What Is Geography Data Type in SQL Server?


Heather Bennett

The Geography data type in SQL Server is a powerful tool that allows users to store and manipulate geographic data within a database. This data type was introduced in SQL Server 2008 and has since become an essential component for working with spatial data.

What is the Geography Data Type?

The Geography data type is designed specifically for storing geospatial information, such as points, lines, and polygons. It enables users to perform various spatial operations, including calculations of distances between points, intersection of shapes, and determining areas covered by polygons.

Storing Spatial Data

To store geospatial data in SQL Server, you need to define a column with the Geography data type. For example, if you want to store the coordinates of a specific location, you can create a table with a column of type Geography.

CREATE TABLE Locations (
    Name VARCHAR(50),
    Coordinates GEOGRAPHY

In this example, the “Coordinates” column will hold the spatial information. You can then insert specific values into this column using appropriate functions provided by SQL Server.

Working with Spatial Data

Once you have stored spatial data in SQL Server, you can perform various operations on it. The Geography data type provides numerous built-in functions that allow you to manipulate and analyze the stored geospatial information.

  • Distance Calculations: You can calculate the distance between two points using functions like STDistance(). This allows for easy calculation of distances between cities or locations.
  • Polygon Operations: SQL Server provides functions like STIntersects(), which checks if two polygons intersect each other. This enables tasks such as finding all locations within a specific area.
  • Area Calculations: You can determine the area covered by a polygon using functions like STArea(). This is useful for calculating the size of regions or territories.

These are just a few examples of the capabilities offered by the Geography data type in SQL Server. By leveraging these functions, you can efficiently store and query spatial data within your database.


The Geography data type in SQL Server provides a comprehensive solution for working with geospatial information. It allows users to store and manipulate spatial data, perform calculations on distances and areas, and perform advanced spatial operations.

By incorporating this powerful tool into your database design, you can enhance your applications with location-based functionality.

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