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Create points from a table

Tutorial summary

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  • Video length: 1:32
  • This video was created with ArcGIS Pro 2.0.

Data that is spatial in nature is not always stored in a spatial data format. For example, street addresses and latitude-longitude coordinates identify geographic locations, but they are often stored in spreadsheets, databases, or text files. If you have geographic information stored as a table, ArcGIS Pro can display it on a map and convert it to spatial data.

In this tutorial, you'll create spatial data from a table containing the latitude-longitude coordinates of huts in a New Zealand national park. Huts in New Zealand are equivalent to cabins in the United States—they may or may not have sleeping bunks, kitchen facilities, electricity, and running water. The table of hut locations is stored as a CSV (comma-separated values) file. CSV files are a common, nonproprietary file type for tabular data.

  • Estimated time: 45 minutes
  • Software requirements: ArcGIS Pro

The tutorial steps in the online help reflect the look and capabilities of the current software release. If you have an earlier software version, use the offline help system to open the tutorial. To switch from the online to the offline help system, see About ArcGIS Pro Help. If you don't have ArcGIS Pro or ArcGIS Online, you can sign up for an ArcGIS free trial .

Open the project

Your study area will be Egmont National Park in the Taranaki region of New Zealand.

  1. Start ArcGIS Pro and sign in if necessary.
  2. On the start page, under your recent projects, click Open another project.

    If you already have a project open, click the Project tab on the ribbon. In the list of tabs on the left, click Open.

  3. On the Open project page, click Portal and click Browse Browse.
  4. On the Open Project dialog box, under Portal Portal, click All Portal All Portal.
  5. At the top of the dialog box, in the Search box, type Create points from a table tutorial and press Enter.
  6. In the list of search results, click Create points from a table to select the project package.

    If there is more than one project package with this name, make sure to select the correct one. In the upper right corner of the Open Project dialog box, click the Show/hide details panel button Show/hide details panel. The owner should be ArcGISProTutorials.

  7. Click OK.

    The project opens to the Taranaki region on New Zealand's North Island. The boundary of Egmont National Park is drawn with an orange outline. Mount Taranaki is in the center of the park.

    The active view is a 2D map named Egmont. There is also a 3D scene named Egmont 3D.

    Imagery map of Taranaki region in New Zealand

    The project is stored in your <user documents>\ArcGIS\Packages folder.

  8. On the Map tab, in the Navigate group, click Bookmarks Bookmarks. Under Egmont Bookmarks, click Egmont National Park to zoom in to the park.

Make a feature class from a CSV file

The CSV file is stored as an attachment in your project package. You'll add it to the map view as a table and convert it to a feature class with a geoprocessing tool.

  1. On the Map tab, in the Layer group, click Add Data Add Data.
  2. In the Add Data dialog box, in the directory, under Project, click Folders.
  3. In the browse window, double-click the Create_points_from_a_table_1 > commondata > userdata folders.
    Add Data dialog box

    The folder contains a CSV file named and an accompanying text file with metadata.

  4. Click Egmont_National_Park_Huts.csv to select it and click OK.

    The CSV file is added to the Contents pane under Standalone Tables.


    In a project package, files that can't be stored in a geodatabase, such as shapefiles, CSV files, and text files, are included as attachments. Within the project package folder structure, attachments are stored in the commondata > userdata folder.

  5. In the Contents pane, right-click Egmont_National_Park_Huts.csv and click Open Open Table.
    Table view of the CSV file

    The table's attributes include the name and type of hut, the number of people it accommodates, and its latitude-longitude coordinates in decimal degrees. Latitude-longitude coordinates (or some other set of x,y coordinate system values) are needed to create a feature class from a table.

  6. Close the table view.
  7. On the ribbon, click the Analysis tab. In the Geoprocessing group, click Tools Tools.
  8. In the Geoprocessing pane, in the search box, type XY Table to Point.

    The XY Table to Point script tool should be at the top of the list of search results.

  9. In the search results, click XY Table to Point to open the tool.
  10. In the tool parameters, click the Input Table drop-down list and click Egmont_National_Park_Huts.csv.
  11. Change the Output Feature Class name to ENP_Lodgings.

    ENP stands for Egmont National Park.

  12. If necessary, set the X Field to LONGITUDE and the Y Field to LATITUDE.
    Settings for the XY Table To Point tool

    You will leave the Z Field empty because the table doesn't contain elevation values for the huts.

    The Coordinate System is set to GCS_WGS_1984. This coordinate system is used by default because it is a common one for latitude-longitude values, not because it is known to be correct for the input table. In fact, it is the correct coordinate system, but you would need to look at the metadata for the CSV file to confirm this.

