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Kevin Kline

Spatial Indexing

I spent many years working for NASA on Oracle databases. At that time, in the late 1980's and early 1990's, spatial indexing was a novel and difficult idea. We worked heavily on the notion and, with significant help from Oracle, enabled our databases to store specially designed datatypes for spatial data.

Microsoft is researching similar or even greater capabilities: http://research.microsoft.com/research/pubs/view.aspx?msr_tr_id=MSR-TR-2005-122

At first, it wasn't immediately obvious to me who might want to store spatial data except perhaps an organization like NASA. But over the years, I grew to understand that many organizations the work with important data elements that are fixed in time and space (e.f. oil exploration, mining operations, real estate applications) can benefit.

Enjoy,

-Kevin

Published Monday, January 22, 2007 12:46 PM by KKline
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Adam Machanic said:

Hi Kevin,

Unfortunately, it's not "real" spatial indexing, but rather normal indexing of specially computed values that can be used to help with spatial.  It's an evolutionary step at best.

I would really love to see new tree types in SQL Server such as R Trees and Quad Trees, but the SQL Server team does not seem to share my enthusiasm for using anything other than a B*Tree.

February 2, 2007 11:54 AM
 

KKline said:

Hi Adam,

Ah - good point.  You only get b-trees with a little extra help for spatial values.

I actually worked for NASA back in the late 80's and earlier 90's when we developed a spatial datatype for Oracle that became part of the product.  Since it was developed using public domain (i.e. government) resources, you'll still find all sorts of special licensing disclaimers in the Oracle licenses about the special rights of the US government compared to the public sector.

I don't think that SQL Server has anything close to what we worked into Oracle at that time, now approaching 20 years ago.  Yegads!

-Kev

February 9, 2007 12:01 PM

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About KKline

Kevin Kline is a well-known database industry expert, author, and speaker. Kevin is a long-time Microsoft MVP and was one of the founders of PASS, www.sqlpass.org.

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