SQL Server 2008 Spatial

Well day 4 in Las Vegas for Autodesk University.  Took my first weekend off in a long long time =).  Monday was the ADN Developer Day, sadly its all NDA goodness and I really don’t wanna get a call from the Autodesk lawyers =).

This morning I attended the SQL Server 2008 with AutoCAD Map 3D and Autodesk MapGuide (GS100-3) presented by Orest Halustchak (Technical Architect at Autodesk) and Isaac Kunen (Senior Program Manager at Microsoft).   First it was really nice to bring in the brains from Microsoft for a presentation on SQL server.

This class was especially interesting to me, as I have not yet made time to look at SQL server 2008 in great depths.  It looks like Microsoft done a pretty good job at their first spatial offering.  I’m always hesitant to jump in heads first to a first release.  Hey I waited until Mapguide Enterprise 2009 before I even really considered writing any code for it.  If you are new to spatial databases, or you have a more basic need (no need for more advanced Linear Referencing System or network tracing functionality) SQL server might be right for you.  If you already have SQL server experience, the learning curve going to SQL 2008 spatial is going to be a lot less nasty than starting with Oracle Spatial.

The spatial functionality is available all versions of SQL server, except for the compact edition.  Yes, even the free Express version contains the spatial engine.  This is good news.  Often times when Oracle comes up (even the express edition), people get scared.  Oracle has a scary, difficult stigma associated with.  Spatial abilities with SQL server Express could be very helpful in getting a spatial engine into smaller shops.

Microsoft is pretty good with the small details.  One of the cool features of SQL 2008 is the ability to view the spatial data right in SQL Management Studio.  Note this doesn’t seem to be available in the Express edition of Management Studio. 

AutoCAD Map and Mapguide seem to work pretty well with SQL 2008.  I plan to load some larger data sets into SQL 2008 in the coming weeks to see how it performs in comparison to Oracle spatial.

Here is a tip for planning for AU.  Consider budgeting to eat outside of the Autodesk provided buffets.  =)

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