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Add x,y coordinate data as a layer

You can add tabular data that contains geographic locations in the form of x,y coordinates to your map. If the table also contains z-coordinates, such as elevation values, you can add tabular data as 3D content to your scene. Coordinates describe points on the earth's surface, such as the location of fire hydrants in a city or the points where water samples were collected. You can easily collect coordinate data using a GPS.

To add x,y coordinates to your map, the source table must contain at least two numeric fields: one for the x-coordinate and one for the y-coordinate. A field for the z-coordinates that enables 3D geometry is optional. The values can represent any coordinate system and units such as latitude and longitude or meters. If the fields are not numeric, such as coordinate values in degrees, minutes, and seconds (for example, -120 13 58), the coordinates will be converted and displayed as decimal degrees.

After you've added the table to your map or scene, it becomes an x,y event layer and behaves in the same way as other point feature layers. For instance, you can display it, symbolize it, set the visible scale, or display a subset of features that meet some criteria. In 3D, you can also change properties such as the layer's vertical exaggeration or its offset from an elevation surface. However, if the table on which an x,y event layer is based does not have an ObjectID field, such as a delimited text file, you won't be able to perform certain tasks on the layer. For example, you will not be able to select features, navigate between the table and the map, edit attributes, or define relates. If you want to be able to do these things, export the x,y layer to a feature class to create a fully functional feature class with an ObjectID field.

Add x,y coordinate data to the map

  1. On the Map tab, in the Layer group, click the Add Data drop-down menu, and click XY Event Data XY Event Data. If the standalone table is already in the map, you can right-click it in the Contents pane and click Display XY Data Display XY Data.
  2. This opens the Make XY Event Layer geoprocessing tool. Specify the parameters and click Run Run to execute the tool.

Export an x,y layer as a feature class

To save the contents of an x,y layer as a feature class, export it using geoprocessing.

  1. Select the x,y layer in the Contents pane.
  2. Under Feature Layer, on the Data tab, in the Export group, click Export Features Export Features.

This opens the Copy Features geoprocessing tool. Specify the parameters and click Run Run to execute the tool.

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