ARCTMPDIR issue - Feature Class To Coverage fails

Discussion created by curtvprice Champion on Mar 1, 2012

I solved a puzzle yesterday. This is an FYI for the forum archives.


If you have the system variable ARCTMPDIR set (a workaround to fix topology-related tools Buffer, Dissolve, etc. suggested in Esri KB 29559 ) and try to run Feature Class To Coverage, it tries to create an INFO folder in the root of drive where ARCTMPDIR is located. Of course, most security policies require that users do not have full access to the root of drives (especially the OS boot drive, for obvious reasons)! I tried write and change access - that's not enough, it wants full. I also tried (as admin) creating an INFO directory on D with full access for users, no go! -- The only "fix" was to have users have full access to the install drive.


I filed an incident with tech support, #1013367, and the issue has now been logged as:

#NIM078674 The Feature Class To Coverage tool fails with error: Invalid Topology [NO_NEW_COVER]


Here's the error message:


Unable to create INFO directory D:\INFO
ERROR: Executing: FeatureclassToCoverage "test.shp POLYGON" E:\work\fctc_test\test_feat1 "0.001 Unknown" DOUBLE
Start Time: Wed Feb 29 14:06:33 2012
Reading Features...
Cracking Features...
ERROR 999999: Error executing function.
Invalid Topology [No new cover.]
Failed to execute (FeatureclassToCoverage).  

Fortunately there is a another fix besides setting ARCTMPDIR: Create an INFO folder in Desktop's bin folder with the Create Workspace tool (of course, you need write access to the install folders to do this). This will both 1) solve the problem of the Buffer tool failing and 2) avoid the need to set ARCTMPDIR and thus break Feature Class To Coverage when it tries to write to "\".


The "bin" folder location depends on your version of ArcGIS, and your install, the default locations are:;'

  • Arc 9.3: \Program Files\ArcGIS\bin (%ARCHOME%\bin)
  • Arc 10.x: \Program Files\ArcGIS\Desktop10.x\bin





Some topology oriented tools in ArcGIS (Buffer, Dissolve, Feature To Polygon) use the ArcGIS topology engine, which for some historical, arcane reason needs an INFO directory in ArcInstallDir\bin to exist to execute some routines successfully. If the INFO folder does not exist and you do not have write access to the install folder, these tools will fail (when they attempt to create that info directory).  Esri KB 29559 mentions several workarounds, one of which is to set ARCTMPDIR to make tools like Buffer create the info folder there. This works for me, but not for the Feature Class To Coverage tool, which tries to write to \ as described above.


ARCTMPDIR is an environment variable (kludge) used by ArcInfo Workstation to prevent CLEAN and BUILD having to create temp files over the network - and thus crash Workstation's topology engine because of the inherent latency of Windows networks (unix networks never had the problem!). If ARCTMPDIR is set to a folder the same as the ArcInfo Workstation install folder (say C:\temp\arcinfo), temp files used by CLEAN, etc. are written there instead of the current ArcInfo workspace folder.  As part of the discussion of the incident today, it was recommended to me that on the windows platform it's best to avoid the issue by doing workstation processing locally... and then copy the results back to the server (workspace, not coverage, at a time).


(Edited by Curtis Price to fix links corrupted by forum migration)