How to access spatial data by using Entity Framework


This article describes an All-In-One framework sample that is available for download. This code sample demonstrates a step-by-step guide that illustrates how to access spatial data by using Entity Framework.

This code sample is part of the AzureBingMaps application sample that demonstrates a lot of technologies which include how to access spatial data by using Entity Framework.


Difficulty level

Download information

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Technical overview

The simplest solution to access a database from a .NET Framework-based application is using Entity Framework. However, Entity Framework doesn't support spatial data in SQL Azure or in SQL Server currently, it supports relational data only. 
To access spatial data, a common approach is that convert the geography type to the varbinary (max) type. Because SQL Azure stores geography data as binary format and Entity Framework supports binary data type, you can run the following code to create an object model that maps the binary CLR type to the geography SQL type:
CREATEVIEW [dbo].[TravelView]
SELECT PartitionKey,RowKey,Place,CAST(GeoLocation ASvarbinary(MAX))AS GeoLocation, Time
FROM dbo.Travel
After you run this code, you can generate an Entity Framework model.

  • Because a view is read only, when you access spatial data, we recommend that you handle the Insert, Update and Delete operations by running stored procedures.
  • For more information about how to work with spatial data, visit the following MSDN blog. The blog includes information about how to add custom properties to Entity Framework model, how to override SaveChanges, and how to implement retry logic when accessing SQL Azure data:

Technology category

SQL Server, SQL Azure


This code sample is available in the following programming languages:

LanguageProject Name
Visual C#CSAzureBingMaps
Visual Basic.NETVAzureBingMaps


To run this code sample, you must install the following products:
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft SQL Azure
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4


Entity Framework


For more information about how to accessing spatial data by using Entity Framework, visit the following MSDN blog: 

More Information

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Artikelnummer: 2555356 – Letzte Überarbeitung: 09.06.2011 – Revision: 1