Spatial data analysis is a complex subject area, taking elements from a range of academic disciplines,
including geophysics, mathematics, astronomy, and cartography. Although you do not need to
understand these subjects in great depth to take advantage of the spatial features of SQL Server 2012,
it is important to have a basic understanding of the theory involved so that you use spatial data
appropriately and effectively in your applications.
This chapter describes spatial reference systems—ways of describing positions in space—and
shows how these systems can be used to define features on the earth's surface. The theoretical concepts
discussed in this chapter are fundamental to the creation of consistent, accurate spatial data, and are
used throughout the practical applications discussed in later chapters of this book.