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 often use the brilliant SQL Server 2008 Spatial Tools to import shapefiles into SQL Server 2008. This works absolutely fine but it leaves me wondering, how do Microsoft expect end users of SQL Server to get shapefiles into SQL Server? What is the official method for importing this data?

The only references to this I've spotted on GIS.stackexchange are these questions: How to import shapefiles into MS SQL 2008 and then view that data using QGIS? and How to import shape file into SQL Server 2008 R2 using only SQL scripts? , which references spatial tools, GDAL etc. but nothing from Microsoft. Is there something I've missed? Call me naive but I'd almost expect there to be an option in the data source list in SQL Server Import/Export wizard for shapefile!

In summary: I'm not asking how to import shapefiles into SQL Server, I'm specifically asking how Microsoft expect us to import shapefiles into SQL Server.

share|improve this question
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I've been working with MS Sql Server Spatial since the '07 Katmai betas and I know of no Microsoft tool to do this. I had discussions with MS staff in '07 or '08 and at that point both reprojection and shapefile support were features they had chosen to leave up to third parties to implement.

share|improve this answer
Thanks Russell, I wonder what their reasoning was. – Tumbledown Sep 13 '13 at 14:31
I'm not certain of their reasoning but I do know from my own work on writing a shapefile reader that various tools have inconsistencies in how they write shapefiles, particularly attribute representation (including null values and padding) in the DBF file so perhaps they felt they could not reach a 100% success rate with all possible shapefiles from all possible sources. – Russell at ISC Sep 13 '13 at 16:58

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.