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Supported notation formats

A number of formats are supported for reading and writing coordinate locations from a text string in ArcGIS Desktop. Coordinates with formatted notation can be used in geoprocessing tools, such as the Convert Coordinate Notation tool.

Note:
The following syntax is used in the examples and explanations below:
  • | means "or". For example, + | - means you can use either the + or - character.
  • [ ] denotes a choice list. For example, [ + | - | N | S] means you can use either a +, -, N, or S character.
  • < > denotes a value.

Note:

Localization is not supported for decimal characters or for hemisphere abbreviations. For example, only the period can be used for decimal, not a comma, and only the characters N,S,E,W can be used for hemisphere, not equivalent letters in other languages.

Degree-based formats

Degree-based formats must always be specified in the order latitude first (Y coordinate) then longitude (X coordinate). Specify hemisphere with +,-,N,S,E, or W. These can be mixed within a single latitude-longitude pair. If omitted, a value is assumed to be positive (N for latitude or E for longitude).

DD (decimal degrees)

Input format

<latitude> <coord-pair-separator> <longitude>

latitude

[ + | - | N | S ] <DD.dd> [ + | - | N | S ]

Case is ignored

longitude

[ + | - | E | W ] <DDD.dd> [ + | - | E | W ]

Case is ignored

coord-pair-separator

[space | / | \ | | | , ]

Can be more than one separator, for example, comma space, space space.

Latitude <DD.dd> and longitude <DDD.dd> values can be formatted as:

<degrees> [<decimal>] <fraction of degree> [<degree-mark>]

degrees

0 to 90 (latitude)

0 to +180 and 0 to -180 (longitude)

decimal

.

fraction of degree

0 to 99

degree-mark

Degree Sign ° (U+00B0)

Ring Above ° (U+02DA)

Masculine Ordinal Indicator º (U+00BA)

Circumflex Accent(Caret) ^ (U+005E)

Tilde ~ (U007e)

Asterisk * (U+002A)

Note:

Degree mark can be omitted.

Total length of a value cannot exceed 64 characters (including null end character).

Input examples

All of the following input examples are equivalent:

27.00N 087.00W27.00n 087.00w27.00N 087W+27.00 087W27N -87N27.00 W08727.00N/87W27.00N/87W27.00°N 087.00°W

Output format

When writing out decimal degree notation, leading zeroes are included and hemisphere letters are used.

Output examples

This is the form that ArcGIS outputs by default.

27.00N 087.00W27.00000N 087.00000W

DDM (degree minutes)

You cannot have multiple +/- signs within the DD MM.mmm format.

Input format

<latitude> <coord-pair-separator> <longitude>

latitude

[ + | - | N | S ] <DD MM.mmm> [ + | - | N | S ]

Case is ignored

longitude

[ + | - | E | W ] <DDD MM.mmm> [ + | - | E | W ]

Case is ignored

coord-pair-separator

[space | / | \ | | | , ]

Can be more than one separator, for example, comma space, space space.

Latitude <DD MM.mmm> and longitude <DDD MM.mmm> values can be formatted as:

<degrees> [<degree-mark>] [<separator>] <minutes> [<decimal>] <fraction of minute> [<minute-mark>]

degrees

0 to 90 (latitude)

0 to +180 and 0 to -180 (longitude)

degree-mark

Degree Sign ° (U+00B0)

Ring Above ° (U+02DA)

Masculine Ordinal Indicator º (U+00BA)

Circumflex Accent(Caret) ^ (U+005E)

Tilde ~ (U007e)

Asterisk * (U+002A)

separator

[ space | underscore | hyphen]

minutes

0 to 59

decimal

.

fraction of minute

digits

minute-mark

Minute Sign ' (U+2032)

Apostrophe ' (U+0027)

Note:

Degree and minute marks can be omitted.

Total length of a value can be up to a 64-character string (including null end character)

Input examples

All of the following input examples are equivalent:

27 54.00N 087 59.00W27 54.00n 087 59.00w27 54N 087 0W+27 54.00 087 59.00WN27 54.00 W087 59.0027 54.00N/87 59W27° 54.00’N 087° 59.00’W

Output examples

This is the normal form that ArcGIS outputs by default.

27.00N 087.00W27 00.00000N 087 00.00000W

DMS (degree minute seconds)

You cannot have multiple +/- signs within the DD MM SS.sss format.

