Once you start investigating SQL Server 2008 spatial features, you quickly discover that there are three problems:
- Loading useful data.
- Writing spatial queries.
- Seeing the results.
It's very easy to experience scope creep while sorting things out. For the absolute novice beginner, it's best to keep things simple. Loading real world datasets is something that can be deferred until a later day. The examples in SQL Server Books Online are simple and demonstrate what can be done. So, to get started, the only missing piece is a tool to let you see the query results visually. Free is a very appealing price point, so I recommend downloading and using Morton Nielsen's free viewer.
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About John Paul Cook
John Paul Cook is a Technology Solution Professional for Microsoft's data platform and works out of Microsoft's Houston office. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a Microsoft SQL Server MVP. He is experienced in Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle database application design, development, and implementation. He has spoken at many conferences including Microsoft TechEd and the SQL PASS Summit. He has worked in oil and gas, financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. John is also a Registered Nurse who graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Master of Science in Nursing Informatics and is an active member of the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society. He volunteers as a nurse at safety net clinics. Contributing author to SQL Server MVP Deep Dives
and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2