MapInfo Pro

Google a phrase like “how do I load spatial data into SQL Server?” and you will find lots of blog references to Shape2SQL. That is because it is a great piece of software. In fact, I have used it for years to populate spatial tables in Microsoft SQL Server. I suspect its popularity among bloggers is tied to its price, which is zero. Couple that with the wide availability of “free” (public domain) datasets of basic geographies like country and state/province boundaries in ESRI’s shapefile format — and you have the makings of a blog post on how to load a spatial table.

Well, not really. But the data certainly would suggest it has. The “data” in this case, is a spatial object with a unique characteristic. Yes, the spatial object happens to look like a dog. (As a matter of fact, I do plan to keep my day job!) But the spatial object also happens to have a hidden flaw.

Shape2SQL is a great product for loading spatial data into Microsoft SQL Server. In fact, we use it all the time. However, it’s intended for ESRI shapefiles only. Chances are, if you work for a business, your spatial data will be in MapInfo tab format.