Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am troubles using the SelectLayerByAttribute() function for arcgis geoprocessing.

I have a layer and I want to select everything that matches on a particular attribute. I call MakeFeatureLayer() to create a layer, I run SelectLayerByAttribute() to select what I want, and then I run CopyFeatures() to save that layer into the database.

However, after the copyfeatures() call, nothing is saved and I have empty layers.

Is there something I'm missing?

I'm using python and arcgisscripting module for geoprocessing. My code below:

 gp.MakeFeatureLayer_management(target_layer, "lyr") 
 gp.SelectLayerByAttribute_management("lyr", "NEW_SELECTION", "\"my_attribute\" = 5 " )

 # Write the selected features to a new featureclass
 gp.CopyFeatures_management("lyr", output)
share|improve this question
The basics looks good, I would expect it to work. To really get your script "perfect", I would recommend using ModelBuilder to drag/drop on your tools, make sure it works as expected, then export to Python which will build the correct code for you. – RyanDalton Apr 13 '11 at 5:58

I did it this way:

whereClause = '"ID" = ' + str(iID) + ' AND "Level" = ' + str(iAlt) + ' AND "Time" = ' 
              + str(iTime)

arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management(SelectFromDataset, "SelecttoLayer", whereClause)

And it works fine

share|improve this answer

you got it all correct, should work.

if this was run as a script tool, i'd say check your "extent" environment... but since this is a script, i'd tack these 2 lines at the end of your script to try to pinpoint where 0 records start

for ds in [target_layer, 'lyr', output]:
  print('{0} has {1} records in it'.format(ds, gp.GetCount_management(ds)))
share|improve this answer

You could just use the gp.FeatureClasstoFeatureClass_conversion method. It'll save you from creating a layer and selecting on it - you just set a where clause in the method call.

As for you current dilemma, check your where clause - remember that the field 'identifiers' can can be different if its a personal geodatabase - square brackets [] instead of quotes. And if your field is a string field with a number in it, you'll need to put quotes around it as well.

You might also use single quotes for your python strings so you don't have to escape your double quotes - it makes it look nicer, but won't solve your problem.

share|improve this answer
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Looks like my script works as intended. I didn't realize that the fields in the queries are case sensitive... I used the incorrect casing for the field name and ArcGIS didn't throw an error about it.

I made this poor assumption because our data sits on Oracle databases, which are configured to be case-insensitive.

share|improve this answer
pls mark your answer as the accepted one so people know it's been resolved. – Kirk Kuykendall Apr 14 '11 at 15:08

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.