    Although the coordinate system is correctly set for the input table, you would like the output feature class to use the same local coordinate system used by the rest of your New Zealand data. You'll make a geoprocessing environment setting to project the output data to a different coordinate system.

  13. On the ribbon, click the Analysis tab if necessary. In the Geoprocessing group, click Environments Environment settings.
  14. In the Environments dialog box, under Output Coordinates, click the Output Coordinate System drop-down arrow and click Current Map [Egmont].
    Output Coordinate System setting

    The Output Coordinate System changes to NZGD 2000 New Zealand Transverse Mercator, the local coordinate system used by the map. When you run the XY Table To Point tool, the output data will automatically be projected to the NZGD 2000 New Zealand Transverse Mercator system.


    If your specified output coordinate system is not compatible with the input data coordinate system of the input data—that is, if the underlying geographic coordinate systems of the input and output datasets are different—you should apply a geographic transformation to get the most accurate coordinate values for the output data. In this case, you could set the NZGD_2000_To_WGS_1984_1 geographic transformation, but the difference in the output coordinates would be insignificant.

  15. Click OK on the Environments dialog box.
  16. In the Geoprocessing pane, click Run.
    Hut locations on map

    When the tool finishes, a new feature class is created layer named ENP_Lodgings is added to the map with points representing the hut locations. (The symbol color of your points may be different.) A corresponding feature class is created in the project geodatabase.

  17. In the Catalog pane, browse to Databases > create_points_from_a_table.gdb to see the new feature class.
    New feature class in the project geodatabase

Add metadata

You'll add an item description to the new feature class. An item description includes a summary and description of the data as well as tags to make the data searchable. It may also include data provider credits and usage restrictions.

  1. In the Catalog pane, right-click the ENP_Lodgings feature class and click View Metadata View Metadata.

    The catalog view opens and displays an empty item description for the ENP_Lodgings feature class.


    Your metadata style should be set to the default Item Description style. The metadata style is identified in italics at the bottom of the catalog view. If you need to change the style, click the Project tab on the ribbon and click Options. In the Options dialog box, under Application, click Metadata.

  2. On the ribbon, click the Home tab. In the Metadata group, click Edit Edit.
  3. For Tags, type (or copy and paste) the following keywords: cabins, hotels, huts, Egmont National Park, Taranaki, New Zealand.
  4. For Summary (Purpose), add the following text: Locations of huts, lodges, and hotels in Egmont National Park for planning hiking and ski trips.
  5. For Description (Abstract), add the following text: Features were created from a CSV file with latitude-longitude coordinates and projected to NZTM. The source coordinates were derived from measurements made by Peter Scott. Peter Scott’s data was published on May 13, 2015 and is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand license. Peter Scott’s dataset is more accurate than this dataset. For more information, see the online dataset Egmont National Park - Huts, accessible at Additional features in this dataset were digitized on the Esri World Imagery basemap.
  6. For Credits, add the following text: Peter Scott (;
  7. Under the Credits box, click New Use Limitation. For Use Limitation, add the following text: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand.

    You can add hyperlinks and apply formatting to the Description (Abstract) and Use Limitation fields. The hyperlinks will work in the catalog view, but not in the view in which you are currently editing metadata.

  8. On the ribbon, on the Metadata tab, in the Manage Metadata group, click Save Save.
  9. Close the ENP_Lodgings metadata view and close the catalog view.
  10. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click the Save button Save to save the project.

Examine the layer

You'll zoom in on a couple of features in the ENP_Lodgings layer to make sure they are actually located on buildings. You'll also review the layer's attribute table and properties.

  1. On the Egmont map, zoom in close on any point feature.
    Point located on hut
  2. Optionally, examine one or two other features.
  3. On the ribbon, click the Map tab. In the Navigate group, click Bookmarks Bookmarks. Under Egmont Bookmarks, click Egmont National Park.
  4. In the Contents pane, right-click the ENP_Lodgings layer and click Attribute Table Open Table.

    The table includes the attributes from the CSV table as well as an OBJECTID field and a Shape field.

  5. Close the table view.
  6. In the Contents pane, right-click the ENP_Lodgings layer and click Properties Properties.
  7. On the Layer Properties dialog box, on the General tab, change the layer name from ENP_Lodgings to Lodgings.
  8. Click the Source tab. Scroll down and expand Spatial Reference.
    Spatial reference properties

    The layer's coordinate system is NZGD 2000 New Zealand Transverse Mercator as you specified in the environment settings.

  9. Click OK on the Layer Properties dialog box.

    In the Contents pane, the layer name is updated.

  10. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click the Save button Save.

