Friday, March 7, 2008

ArcGIS 9.3 and SQL Server 2008 spatial data

At the end of February Microsoft held a launch event at Los Angeles. At the launch upcoming version of SQL Server 2008 was demonstrated. ESRI was one of the partners present at the launch. Here is ESRI's press release for this event.

One of the big new features for SQL 2008 is introduction of the spatial data types. These are listed as "Top new features" on Micosoft's SQL Server 2008 web site. Spatial data type includes two forms: Geography and Geometry.

From this page here is what these types are:

  • Use the new GEOGRAPHY data type to store geodetic spatial data and perform operations on it.

  • Use the new GEOMETRY data type to store planar spatial data and perform operations on it.

  • The Geography data type is equivalent to Geographic Coordinate Systems in ArcGIS. At this time there isn't much what will be included (supported) but we know for sure that WGS1984 is there.

    Geometry is equivalent to Projected Coordinate systems and we should expect to see most common projections supported in initial release. I don't expect to see New Zealand Map Grid or New Zealand Transverse Mercator there in early days but Microsoft may surprise us.

    In the white paper about spatial data types there is a graphic of the spatial index.


    It is hard to say if this picture is real representation what will be used (multiple levels with coincident tile boundaries and each tile in next level 4x bigger) in SQL Server or this is just a generic example.

    Just few days ago I watched the demo of ArcGIS 9.3 and SQL Server 2008. In this demo you see ArcMap using SQL 2008 spatial data types and how to perform basic retail service area analysis. Unfortunately, this page does not seems to work any more. It is important to say that ESRI was the only company that demonstrated working application utilizing new spatial data types of SQL Server 2008 at the launch event.

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