Spatial SQL for the Geographer – Introduction

During WhereCamp Boston one of the impromptu break-out sessions was on spatial SQL. In WhereCamp fashion the person who proposed the session was looking to learn more about spatial SQL and its many uses.  With about 20 people in the session I volunteered to give a few examples of spatial SQL within Microsoft SQL Server.  Now, I was not prepared to give an in-depth or very informative session.  In fact, it was probably the worst presentation I have ever given.  I went through a number of examples of of some basic principals and I said I would put together a “Hello World” example of spatial SQL sometime after the meeting.

But, to complete a “Hello World” example we need to develop some background first.  In order to develop the guide I will be putting it together from the ground-up.  I use Microsoft SQL Server everyday, but I am GIS professional first, and many of the readers of this site are also GIS professionals.  Therefore, I will write the how-to from this point of view.  If you are a database professional this guide might be a little boring, but if you are a GIS professional I hope you’ll get something out of it.

The guide will be broken into three additional posts.  The first will be cover some background and vocab.  Part two will discuss basic spatial SQL syntax, and the third part will walk through how to expand basic scripts into larger sql processes. Once the guides have been finished I will provide links below.

Part 1Welcome to Spatial SQL – 11/14/2011

Part 2Basic Spatial SQL Scripts – 11/21/2011

Part 3 – More Basic SQL Scripts – 1/2012

Part 4 – Working Spatial SQL into Larger Processes – 2/2012

*Update – 12/4/2011- with the holidays and other commitments I am going to push back the last two installments!

This guide is being developed for use with Microsoft SQL Server.  That’s the DBMS that I use on a daily basis.

Before I release these posts feel free to browse some resources on spatial SQL and Microsoft SQL Server:

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