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SQL Server 2008 Katmai will Include Spatial Support

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For those who haven't heard already, the news is out that Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Katmai is planned to have Spatial support both Flat Earth - what we commonly think of when we think of projected data and standard spatial reference systems and original OGC SFSQL Standard, as well as Geodetic support primarily to deal with geometries that span the globe. This is expected to ship sometime probably in late 2008. They are a bit late considering PostGIS, Oracle Spatial, DB Spatial Blade and MySQL have already introduced spatial support in their database systems. Better late than never.

I've created this space here - mostly to collect interesting tid-bits on the debates, grumbles, hoorahs, and updates going on about this topic.

I have been a long believer in the power of GIS Spatial Analysis and predict that it will become mainstream and ubiquitous just as the web, relational databases, and browsers have become. I am proof of that since I am not a Geographer or GIS Analyst but a database administrator/Database application programmer and Systems Analyst who got involved in this area out of necessity. I predict in about a year or less, the separation between the GIS community as we know it and the general database programmer, BI, Engineer and Scientist crowd will be fused. The fact that Microsoft is finally introducing spatial in their commodity database will only reinforce that end. The revolution is going into full force.

These will be truly interesting times. Hopefully all factions can learn a lot from each other and no one will get hurt in the cross-fire except for some truly annoying people.

General Commentary on SQL Server 2008 Katmai Spatial

SQL Server Spatial Support: An Introduction This blog entry gives an overview of what shape this support will take. It is written by Isaac K. Kunen one of the program managers of Microsoft SQL Server engine.
Spatial SQL Server Paul Ramsey's, president of Refractions (the PostGIS company), take on what's so exciting about a technology that is over five years old finally being introduced five years late.
SQL Server 2008 'Katmai' to feature Spatial Support One of the original postings about Katmai spatial support. Lots of people have commented on this entry so worth a read.
SQL Server 2008 Goes SpatialDirections Magazine, Worldwide source of Geospatial Technology, May 14th announcement, Podcast on the announcement.
Microsoft BI Conference Keynote: Tedd KummertFastforward to minute 57:44 to see a quick 2 minute tour of Spatial support in Katmai given by Francois Ajenstat, Director SQL Server Marketing.
Directions Magazine: Microsoft Shares Details on SQL Server 2008 Spatial Support This is the May 30th Interview with Ed Katibah, spatial program manager for SQL Server. Here we find out that the June 2007 CTP will still not include spatial support and a snippet of what a spatial SQL statement in SQL Server will look like.
MSDN Forum: SQL server Katmai Spatial Official Microsoft forum for Katmai Spatial questions.

SQL Server 2008 Katmai June 2007 CTP is out

This is the third Community Tech Preview of Katmai.

Unfortunately it appears that this June 2007 CTP version is also lacking Spatial support based on Directions Magazine Interview with Ed Katibah, spatial program manager for SQL Server. So I guess probably a couple CTP versions later, we may see this promised feature. The interview with Ed Katibah is still worth a read to find out more details about the pending spatial enhancements and to see snippets of what sql using this new feature will look like.

Note the sql syntax of the new SQL Server 2008 spatial features takes the object-oriented approach verses the functional approach. So you will be writing

SELECT,, z.zipcode
FROM streets s, zipcodes z
WHERE s.shape.STIntersects(z.shape) = 1 AND

Instead of

SELECT,, z.zipcode
FROM streets s, zipcodes z
WHERE STIntersects(s.shape, z.shape) = 1 AND
STIntersects(z.shape, STPoint(@lat,@lon))=1;

Warning: Major diversion from SQL Server 2008 Spatial topic coming up
I think I prefer the functional way in a system that allows functional overloading for these kind of use cases. When I was a devout Smalltalk programmer, I would have scoffed at anything that wasn't object-oriented and then I grew up a little and noticed situations when object-orientation was a hinderance. Then I became a java programmer and was offended by what I considered to be a misuse of object-orientation in certain cases. For some reason it worked in Smalltalk probably because of its dynamic typing and its proposition that not only were objects the most important thing, but they were the ONLY thing that existed. Because methods, blocks of code and classes themselves were objects and could be manipulated like any other, Smalltalk had an immense expressive power ideal for modeling and doing "think out of the box" like projects. I'm glad to see that Smalltalk is making a comeback.

Back to SQL Server 2008 topic

You can check out the details of SQL Server 2008 CTP 3 and download at SQL Server 2008 CTP

Please note - in order to see the download link for the actual SQL Server 2008 CTP product, you have to register for the CTP program by clicking on the My Participation link on the SQL Server 2008 CTP page. It will ask you to first create a Microsoft passport account if you don't have one already. Registering is free of charge.

SQL Server 2008 July 2007 CTP is finally out with I think 1 hour to spare

This release still doesn't have any spatial support, but at least they have provided us with a nice diagram of what is in there. Take a look.

SQL Server 2008 November 2007 CTP is out and has spatial support

You can download the November CTP 2008 at Microsoft SQL Server 2008 CTP, November 2007.

If you don't want to go thru the hassle of installing SQL Server 2008 CTP or don't want to mess up any of your existing installs, you can use the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Nov 2007 CTP Virtual 2005 VHD version available.

The books online for this CTP is available at SQL Server 2008 Books Online Community Technology Preview (November 2007)

In addition to the long awaited spatial support, the November CTP 2007 for SQL Server 2008 also contains ability to store large BLOBs of data to the NTFS file system and yet still query this portion of the file system as part of the database.

Big Uproar - Is it Lon/Lat or Lat/Lon?

In the news, there are rumbles going on about how Microsoft SQL Katmai violated common GIS convention by outputing WKB and WKT as Lat,Long instead of Long, Lat.

SQL Server 2008 February CTP is out and has spatial support

The Febraruary 2008 Katmai CTP was released on February 19, 2008. This version does not have the LongLat fixes that will make the GIS world happy. This CTP can be downloaded from The full executable is about 1 GIG or more.

For details on what new spatial features appear in this CTP, check out Ed Katibah's blog entry New Spatial Features in the SQL Server 2008 February CTP

Ed Katibah has started blogging

Ed Katibah, the Spatial Program Manager for SQL Server, has started to blog. Check out his blog at

June 11 2008: SQL Server 2008 RC0 is out

SQL Server 2008 RC0 came out on June 11 2008 and contains the long-awaited lat-long swap. SQL Server 2008 RC0 can be downloaded from

For more details on this release candidate, check out Isaac's blog RC0 is Out: Spatial Notes

August 06 2008: SQL Server 2008 RTM - the real thing

SQL Server 2008 has been officially released. Details can be found in the SQ Server 2008 Microsoft Press Article

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