I saw a Blog post by Grant Fritchey (Blog | Twitter) a couple days ago on using Geospatial data in SSRS 2008 R2. I think this is incredibly cool and it reminded me of something I wanted to share about my own recent experiences with geospatial data. My company recently decided (or rather, decided again, for about the 50th time) that it wanted to do geospatial reporting on all its customers/sites etc. We have a good number of them geocoded in the system with lat/long points, but we don’t have any data for things like state/county barriers etc. I didn’t think there was any way that kind of information would be available online… but I was wrong. The US Census Bureau offers up this information in files that you can download and load onto your SQL Server.
Getting it into your server is a piece of cake using some of the tools that others have put together. I believe I used this.
It took about 10 minutes time from finding the census bureau data to having it downloaded and imported onto my local database. Using simple select queries you can get maps of all the states, or even the counties within a state. That said, I believe the counties or zip codes I downloaded were a bit outdated, so they’re not perfect; but they’ll get you a long way down the path.
After importing the data, here’s what Florida looks like: