What Is Spatial Data Type in SQL Server?


Larry Thompson

The Spatial Data Type in SQL Server allows you to store and manipulate geographic and geometric data within your database. This data type offers powerful capabilities for working with spatial information, such as performing spatial queries, analyzing proximity between objects, and rendering maps.

What is Spatial Data?

Spatial data refers to information that represents the physical location and shape of objects on the Earth’s surface. It includes both geographic data, which describes the location of objects using latitude and longitude coordinates, and geometric data, which represents objects using points, lines, and polygons.

Why Use Spatial Data Type?

The Spatial Data Type in SQL Server provides several advantages over storing spatial data as traditional text or numeric values. By using this specialized data type, you can leverage built-in functions and methods that are specifically designed for working with spatial information. These functions allow you to perform complex calculations, such as measuring distances between points or determining whether two polygons intersect.

Storing Spatial Data

To store spatial data in a SQL Server database, you need to define a column with a specific data type. The two main types of spatial columns are:

  • Geometry: This type is used for representing planar (flat) geometric shapes such as points, lines, and polygons.
  • Geography: This type is used for representing spherical (round) shapes on the Earth’s surface, taking into account the curvature of the planet.

You can create a table with a spatial column by specifying the relevant data type when defining the column. For example:

    CityName NVARCHAR(100),
    Location GEOMETRY

Performing Spatial Queries

Once you have spatial data stored in your database, you can use SQL Server’s spatial functions and methods to query and analyze the data. These functions allow you to perform operations such as:

  • Buffering: Creating a zone around a spatial object within a specified radius.
  • Intersecting: Determining whether two spatial objects intersect.
  • Calculating distances: Measuring the distance between two points or along a path.

To perform spatial queries, you can use the SELECT statement along with the appropriate spatial functions. For example, to find all cities within a certain distance from a given point, you can use the STDistance function:

FROM Cities
WHERE Location.STDistance(@MyPoint) <= @Distance;

In Conclusion

The Spatial Data Type in SQL Server provides a powerful way to store and manipulate geographic and geometric data within your database. By leveraging this specialized data type, you can perform complex spatial operations and gain valuable insights from your spatial information. Whether you’re building applications that require mapping functionalities or conducting analysis on geographical data, SQL Server’s Spatial Data Type is an essential tool in your arsenal.

In this article, we’ve explored what spatial data is, why it is important to use the Spatial Data Type in SQL Server, how to store spatial data in tables, and how to perform spatial queries using built-in functions. By incorporating these elements such as bold text () for emphasis, underlined text () for key points, lists (


  • ) for organizing information, and subheaders (


    ) for structuring the content, we aimed to make this article visually engaging and easy to read.

    Discord Server - Web Server - Private Server - DNS Server - Object-Oriented Programming - Scripting - Data Types - Data Structures

    Privacy Policy