|Spatial SQL ->||Free tools for Spatial Data processing and visualisation|
For the needs of learning/development of geo-spatial oriented
applications one can be interested in looking for a set of costless
tools. Such tools can be propriety products and/or projects created
inside open source community.
(You can get Free spatial data in shape format from   www.openstreetmap.org)
I can mention just a two possibilities out many that exists around the realm of geo processing programs.
A. Load locations table to MS-SQL Server Express from txt/csv files using Server standard capability Or from shape files using Shape2Sql.exe (sharpgis) [works with MS-SQL Server 2008 only]
B. Process data using MS-SQL Server Spatial
C. Visualize selected features using SqlSpatial.exe (sharpgis) and save it as shape files
[*] search google.com for: "Download Microsoft SQL Server Express"
(the best choice now is sqlserver-2014)
Another option that involves ms-sql is to use Mapinfo tools:
[@] EasyLoader - windows utility that allows to upload Mapinfo .tab files to sql server.
[@] MapInfo ProViewer allows to view .tab files.
The problem with mapinfo way is that you still need additional utility to visualize/download data from sql server.
Use Postgres (PostGIS) database with uDig desktop application to create/load/visualize spatial data.
And more: try Free TatukGIS Viewer. www.tatukgis.com
As for Jan-2014 it is probably one the best free desktop utilities for spatial data visualisation. Supports a lot of file formats.