I'm trying to select a geometry column as well-known text from a feature class in an Oracle 11g/ArcSDE 10.1 geodatabase. (This is in a Python script using pypyodbc as a driver). This is my SQL:


When I run this I get a few Oracle errors:

ORA-29900: operator binding does not exist\nORA-06553: PLS-306: wrong number or types of arguments in call to 'ST_ASTEXT

I found this support article which says to fully qualify all references to ST_GEOMETRY operators, but I have the SDE prefix so I'm not sure what's missing. Does anyone have any ideas regarding this?

UPDATE: If I just select the SHAPE field without any SDE functions I get Decimal('214'). Interestingly, that's also the object ID.

  • Not an SDE user, but from other spatial DBs I'd suggest trying SHAPE.ST_AsText() Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 16:00
  • Is the geometry column using SDE.ST_GEOMETRY or SDELOB/SDEBINARY storage? SDE.ST_AsText only works with a SDE.ST_GEOMETRY storage (and only if the libst_shapelib.so / st_shapelib.dll is registered with EXTPROC).
    – Vince
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 16:10
  • Stupid question but - how can I tell? Is the type stored in an SDE table somewhere? If I just describe the table the SHAPE field shows up as Decimal, which I know is not the case.
    – bertday
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 16:13
  • 1
    Yes, it's buried in a bitmask, but the easiest way is describe it in SQL*Plus -- it will show an SDE.ST_GEOMETRY datatype (or NUMBER(38) if SDELOB/SDEBINARY). Some other display mechanism might well show "Decimal" for a NUMBER(38) type. The only way to get WKT out of an SDELOB/SDEBINARY column is to use the ArcSDE API (or decode & encode on your own, based on a join to the Fn table).
    – Vince
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 16:29
  • Sure enough it was SDELOB... Could you elaborate on what the Fn table is?
    – bertday
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 17:49

1 Answer 1


In order to find out the Fn-Table where the actual points are stored, you can

select object_id from sde.column_registry where table_name = 'MYTABLE' and column_name = 'SHAPE';

The geometry will be stored in the table Fxxxx with xxxx = object_id.

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