Microsoft Announced Spatial Support in Azure; WW Telescope in Bing Maps
Per Ed Katibah:
“Microsoft announced support for spatial in SQL Azure today at MIX in Las Vegas.” There’s nothing yet on the Web about the announcement that I found. (This article about whether spatial support is necessary for Azure is pretty interesting; it’s from Feb of this year). For those still sorting out cloud offerings:
Microsoft’s Windows Azure Platform is a cloud platform offering that “provides a wide range of Internet services that can be consumed from both on-premises environments or the Internet” (though the platform itself is not made available for on-premises deployments). It is significant in that it is Microsoft’s first step into cloud computing following the launch of the Microsoft Online Services offering.
SQL Azure (formerly SQL Server Data Services and later SQL Services) is a cloud-based service from Microsoft offering data storage capabilities similar to Amazon S3 and Amazon Relational Database Service as a part of the Azure Services Platform. Unlike similar cloud-based databases, SQL Azure allows relational queries to be made against stored data, which can either be structured or semi-structured, or even unstructured documents. SQL Azure features querying data, search, data analysis and data synchronization.
SQL Azure uses Microsoft SQL Server as a backend, but it exposes only a subset of the data types — including string, numeric, date and boolean.[AND I GUESS NOW SPATIAL]  It uses an XML-based format for data transfer. Like Microsoft SQL Server, SQL Azure uses T-SQL as the query language and Tabular Data Stream (TDS) as the protocol to access the service over internet. It does not provide a REST-based API to access the service over HTTP. Microsoft recommends using ADO.NET Data Services for this purpose.
In other Microsoft news, MS PR points folks to blog posts (Bing one, Chris Pendleton’s one) about the release of he WorldWide Telescope mapping application for Bing Maps (the one demoed at TED). “
The application allows people to literally look up at the virtual sky in Bing Maps and see constellations and stars as they exist in real-life. Now people can see the sky as it appears at anytime – in real-time.”
Part of why I suspect this isn’t going to be as well-used as it might be:
To access the WorldWide Telescope application:
Go to: http://www.bing.com/maps/explore
Click on Map Apps (bottom of the left-hand rail, below the explore section)
Select the WorldWide Telescope App
(note: you need to have Silverlight installed)