I'm adding MapInfo TAB files to SQLite (SpatiaLite) database using those arguments:

ogr2ogr -f "SQLite" dataset.sqlite somelayer.tab -dsco spatialite=yes

Source file somelayer.tab have WindowsCyrillic encoding defined:

!version 450
!charset WindowsCyrillic

Definition Table
  Type NATIVE Charset "WindowsCyrillic"
  Fields 1
    Name Char (100) ;

As a result, dataset.sqlite have somelayer table with VARCHAR Name column.

But I need store Name values in unicode.

How can I tell ogr2ogr use unicode NVARCHAR type for Name column and encode text from WindowsCyrillic (Windows-1251) to UTF-8 encoding for storing.

1 Answer 1


SQLite does not care about types and VARCHAR and NVARCHAR mean just the same for it https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3930501/difference-between-varchar-nvarchar-in-sqlite.

The real problem is in the GDAL MapInfo driver that does not handle character encodings. There are some workarounds:

  1. Convert MapInfo data into MID/MIF format with ogr2ogr and convert Windows-1251 into UTF-8 with iconv. Conversion with ogr2ogr from MID/MIF (UTF-8) into SpatiaLite should go right now.
  2. Alternatively, convert MapInfo data first into GML with ogr2ogr and convert the GML file info UTF-8 with iconv. Finally convert GML into SpatiaLite.
  • yes, I currently use slightly modified 1st workaround. I wrote single powershell script to convert whole folder to mif/mid using og2ogr, recode it to UTF-8 using .NET ($text = [IO.File]::ReadAllText($mid, $encoding); [IO.File]::WriteAllText($mid, $text, [Text.Encoding]::UTF8);) and then finally append to SQLite database using ogr2ogr. But I was hoping that GDAL MapInfo driver have some key to read specified encdoing and write in UTF-8.
    – Savvkin
    Dec 10, 2014 at 9:33
  • Had a similar problem going from a Win-1252 .TAB file to Postgres, used option (2) from above. Code follows in case it helps anyone. Convert to GML: ogr2ogr -f GML original-1252.gml original-1252.TAB --config OGR_FORCE_ASCII NO Change encoding: iconv -f CP1252 -t UTF-8 original-1252.gml >converted-utf8.gml Finally load: ogr2ogr -f PostgreSQL %PG_CONECTION_DETAILS% converted-utf8.gml -nln schema.new_table_name
    – Rob
    Jan 11, 2016 at 11:45

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