When I downloaded SQL Server 2008 R2 CTP2 last week, I went right by (for now) the cool Gemini features and even Multi Server Management and went straight for the new SSRS Map Control. After explaining the SQL Server 2008 spatial data types, the spatial methods, and SRIDs to folks until they glazed  over, and then watch their eyes light up when I showed 'em the Spatial Results tab in SSMS, I grokked this "power of visualization" thing right away. Maybe not the most earthshattering feature in R2, the map control is perhaps the coolest.

Start by dropping a map control on a report in BIDS or ReportBuilder 3.0 and wizarding your way through a simple color analytical map of say, sales by state. And take it from there. If you're not from the US (or "you're so bored with the USA"), get base map data of more relevence to you by importing an ESRI Shapefile. Or using Bing Maps as a base map. You could even use your the geometry of your business' office Geometric layout if you have it in SQL Server Spatial format; set the map property "Coordinate System=Planar" for that type of data. And be sure to have a read through Spatial Ed's "Cartographic Adjustment of Spatial Data for SQL Server Reporting Services", series starting here for some real fun.

I'm not going to say much more for now because my next MSDN "Under The Table" column is about this beauty, as well as some other new cool spatial visualization tools for SQL Server, and I'm wary of double-dipping with the blog. Maybe some more info on advanced ways to use the control later.

So, till then…have a map!