Input format

<latitude> <coord-pair-separator> <longitude>

latitude

[ + | - | N | S ] <DD MM SS.sss> [ + | - | N | S ]

Case is ignored

longitude

[ + | - | E | W ] <DDD MM SS.sss> [ + | - | E | W ]

Case is ignored

coord-pair-separator

[space | / | \ | | | , ]

Can be more than one separator, for example, comma space, space space.

Latitude <DD MM SS.sss> and longitude <DDD MM SS.sss> values can be formalized as:

<degrees> [<degree-mark>] <separator> <minutes> [<minute-mark>] <separator> <seconds> [<decimal>] <fraction of second> [<second-mark>]

degrees

0 to 90 (latitude)

0 to +180 and 0 to -180 (longitude)

degree-mark

Degree Sign ° (U+00B0)

Ring Above ° (U+02DA)

Masculine Ordinal Indicator º (U+00BA)

Circumflex Accent(Caret) ^ (U+005E)

Tilde ~ (U007e)

Asterisk * (U+002A)

separator

[ space | underscore | hyphen]

minutes

0 to 59

minute-mark

Minute Sign ' (U+2032)

Apostrophe ' (U+0027)

seconds

0 to 59

decimal

"."

fraction of second

digits

second-mark

Quotation Mark " (U+0022)

Diaeresis ¨ (U+00A8)

Double Acute Accent ˝ (U+02DD)

Note:

Degree, minute, and second marks can be omitted.

Total length of a value can be up to a 64-character string (including null end character)

Input examples

All of the following input examples are equivalent:

27 18 00.00N 087 00 00.00W271800.00N 0870000.00W

A packed format, DDMMSS.sss, is also supported.

Output example

This is the normal form that ArcGIS outputs by default.

27 18 00.00N 087 00 00.00W

Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM)

When working with a UTM notation, the zone plus a letter is specified. The letter usually represents a latitude band, as it does with MGRS/USNG. In some cases, N or S can be used to represent a North or South UTM zone. With a mixed list, UTM notation is always assumed to be using the latitude band.

If a UTM notation is given as a string with no spaces, the easting and northing portion is split in half. If there is an odd number of digits, the extra digit is assigned to the northing portion. The easting and northing values must be integers.

11S3455674321459 = 11S 345567 4321459
11N345567432145 = 11N 345567 432145
Caution:

When the UTM notation contains no embedded spaces, an even number of digits may lead to an ambiguous case. For instance, the easting might have five digits while the northing has seven, but the software will interpret both easting and northing as having six digits.

If there are embedded spaces, the easting and northing values are expected to be separated by a space and can optionally include decimal points.

This format is not supported:

11S 3455674321459

If a comma is encountered, the string format is expected to be Easting,Northing,ZoneBand.

554577,4183342,10S

Decimal points are allowed. Any spaces in this type of format are ignored.

554577.3,4183342.7,10S

Input examples

All of the following input examples are equivalent:

11S 345567 432145911S3455674321459554577,4183342,10S554577.3,4183342.7,10S554577, 4183342, 10S

Output example

11T 561192 4832027

Military Grid Reference System (MGRS)

See DMA Technical Manual 8358.1, Chapter 3 for more information.

ZZBGGEEEEENNNNN

  • ZZ: UTM Zone
  • B: Latitude Band
  • GG: Letters representing a 100 K grid square (Universal Polar Stereographic area for polar regions)
  • EEEEE: X Coordinate (Easting)
  • NNNNN: Y Coordinate (Northing)
Note:

Together, the first three letters, ZZB, are sometimes called the Grid Zone Designator.

Spaces are allowed on input, but not between the easting and northing values. Eastings are followed by Northings. The number of digits used for eastings and northings must match.

MGRS coordinates may be rounded to reflect lesser precision. For example:

  • 15SWC8081751205 is at one-meter refinement.
  • 15SWC80825121 is at 10-meter refinement.
  • 15SWC808512 is at 100-meter refinement.
  • 15SWC8151 is at 1000-meter refinement.

MGRS, depending on the datum or ellipsoid, will use a new or old style. Old style uses an alternate lettering scheme. USNG, a simplified version of MGRS, only uses the new format even when based upon a datum, NAD 1927, which in MGRS uses the old style. Generally, one scheme is used for WGS 1984 and NAD 1983, and the other is used for older ellipsoids associated with local datums. For example, this coordinate is on WGS 1984:

15SWC8081751205

When it is converted to NAD-27 datum, Clarke 1866 ellipsoid, its value is:

15SWN8083350993

Universal Polar Stereographic (UPS) version divides the antarctic region into A and B and the arctic region into Y and Z. No zone number is given.

