The addition of spatial capabilities was one of the most exciting new features introduced in SQL Server 2008. Although generally a novel concept for many SQL developers, the principles of working with spatial data have been well established for many years. Dedicated geographic information systems (GISs), such as ARC/INFO from ESRI, have existed since the 1970s. However, until recently, spatial data analysis has been regarded as a distinct, niche subject area, and knowledge and usage of spatial data has remained largely confined within its own realm rather than being integrated with mainstream development.
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