Bug: ArcSDE error -38 attribute column not found occurs after applying ArcSDE 9.1 Service Pack 1


After applying Service Pack 1 for ArcSDE 9.1, an ArcSDE error -38 is displayed indicating that an 'Attribute column not found'. While there are many causes for this error message, this article addresses only one of them, a defect introduced at ArcSDE 9.1 Service Pack 1. The defect is only evident when the following conditions are met:

· A multiple table query is being used often involving a join.
· All fields are requested or a subset of fields is being requested that includes the shape.area and shape.length fields.

This is most commonly experienced in ArcIMS when doing an identify, spatial selection or attribute query, though it can occur in other clients when these same conditions are met.


This is caused by a defect introduced into ArcSDE 9.1 Service Pack 1.


Excluding the shape.area and shape.length fields is usually the easiest means of avoiding this problem especially if these fields are not needed.