I have implemented a plug-in data source for ArcGIS. In my case, the format read by the plug-in may contain point, line and polygon features within the same file. In my implementation the data file read by the plugin is a dataset which may contain up to three feature classes (point, line, poly).

In ArcMap I can sucessfully browse to my data sources and add feature classes to the map. If I then open the ArcToolbox->Conversion Tools->To Shapefile->Feature Class To Shape tool I can see the added feature classes in the Input Features pulldown menu and add them. Using this method I can sucessfully export the feature class to a Shape file.

Also, in ArcCatalog I can browse to the feature classes contained in my custom files or I can enter a path into the Location: box in ArcCatalog for example: f:\arctest\plugindata\testPT\testPT_PT where f:\arctest\plugindata is the location of my data file, testPT is the root name of my data file (less extenstion) and testPT_PT is the name of the feature class within the file. Doing this will sucessfully browse to and open my file.

The trouble coumes when I attempt to use the ArcToolbox->Conversion Tools->To Shapefile->Feature Class To Shape tool and enter the full path to my feature class f:\arctest\plugindata\testPT\testPT_PT directly into the Input Features box rather than first adding the feature class to a map and then selecting it via the Input Features dialog. I am immediately greeted with 000732 dataset does not exist or is not supported.

I believe that I have traced the probem to the call made by ArcGIS to the ContainsWorkspace() that I have implemented in my custom workspace factory. My ContainsWorkspace() is being called and the parentDirectory being passed to me in the above example is f:\arctest when I expect to be called with f:\arctest\plugindata. As it is I am being called to indicate whether f:\arctest contains a workspace which it does not, f:\arctest\plugindata does. ContainsWorkspace() is never called with f:\arctest\plugindata and the Export To Shape tool immediately indicates that the specified feature class is invalid.

Again, if I enter f:\arctest\plugindata\testPT\testPT_PT into the location box in ArcCatalog I am immediately taken to the correct featureclass, it is only the Shape Export dialog that will not accept this path.

I am fairly new to ArcGIS Engine development and this is my first data source plugin so I I have not clearly explained the situation I apologize.

Can anyone give me some pointers on where to look for my failure?

  • Is the IFileNames arg for ContainsWorkspace null? If not what does it contain? Feb 28, 2011 at 1:27
  • When coming from GP tools, the workspace name will be the full path to the file. The IFileNames object will be null.
    – Jim B
    Mar 7, 2011 at 17:42
  • Have you tried running the MakeFeatureLayer tool on your custom feature class first? Jun 8, 2011 at 0:57
  • Have you found a solution?
    – Maxim
    Sep 23, 2014 at 5:06

2 Answers 2


I think some ESRI tools work only with ArcObject supported datasources(Shape,Coverage,Personal GDB,SDE GDB),maybe you have selected a tool which expect an ArcObject datasource as input?

I have a similar problem with OLEDB datasource which I have developed,some ArcMap features specially Editor objects doesn't work with it.

  • This is stated in the plugin datasource documentation: "The following are some limitations to plug-in data sources—only tables, feature classes, and feature datasets are supported. Plug-in data sources cannot be integrated with geodatabase objects, such as relationship classes and geometric networks. Also, only simple feature types—points, lines, and polygons—are supported. For example, plug-in data sources for annotation or dimension features cannot be implemented." help.arcgis.com/en/sdk/10.0/arcobjects_net/conceptualhelp/… May 6, 2011 at 7:20

I am 99% sure this is an ArcGIS bug. Just report it and wait for the SP :)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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