Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I use MapInfo and have a lot of data in .tab format that I would like to put into a database in order to access it through a website. I would like to continue using MapInfo as my GIS programme and export to the web database with the minimum of fuss.

What would be a good type of database for this?

I was considering MySQL as I have used it a lot before and it has native spatial data types. However I have read that MapInfo can't connect directly to MySQL and that its spatial data support is a bit patchy.

Alot of discussion on the subject is several years old though, so can anyone confirm or deny this?

If not MySQL, what is a good choice? PostgreSQL/PostGIS?

share|improve this question
up vote 9 down vote accepted

PostgreSQL with postgis extension is probably the best choice since it's very mature and natively supported by server technologies (like mapserver) and open source desktop GIS like QGIS.

I would give you the advice to convert your .tab files to postgis and, at least for that project, to switch from mapinfo to QGIS.

Edit : And use ogr2ogr to transform your data. If your not familiar to that tool, you will see samples on the following website :

share|improve this answer
Yeah, I've been looking into PostGIS. Hmmm...It seems MapInfo also supports PostGIS natively, so no need to use QGIS. – Mr_Chimp Feb 10 '11 at 11:22
There are certain steps you have to take so that MapInfo is capable of using the data in a PostGIS database. There is a good PDF explaining it here:… – James S Feb 10 '11 at 11:29
"no need to use QGIS" Don't say it like it's a bad thing. I find QGIS works much better with PostGIS then MapInfo doe. – Nathan W Feb 10 '11 at 12:23
Yes, but I have to use MapInfo for everything else I do, so having to use QGIS would be an annoyance. I have it installed and it works well but for the purposes of this it would be an extra, unnecessary step. – Mr_Chimp Feb 10 '11 at 14:50

I've recently been involved in migrating MapInfo data to SQL Server 2008. MapInfo includes a tool to do this (built on FME). There were very little problems, and features can be stored in the native GEOMETRY SQL Server type and still accessed and edited in MapInfo (from version 10 onwards).

I'd recommend trying to use the same database software as used by the rest of your organisation - unless you want to become a fulltime DBA in your free time. The choice also depends on what operating systems are being used. If you are using Windows (on the database server and desktops) then SQL Server may be easier to install and manage. If you are using Linux then PostGIS may be a better choice.

If you want to make a gradual move towards databases and web mapping then you have the option of using MapServer which can read .tab files directly - and more importantly the symbology associated with features -

share|improve this answer

Postgres postgis is the best solution to store geodata. Many solutions are available: use the nosql because the price is low (amazon or azure), create your index.... Or use fme cloud with kmz streaming it's easy and the price is 1$/h.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.