I'm using ArcGIS (ArcMap) 10.2 to determine the relative location of points of land to a regulated area. I downloaded a layer (.lyr) file that displays the regulated area, and am able to display that information with my data. However, I am unable to use the data in (or referenced by) the downloaded layer... i.e. I cannot use Spatial Join ("ERROR 000840: The value is not a Feature Layer").

To try to determine what was happening, I attempted to "Open Attribute Table" to look at the specific features, but the "Open Attribute Table" command was not visible. That is, when I right-click the layer name in the table of contents, I don't have the normal options I do for features.

Thus, it seem I am unable to use this layer as I would a normal feature set. Why is this, and how can I still use this data?

FYI: I'm a relative novice at ArcGIS, so perhaps there are fundamental issues I'm not getting?

A screenshot of right before the error, and another right after the error

  • 1
    What does it say on the source tab on the layer properties? Select the layer, right click and select properties.. go to the source tab. The key here is the Data Type which is the first item in the Data Source display. – Michael Stimson Jul 20 '14 at 23:52
  • Welcome to GIS SE! Would you be able to edit your question to include the precise parameters (perhaps as a screenshot) that you are supplying to the Spatial Join tool, please? – PolyGeo Jul 21 '14 at 0:29
  • The relevant information: – C Sev Jul 21 '14 at 0:30
  • Data Type: ArcGIS Map Service Connection: Internet Server: http:// *** Name: *** Map Service Type: Not Cached – C Sev Jul 21 '14 at 0:31
  • That's an on-line data source, either WMS or WFS (hard to say based on that information). It's not a valid feature source. Contact the data owners for a copy. On-line data cannot be used in ArcGis geoprocessing. – Michael Stimson Jul 21 '14 at 0:46

From the screenshot you provided it is apparent that you have browsed to a layer file in an attempt to supply Target Features to the Spatial Join.

If, as mentioned in comments, that layer file is pointing to a Web Map Service (WMS), you will not be able to use it with Spatial Join at all.

However, if it is pointing at a feature class (including shapefile) then you should be able to either browse to the source feature class, or add the layer file to your map and then drag the layer (not the layer file) into the Spatial Join tool.

If the source of your layer file is a Web Feature Service (WFS) then it is worth trying the same technique because I think it should work if that WFS uses the Geography Markup Language - Simple Features profile (GML-SF) and you have Data Interoperability installed (with no need for licensing).


I recieved the same error- there was an issue with my query. I forgot to add the geometry field. Added the extent to the query and it pulled just fine.

99% of the time I get an error- there is an issue in the query.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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