BufferWithTolerance (geography Data Type)

Applies to: SQL Server (all supported versions) Azure SQL Database Azure SQL Managed Instance

Returns a geometric object representing the union of all point values whose distance from a geography instance is less than or equal to a specified value, allowing for a specified tolerance.

This geography data type method supports FullGlobe instances or spatial instances that are larger than a hemisphere.


.BufferWithTolerance ( distance, tolerance, relative )  


To view Transact-SQL syntax for SQL Server 2014 and earlier, see Previous versions documentation.


Is a float expression specifying the distance from the geography instance around which to calculate the buffer.

The maximum distance of the buffer can't exceed 0.999 * π * minorAxis * minorAxis / majorAxis (~0.999 * 1/2 Earth's circumference) or the full globe.

Is a float expression specifying the tolerance of the buffer distance.

The maximum variation in the ideal buffer distance for the returned linear approximation is the tolerance value.

For example, the ideal buffer distance of a point is a circle, but this distance must be approximated by a polygon. The smaller the tolerance, the more points the polygon will have. This result increases the complexity of the result, but minimizes the error.

The minimum limit is 0.1 percent of the distance, and any tolerance less than that will be rounded up to the minimum limit.

Is a bit specifying whether the tolerance value is relative or absolute. If the value is 'TRUE' or 1, tolerance is relative. This value is the product of the tolerance parameter and the angular extent * equatorial radius of the ellipsoid. The tolerance is absolute if the value is 'FALSE' or 0. This tolerance value is the absolute maximum variation in the ideal buffer distance for the returned linear approximation.

Return Types

SQL Server return type: geography

CLR return type: SqlGeography


This method throws an ArgumentException if the distance isn't a number (NAN), or if distance is positive or negative infinity. This method also throws an ArgumentException if tolerance is zero (0), not a number (NaN), negative, or positive or negative infinity.

STBuffer() will return a FullGlobe instance in certain cases; for example, STBuffer() returns a FullGlobe instance on two poles when the buffer distance is greater than the distance from the equator to the poles.

This method will throw an ArgumentException in FullGlobe instances where the distance of the buffer exceeds the following limitation:

0.999 * π * minorAxis * minorAxis / majorAxis (~0.999 * 1/2 Earth's circumference)

The error between the theoretical and computed buffer is max(tolerance, extents * 1.E-7) where tolerance is the value of the tolerance parameter. For more information on extents, see geography Data Type Method Reference.

This method isn't precise.


The following example creates a Point instance and uses BufferWithTolerance() to obtain a rough buffer around it.

DECLARE @g geography;  
SET @g = geography::STGeomFromText('POINT(-122.34900 47.65100)', 4326);  
SELECT @g.BufferWithTolerance(1, .5, 0).ToString();  

See Also

STBuffer (geography Data Type)
Extended Methods on Geography Instances