James Fee, in his Spatially Adjusted blog, recently remarked about ESRI Shape Files, “So antiquated, so limiting, so dangerous….” True. True. Yet I could also add, “so everywhere.” Love them or hate them, Shapefiles are everywhere. Therefore, they are probably here to stay, at least until we all retire to some tropical paradise.

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.