Frequently Asked Question: How do I load shapefiles?
First, Microsoft has not produced a shapefile loader (or exporter). If this is important to you, here’s the Connect item to hit. (And yes: we do listen to Connect!)
So, what are you to do? There are a few options:
- If you are a user of one of our partner GIS vendors---Autodesk, ESRI, Intergraph, Manifold, or Pitney Bowes (MapInfo)---they probably have support for loading shapefiles already. You’ll have to ask them, though: I’m not an expert in their products.
- If not, and if you aren’t interested in a real GIS, then you should check out Safe Software: they build spatial ETL software that will take shapefiles (as well as about ~200 other formats) perform transformations on the data, and load into SQL Server.
- If you’re looking for a free solution, then there are a few popping up in the wild. Morten Nielsen has had his tool available for some time now, which has both a command line and GUI interfaces. Scott Ellington has created a command line tool as well, but I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet.
- You could build your own. I suggest using the sink/builder API---you can find plenty of examples in our Codeplex project.
Hopefully one of these solutions will work for you.