ZAK4500045522 = 169 36 50.2E 87 45 7.2N = (169.6139E 87.7520N)
ZGG7902863771 = 85:40:30.0 N 85:40:30.0 W
ATN2097136228 = 85:40:30.0 S 85:40:30.0 W 

Input examples

All of the following input examples are equivalent:

15SWC808175120515S WC 8081751205ZAK4500045522

Output examples

No space is allowed on output, per standard.

15SWC8081751205ZAK4500045522

United States National Grid (USNG)

The USNG coordinate notation format is a simplified version of MGRS based on the United States National Grid. For more information, see Standard for a United States National Grid, FGDC-STD-011-2001.

USNG allows the use of only two geographic coordinate systems: NAD 1983 (equivalent to WGS 1984) or NAD 1927. USNG uses NAD 1983 by default. If you're using NAD27 you should explicitly specify it, for example, 18SUJ2306 (NAD 27). Unlike MGRS, USNG applies the same lettering scheme to its 100 km squares regardless of the geographic coordinate system. MGRS shifts the northing letter 10 places when using the old style which includes NAD 1927. Thus, MGRS and USNG, if based on NAD 1927, cannot be included in a mixed list of notations.

USNG allows spaces, for example, 18T WL 807 046, unlike MGRS.

USNG only covers the United States, including outlying territories and possessions. MGRS is defined for the whole world—in the latitude range 80°S and 84°N it is defined in terms of UTM, but outside this range it is defined in terms of Universal Polar Stereographic (UPS). USNG, because of its limited range, has no need of UPS and is defined entirely in terms of UTM.

Input examples

All of the following input examples are equivalent:

11SMT824647520711S MT 82464 75207

Output example

11S MT 82464 75207

World Geographic Reference System (GEOREF)

GEOREF is based on longitude and latitude and divides the world first into 15 by 15 degree cells that are lettered. Each 15 by 15 degree cell is then divided into 1 by 1 degree cells, also lettered. Each 1 by 1 degree cell can be divided into 60 by 60 minutes as shown in the output example below. Further subdivisions are allowed to 0.01 minutes.

For more information, see Grid Information.

Input example

PGAM16281221

Output example

PGAM1628

Global Area Reference System (GARS)

GARS is based on longitude and latitude and divides the world into 30 minute by 30 minute cells. The first three digits represent a 30 minute wide longitude band. The fourth and fifth letters represent a 30 minute tall latitude band. Each 30 by 30 minute cell can be divided into four 15 by 15 minute cells with the 15 by 15 minute cells further divided into nine 5 by 5 minute cells. Converting from GARS, the lower left of the represented square is used to calculate degree-based coordinates.

For more information, see Global Area Reference System.

Input examples

391JL41391JL

Output example

391JL41

Mixed Notation Formats

There are some further requirements when converting a set of mixed notation strings. Some notation formats cannot be determined effectively.

Any list of mixed notation formats must use the same geographic coordinate system (datum). If the GCS is not explicitly specified, WGS 1984 is assumed.

MGRS, depending on the datum or ellipsoid, will use a new or old style. Old style uses an alternate lettering scheme. USNG, a simplified version of MGRS, only uses the new format even when based upon a datum, NAD 1927, which in MGRS uses the old style. If both MGRS and USNG notation strings based on NAD 1927 are in a single list, it is impossible to convert correctly into another coordinate type or notation.

When working with a UTM notation, the zone plus a letter is specified. The letter usually represents a latitude band, as it does with MGRS/USNG. In some cases, N or S can be used to represent a North or South UTM zone. With a mixed list, UTM notation is always assumed to be using the latitude band.

GARS is assumed to be lower left (not center).

DD.MMSSsss not supported (ambiguous with DD.dddddd or DD.MMmmm).

When specifying all degree notation like DD.dddd, DDMM.mmmm, DDMMSS.ssss, or DD MM SS.ssss, both latitude and longitude values must use the same format.

You can mix +/- or NSEW, but it must occur at the beginning or end of the value (dd mm ss.ssss-).

You cannot have multiple +/- signs within the DD MM.mmm or DD MM SS.ssss formats.