Spatial Data to Help Car Radios Track the Big Game
SpatialPoint's database technology will help motorists keep their radios locked on the big game.It's a football fan's nightmareyou are on the road, listening to your favorite team line up for the play that will bring the Super Bowl trophy to your hometown. And then static. The radio station you are listening to is out of range. For those of you about to scream, remain calm. SpatialPoint has a plan. Leveraging the spatial data capabilities of Microsoft's SQL Server 2008, Virtual Earth and other Microsoft technologies, the company is launching a free Web site called Follow the Game that will allow users to plot a course and then relays what stations along the route they have chosen will carry the game.
Click here to read about why embedded database vendors are responding to challenges to growth.
It all begins with data provided by the Federal Communications Commission.
"The FCC has these files that say this is where the radio stations cover," Machinis said. "That's all spatial data, and that's put into SQL Server 2008, and what we are able to do is as you are figuring out the route that you are traveling, we can tell which stations the route goes through. Then what happens is the maps are rendered using Microsoft's Virtual Earth technology
[and the] Web site takes all the input and marshals everything so all these calculations can be made, and then it presents it to the user."
The company uses SQL Server to perform intersect queries to determine where a route intersects the various radio station coverage boundaries, he said.
The native support for spatial data is among the key features of SQL Server 2008 that Microsoft is touting.
The enhancements include new data typesGeography for "round-earth" geospatial support and Geometry "flat-earth" geospatial and other spatial supportas well as spatial Index support for both and numerous spatial methods to support standard operations such as buffer, intersection and union.
The Geometry data type and the supporting methods are designed to support the Open GeoSpatial Consortium Simple Features for SQL Specification, Version 1.1, which is the industry standard for spatial databases.
"SQL Server 2005 did not support the necessary infrastructure to allow spatial to be implemented," said Ed Katibah, spatial program manager for SQL Server at Microsoft. "The primary improvement to SQL Server 2008 [that] allowed spatial to be implemented was support for Large UDTs [user-defined data types]. In SQL Server 2005, UDTs were limited to 8K worth of data. SQL Server 2008 expands this to 2GB."
Read more here about why Microsoft acquired a mapping technology company.
"There are a couple of ways that SQL Server 2008's spatial enhancements" augment Atlas, he said. "First, it serves as a new data source, which makes it easy for data of various types to all be stored in a single, central location. Second, it allows some queries to be performed by the database that otherwise would need to be performed by Atlas. Depending on the scenario, this may improve performance."
Although he is not sure how many hits to expect, Machinis said the company is prepared for hundreds of thousands per day.
"We're doing it as a practical matter to show off the technology, and it actually does solve a problem," he said.