As I start exploring the latest version of SQL Server, one of the major head turners in SQL Server 2008 is the ability to store Spatial Data.
Spatial Data enables us to store and retrieve location based information in the SQL database. An example of that would be to show a user pizza joints in a 5 KM radius from his address. If you have downloaded the SQL Server 2008 training kit, you will find samples and demo of how to use spatial Data. There is also a presentation on Spatial data in the kit.
Spatial Data in SQL Server is based on the standards defined by the Open geospatial Consortium and supports two key data types; Geography and Geometry. Both these data types are also CLR data types enabling complete compatibility for use in .NET code.
Though Spatial Data sounds very useful in terms of storing location based preferences or queries, it takes time getting used to something like this. I am still trying to get my heads around how to store and retrieve data on Spatial Data Types. You can find more information on Spatial Data types in the below links.
MSDN Webcast: Building Spatial Applications with SQL Server 2008, Event ID: 1032353123