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Tips for importing Census data (not the .shp) RRS feed

  • Question

  • I would like to use the US Census data available on the Tiger website.. I'm not too interested in using a 3rd party tool (Shape2Sql), is there an easy way to utilize the acsii file from the Census site, and how does it compare once imported to the shp import?

    Monday, August 2, 2010 6:01 PM

Answers

  • I believe the U.S. Census have replaced the old Tiger ASCII format in favour of distribution via shapefile only. (see http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/faq.html#4 and #5). So, if you want to use the ASCII format you'll be limiting yourself to using one of the older (pre 2006?) datasets that was still available in this format.

    Also, using Shape2SQL (or any other third party tool) to load an industry-standard shapefile is waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy easier than writing your own parser for the proprietary and rather messy TIGER file format. If you really want to load the ASCII format version, you can find the technical documentation for the TIGER file format here: http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/tiger2006fe/TGR06FE.pdf

     


    Beginning Spatial with SQL Server http://www.apress.com/book/view/1430218290
    • Marked as answer by Kbalz Monday, August 2, 2010 7:23 PM
    Monday, August 2, 2010 6:45 PM
    Answerer

All replies

  • I believe the U.S. Census have replaced the old Tiger ASCII format in favour of distribution via shapefile only. (see http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/faq.html#4 and #5). So, if you want to use the ASCII format you'll be limiting yourself to using one of the older (pre 2006?) datasets that was still available in this format.

    Also, using Shape2SQL (or any other third party tool) to load an industry-standard shapefile is waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy easier than writing your own parser for the proprietary and rather messy TIGER file format. If you really want to load the ASCII format version, you can find the technical documentation for the TIGER file format here: http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/tiger2006fe/TGR06FE.pdf

     


    Beginning Spatial with SQL Server http://www.apress.com/book/view/1430218290
    • Marked as answer by Kbalz Monday, August 2, 2010 7:23 PM
    Monday, August 2, 2010 6:45 PM
    Answerer
  • I understand it is easier, I just get nervous about relying on a 3rd party tool to be updated, supported etc.. Especially since Shape2Sql is written by one person!

    I certainly can use the tool on my test database, make sure the data is clean, and move that data to my production database.. but I feel like I'm cheating myself out of some knowledge in doing that. I guess I will have to go that route for the time being.

    Monday, August 2, 2010 7:22 PM
  • This actually does what I'm looking for, I can tweak it as needed I think!

     

    http://shapefile.codeplex.com

     

    Monday, August 2, 2010 8:13 PM
  • If you want a reliable, supported 3rd party tool for importing shapefiles to SQL Server then you could always try Safe FME but, yes, that codeplex project looks to have potential if you want to code your own.

    Beginning Spatial with SQL Server http://www.apress.com/book/view/1430218290
    Tuesday, August 3, 2010 7:03 AM
    Answerer