Symbolize the layer

You'll set a visibility range for the layer so the huts don't display at zoomed-out scales. You'll also enable scale-based sizing for the layer. This allows you to increase the symbol size as the map zooms in. Finally, you'll choose a symbol for the Lodgings layer that is easy to see on the imagery basemap.

  1. In the Contents pane, click the Lodgings layer to select it if necessary. On the ribbon, under Feature Layer, click the Appearance tab.
  2. In the Visibility Range group, click the drop-down menu next to Out Beyond Minimum Scale and click 1:500,000.

    If 1:500,000 is not a preset scale value in your drop-down list, type the value directly into the input box or choose a different value.

  3. In the Contents pane, click the symbol for the Lodgings layer to open the Symbology pane.
  4. In the Symbology pane, under Format Point Symbol, click the Gallery tab if necessary. In the scrolling box of symbols, click Square 1.
  5. Under Format Point Symbol, click the Properties tab and confirm that the Symbol tab Symbol is selected.
  6. Check the Enable scale-based sizing check box.

    Under the Size property, a slider appears. It has two size stops (short vertical bars) that represent the minimum and maximum map scales for which symbol sizes can be set.

  7. Hover over the left-most size stop.
    Scale-based sizing slider

    The first stop is set at 1:500,000. This is the smallest scale at which the layer is visible because of your visibility range setting.

  8. Hover over the other size stop.

    This stop is set at 1:1,000, the largest scale to which you can assign a symbol size. You can zoom in closer than 1:1,000 on the map, but the symbol size will not increase. The second stop is currently selected (blue). Above the slider, the size value for the selected stop is 10 pt.

  9. Change the Size to 12 pt.

    This will be the maximum size of your symbol.

  10. Click the first size stop to select it. The size value for this stop is currently 10 pt.
  11. Change the Size to 2 pt.

    When the map scale is 1:500,000, the Lodgings symbol will be 2 points in size. As you zoom in, the symbol size will gradually increase until it reaches a maximum size of 12 points.

  12. Click the Layers tab Layers.
  13. Under Appearance, change the Color to Anemone Violet.
    Color palette
  14. Change the Outline color to Gray 30%. Change the Outline width to 1.5 pt and press Enter. At the bottom of the Symbology pane, click Apply.
    Map view of huts with new symbol

    At your current map scale, the point symbols are small and the outline may not be noticeable at all.


    In ArcGIS Pro, thin lines are simulated with transparency when anti-aliasing is turned on (as it is by default). Typically, this is the best display effect. If you need to see a thin line at all scales, you can turn off anti-aliasing. To do this, click the Project tab and click Options. On the Options dialog box, under Application, click Display. Change the Antialiasing mode setting to None.

  15. Click the Map tab. In the Navigate group, click Bookmarks Bookmarks. Under Egmont Bookmarks, click Taranaki Region.

    The map zooms out to a regional scale and the Lodgings layer should not display.

  16. In the map scale box in the lower left corner of the map view, click the drop-down arrow and click 1:500,000.

    The layer displays and the features appear at their minimum size.

  17. Zoom in gradually and notice that the symbol size increases.
    Symbol on building at maximum size
  18. Go to the Egmont National Park bookmark.
  19. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click the Save button Save.

Add a feature interactively

The Lodgings layer has thirteen features: ten huts that belong to the Department of Conservation and three that belong to alpine clubs. In addition, there are two resort hotels inside the park that are not in the CSV file. In this section, you'll locate one of these hotels, Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge, and add it to the layer.

  1. On the ribbon, on the Map tab, in the Inquiry group, click Locate Locate.
  2. On the Locate pane, click the Settings tab. Confirm that the Esri World Geocoder is included in the list of locate providers and that it is enabled.

    A locate provider finds map locations from text descriptions or spatial coordinates. If you are signed in to ArcGIS Pro through an ArcGIS Online portal, your list should include XY provider and Esri World Geocoder.


    If you are signed in to ArcGIS Pro through an ArcGIS Enterprise portal, you may have a different locate provider that you can use to complete this section. If not, skip ahead to the View the layer in the 3D scene section.

  3. In the Locate pane, click the Locate tab.

    The website for Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge describes the lodge as being at the end of Manaia Road in Egmont National Park. It doesn't provide a street address.

  4. In the Locate pane, in the search box, type Manaia Road. Do not press Enter.
  5. In the drop-down list of suggestions, under Esri World Geocoder, click Manaia Rd, Egmont National Park, 4391, NZL.

    The map zooms in and a marker is placed at the end of Manaia Road. The complex of white buildings with brown rooftops next to the road is Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge.

    Map zoomed to the end of Manaia Road

    If you copy and paste the address instead of picking it from the drop-down list, your marker may appear in a different location on the road. If that happens, clear the search box and repeat steps 4 and 5.

  6. On the ribbon, click the Edit tab. In the Features group, click Create Create Features.
  7. In the Create Features pane, under the Lodgings heading, click Lodgings.
    Lodgings layer feature template

    The feature template of the Lodgings layer is selected. The template specifies the default symbol for new features (the purple square) and the default tool for creating new features (the Point Point tool).


    Both the Lodgings layer and the Egmont National Park layer are editable. You can control which layers are available for editing on the List By Editing List By Editing tab of the Contents pane.

  8. On the map, hover over Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge and click to create a point feature.
    Feature added to map

    The feature is created and remains selected. Now you'll add attribute values for the feature.

  9. On the Edit tab, in the Selection group, click Attributes Attributes.
  10. In the Attributes pane, with the Attributes tab selected in the middle of the pane, click next to NAME and type Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge. Press Enter.
  11. For TYPE, type Hotel and press Enter.
  12. For CAPACITY, type 24 and press Enter.

    You can leave <Null> values in the LATITUDE and LONGITUDE fields.

  13. On the Edit tab, in the Selection group, click Clear Clear Selected.

Add another feature

The second resort hotel in the park is the Stratford Mountain House. It's located on Pembroke Road but not at a well-defined part of the road. You'll locate it by its latitude-longitude coordinates.

  1. In the Locate pane, in the search box, clear the current expression. Type 174.12248, -39.306201 and press Enter.

    In the Locate pane, results are found both by the XY provider and the Esri World Geocoder.

    Results in the Locate pane

    The map zooms to the hotel's location and a marker is added.

  2. In the Locate pane, right-click the first result under Esri World Geocoder (designated by an A marker) and click Add To Feature Class Add To Feature Class.

    A point feature is added to the map at the marker location. The new feature is under the marker, so you may not be able to see it.

  3. In the Locate pane, clear the search box.

    The marker goes away and you can see the feature for the Stratford Mountain House.

  4. In the Attributes pane, click Select one or more features.
  5. On the map, click the point symbol for the hotel to select it.
  6. In the Attributes pane, replace the NAME with Stratford Mountain House and press Enter. For TYPE, type Hotel and press Enter. For CAPACITY, type 22 and press Enter.
  7. On the ribbon, on the Edit tab, in the Selection group, click Clear Clear Selected.
    Feature added to map
  8. In the Manage Edits group, click Save Save Edits. On the Save Edits prompt, click Yes.
  9. On the ribbon, click the Map tab and go to the Egmont National Park bookmark.
  10. In the Contents pane, right-click the Lodgings layer and click Attribute Table Open Table. Scroll to the bottom of the table.
    Attribute table of the Lodgings layer

    The table should have fifteen records, including records for the two features you just created.

  11. Close the table view.
  12. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click the Save button Save.

View the layer in the 3D scene

You can display 2D layers in 3D scenes. The scene's elevation source will automatically display the 2D features on the 3D surface. To explore the lodgings in a 3D view, you'll copy the Lodgings layer to the Egmont 3D scene.

  1. In the Contents pane, right-click the Lodgings layer and click Copy Copy.
  2. Make the Egmont 3D scene active by clicking its view tab.
  3. In the scene's Contents pane, right-click Egmont 3D and click Paste Paste.
  4. Zoom in close on any point feature.

    The symbols display as they would in a 2D map. In a 3D scene, they look too flat—like bits of colored paper stuck to the landscape.


    The scale-based sizing from the map is not used in the scene.

  5. In the Contents pane, drag the Lodgings layer from the 2D Layers heading and drop it on the 3D Layers heading.

    The layer now uses 3D drawing properties and the symbols appear to stand up on the surface. This effect is called billboarding.

  6. Explore the scene with the Explore tool Explore Tool or the navigator and the Egmont 3D Bookmarks.
    3D scene view
  7. Optionally, change the Lodgings symbol to a 3D symbol that you like.

    To see 3D symbols, open the Symbology pane. On the Gallery tab, scroll to the bottom of the symbol gallery.

    To access more 3D symbols, in the Catalog pane, on the Project tab, right-click Styles and click Add > Add System Style Add System Style. In the System Styles dialog box, expand 3D and select boxes to add styles. The symbols for the selected styles will appear in the Symbology pane gallery.

  8. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click the Save button Save.
  9. Close any open panes other than the Contents and Catalog panes.

A tabular dataset, such as a Microsoft Excel file or a CSV file, can be converted to spatial data in ArcGIS Pro as long as the table includes street addresses or spatial coordinates. This makes it possible to visualize and spatially analyze a wide variety of data—from customer lists to tables scraped from websites—that is spatial in nature but not yet spatially enabled.

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