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.

  • 2
    Why was this question closed? It's not opinion based. Jan 8, 2017 at 20:09
  • Hmm, I would agree, perhaps could be reworded to be more along the lines of 'What tools does Microsoft provide to load spatial data into SQL Server' but that's not a million miles off what I did write.I don't know specifically what @PolyGeo believes is subjective.
    – Tumbledown
    Jan 9, 2017 at 10:43
  • Only Microsoft can answer what they expect users to use. Everything else is an opinion. If someone from Microsoft wishes to provide an answer a flag on this question would enable it to be re-opened for that specific purpose. Alternatively, removing the references to Microsoft's expectations to focus the question on how to do the task you are stuck on, would make the question answerable by other than Microsoft.
    – PolyGeo
    Jan 9, 2017 at 11:35
  • 1
    Happy to edit but it seems a little overly pedantic considering in the first paragraph I state 'What is the official method for importing this data?'. I'd argue this is synonymous with 'I'm specifically asking how Microsoft expect us to import shapefiles into SQL Server'. For instance, if I asked how Microsoft expect us to calculate the average in Excel, I'm fairly certain that an answer of 'use the average function that Microsoft provide' would be an objective one. I think it's fairly obvious that I'm not advocating we interview all Microsoft employees to see what their collective opinion is.
    – Tumbledown
    Jan 9, 2017 at 11:55

1 Answer 1


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.

  • 1
    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. Sep 13, 2013 at 16:58

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