UNIX ArcInfo Workstation cannot see feature attribute tables (external files)

Last Published: April 25, 2020


When attempting to use certain datasets (coverages, grids, TINs) stored on UNIX, the data appears to have no attributes, or one of the following messages is produced:

File not found

No INFO files found for COVNAME

Unable to read STA file for /WORKSPACE/GRIDNAME

Error in copying INFO tables

Unable to Access COVNAME.PAT from /WORKSPACE


The dataset (coverage, grid, TIN) has been created or altered by an ArcGIS 8.1 or 8.1 Service Pack 1 application (ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcToolbox, and/or ArcInfo Workstation) on Windows.

These applications are writing a backward slash (\) instead of a forward slash (/) in the path to the external files - even when these files are stored on UNIX. Because of this, older versions of ArcInfo Workstation (anything older than version 8) on UNIX cannot read the paths properly and find the external files.

Solution or Workaround

In ArcInfo Workstation on UNIX, use the EXTERNAL or EXTERNALALL command on the affected datasets.

This problem was only present at 8.1 and 8.1 Service Pack 1. Using later versions (8.1.2) of ArcGIS applications on the datasets that have have been altered will correct the problem.

That is, using ArcMap at ArcGIS 8.1 on Windows, you edited a coverage stored on UNIX. This will cause the path to the external file (which is stored in the info/ARC000?.DAT file) to be changed from a forward slash (/) to a backward slash (\). At this point problems will be encountered if you try to use this coverage with ArcInfo Workstation 7.x. Then using ArcMap at ArcGIS 8.1.2 on Windows, you edited the coverage again. This will correct the path to the external file. The backward slash (\) is now returned to a forward slash (/).

This problem was fixed at version 8.1.2.

Article ID:000004335

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