MSSQLSpatial - Microsoft SQL Server Spatial Database

Driver short name


This driver implements support for access to spatial tables in Microsoft SQL Server 2008+ which contains the geometry and geography data types to represent the geometry columns.

Driver capabilities

Supports Create()

This driver supports the GDALDriver::Create() operation

Supports Georeferencing

This driver supports georeferencing

Connecting to a database

To connect to a MSSQL datasource, use a connection string specifying the database name, with additional parameters as necessary. The connection strings must be prefixed with ‘MSSQL:’.

In addition to the standard parameters of the ODBC driver connection string format the following custom parameters can also be used in the following syntax:

  • Tables=schema1.table1(geometry column1),schema2.table2(geometry column2): By using this parameter you can specify the subset of the layers to be used by the driver. If this parameter is not set, the layers are retrieved from the geometry_columns metadata table. You can omit specifying the schema and the geometry column portions of the syntax.

  • GeometryFormat=native|wkb|wkt|wkbzm: The desired format in which the geometries should be retrieved from the server. The default value is ‘native’ in this case the native SqlGeometry and SqlGeography serialization format is used. When using the ‘wkb’ or ‘wkt’ setting the geometry representation is converted to ‘Well Known Binary’ and ‘Well Known Text’ at the server. This conversion requires a significant overhead at the server and makes the feature access slower than using the native format. The wkbzm format can only be used with SQL Server 2012.

The parameter names are not case sensitive in the connection strings.

Specifying the Database parameter is required by the driver in order to select the proper database.

The connection may contain the optional Driver parameter if a custom SQL server driver should be loaded (like FreeTDS). The default is {SQL Server}


Starting with GDAL 1.11 if the user defines the environment variable MSSQLSPATIAL_LIST_ALL_TABLES=YES (and does not specify Tables= in the connection string), all regular user tables will be treated as layers. This option is useful if you want tables with with no spatial data

By default the MSSQL driver will only look for layers that are registered in the geometry_columns metadata table. Starting with GDAL 1.10 if the user defines the environment variable MSSQLSPATIAL_USE_GEOMETRY_COLUMNS=NO then the driver will look for all user spatial tables found in the system catalog

SQL statements

The MS SQL Spatial driver passes SQL statements directly to MS SQL by default, rather than evaluating them internally when using the ExecuteSQL() call on the OGRDataSource, or the -sql command option to ogr2ogr. Attribute query expressions are also passed directly through to MSSQL. It’s also possible to request the OGR MSSQL driver to handle SQL commands with the OGR SQL engine, by passing “OGRSQL” string to the ExecuteSQL() method, as the name of the SQL dialect.

The MSSQL driver in OGR supports the OGRLayer::StartTransaction(), OGRLayer::CommitTransaction() and OGRLayer::RollbackTransaction() calls in the normal SQL sense.

Creation Issues

This driver doesn’t support creating new databases, you might want to use the Microsoft SQL Server Client Tools for this purpose, but it does allow creation of new layers within an existing database.

Layer Creation Options

  • GEOM_TYPE: The GEOM_TYPE layer creation option can be set to one of “geometry” or “geography”. If this option is not specified the default value is “geometry”. So as to create the geometry column with “geography” type, this parameter should be set “geography”. In this case the layer must have a valid spatial reference of one of the geography coordinate systems defined in the sys.spatial_reference_systems SQL Server metadata table. Projected coordinate systems are not supported in this case.

  • OVERWRITE: This may be “YES” to force an existing layer of the desired name to be destroyed before creating the requested layer.

  • LAUNDER: This may be “YES” to force new fields created on this layer to have their field names “laundered” into a form more compatible with MSSQL. This converts to lower case and converts some special characters like “-” and “#” to “_”. If “NO” exact names are preserved. The default value is “YES”. If enabled the table (layer) name will also be laundered.

  • PRECISION: This may be “YES” to force new fields created on this layer to try and represent the width and precision information, if available using numeric(width,precision) or char(width) types. If “NO” then the types float, int and varchar will be used instead. The default is “YES”.

  • DIM={2,3}: Control the dimension of the layer. Defaults to 3.

  • GEOMETRY_NAME: Set the name of geometry column in the new table. If omitted it defaults to ogr_geometry.. Note: option was called GEOM_NAME in releases before GDAL 2

  • SCHEMA: Set name of schema for new table. If this parameter is not supported the default schema “dbo” is used.

  • SRID: Set the spatial reference id of the new table explicitly. The corresponding entry should already be added to the spatial_ref_sys metadata table. If this parameter is not set the SRID is derived from the authority code of source layer SRS.

  • SPATIAL_INDEX: (From GDAL 2.0.0) Boolean flag (YES/NO) to enable/disable the automatic creation of a spatial index on the newly created layers (enabled by default).

  • UPLOAD_GEOM_FORMAT: (From GDAL 2.0.0) Specify the geometry format (wkb or wkt) when creating or modifying features. The default is wkb.

  • FID: (From GDAL 2.0.0) Name of the FID column to create. Defaults to ogr_fid.

  • FID64: (From GDAL 2.0.0) Specifies whether to create the FID column with bigint type to handle 64bit wide ids. Default = NO

  • GEOMETRY_NULLABLE: (From GDAL 2.0.0) Specifies whether the values of the geometry column can be NULL. Default = YES

  • EXTRACT_SCHEMA_FROM_LAYER_NAME: (From GDAL 2.3.0) Can be set to NO to avoid considering the dot character as the separator between the schema and the table name. Defaults to YES.

Spatial Index Creation

By default the MS SQL Spatial driver doesn’t add spatial indexes to the tables during the layer creation. However you should create a spatial index by using the following sql option:

create spatial index on schema.table

The spatial index can also be dropped by using the following syntax:

drop spatial index on schema.table

Configuration options

There are a variety of Configuration Options which help control the behavior of this driver.

  • MSSQLSPATIAL_USE_BCP: (From GDAL 2.1.0) Enable bulk insert when adding features. This option requires to to compile GDAL against a bulk copy enabled ODBC driver like SQL Server Native Client 11.0. To specify a BCP supported driver in the connection string, use the driver parameter, like DRIVER={SQL Server Native Client 11.0}. If GDAL is compiled against SQL Server Native Client 10.0 or 11.0 the driver is selected automatically not requiring to specify that in the connection string. If GDAL is compiled against SQL Server Native Client 10.0 or 11.0 the default setting of this parameter is TRUE, otherwise the parameter is ignored by the driver.

  • MSSQLSPATIAL_BCP_SIZE: (From GDAL 2.1.0) Specifies the bulk insert batch size. The larger value makes the insert faster, but consumes more memory. Default = 1000.

  • MSSQLSPATIAL_OGR_FID: Override FID column name. Default = ogr_fid.

  • MSSQLSPATIAL_ALWAYS_OUTPUT_FID: Always retrieve the FID value of the recently created feature (even if it is not a true IDENTITY column). Default = “NO”.

  • MSSQLSPATIAL_SHOW_FID_COLUMN: Force to display the FID colums as a feature attribute. Default = “NO”.

  • MSSQLSPATIAL_USE_GEOMETRY_COLUMNS: Use/create geometry_columns metadata table in the database. Default = “YES”.

  • MSSQLSPATIAL_LIST_ALL_TABLES: Use mssql catalog to list available layers. Default = “NO”.

  • MSSQLSPATIAL_USE_GEOMETRY_VALIDATION: (From GDAL 3.0) Let the driver detect the geometries which would trigger run time errors at MSSQL server. The driver tries to correct these geometries before submitting that to the server. Default = “YES”.

Transaction support (GDAL >= 2.0)

The driver implements transactions at the dataset level, per RFC 54: Dataset transactions


Creating a layer from an OGR data source

ogr2ogr -overwrite -f MSSQLSpatial "MSSQL:server=.\MSSQLSERVER2008;database=geodb;trusted_connection=yes" ""

Connecting to a layer and dump the contents

ogrinfo -al "MSSQL:server=.\MSSQLSERVER2008;database=geodb;tables=rivers;trusted_connection=yes"

Creating a spatial index

ogrinfo -sql "create spatial index on rivers" "MSSQL:server=.\MSSQLSERVER2008;database=geodb;trusted_connection=yes"