Similar to another question I posted previously, I'm trying to import datasets from Esri geodatabases into a PostGIS database directly, and inside the data, there are greek letters and symbols that are not converting correctly. I tried using FWTools on Windows with a command like this:

ogr2ogr -f "PostgreSQL" PG:"host=server.domain.com user=gisuser dbname=gis"
dataset.mdb LayerName -a_srs EPSG:4326

The first time I tried, I got this error from ogr2ogr:

ERROR 1: INSERT command for new feature failed.
ERROR: invalid byte sequence for encoding "UTF8": 0xb4
HINT: This error can also happen if the byte sequence does not match the
encoding expected by the server, which is controlled by "client_encoding".

I found out that setting a particular environment variable at the Windows command line can fix this issue:


That fixed importing problem -- all the records and geometry are in PostGIS, but as a result, the non-English characters are not encoded correctly. When I use UTF-8 or UTF8 for client encoding (not sure which is correct), I get the same invalid byte sequence error as above. Has anyone else had this problem or found a way around it? Is this an issue with the .mdb file itself, or is there something on the server I can change to globally correct this?

  • I haven't had exactly that error, but encodings can really be a pain sometimes :)
    – Chau
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 6:54

2 Answers 2


Greek isn't LATIN1, try


some great looking documentation in this google search. convert latin to unicode


  • which google search?
    – underdark
    Commented Sep 12, 2010 at 15:19

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