
with other applications, more security and possibly better performance.
"Going through SQL Server, you can take advantage of a transaction management
and security features that are built into SQL Server," Baleja said.
Patrick Marshall is the technology editor of Government Computer News (GCN.com).