Display the device location in a map

After connecting a GNSS (GPS) device to your machine, you can view and track the current location of the device in any map or scene. Once you enable the map or scene to show the device's location, you can track the movement of your device and use it to log updates to a point feature class.

While viewing the current location of the device in your map or scene, you can open the Device Location pane to view important details about the GNSS device's signal, accuracy, and position.

View your location

To view your device's location in a map or scene, complete the following steps:

  1. In a map or scene, on the View tab, in the Device Location group, click the top half of the Enable Location split button Enable Location.

    Your location appears on the map or scene. The Device Location tab appears on the ribbon to provide access to additional controls.

  2. Click Pan to Location Pan to Location to navigate the map to the area where the device is located.

The Accuracy threshold parameter, which is set in the device location options, controls the appearance of the point symbol that represents the device's location. If the device has a clear signal and the required accuracy conditions are met, the symbol is a blue circle with a white arrow inside showing the direction, or heading, of the device. You can turn on a circular outline (called the accuracy buffer) to show the level of accuracy of the signal.

Accuracy is affected by characteristics of the surrounding landscape and the number of available satellites. If accuracy conditions cannot be met due to a poor signal or insufficient information, the blue circle symbol turns red. A warning message appears in the Device Location pane to alert you of the condition of the signal.

The symbol representing the device's location cannot be changed. Additionally, the device location only appears in the map or scene that was active when location was enabled. You must repeat the steps above to enable location for any additional map or scene.


In scenes, the absolute z-value is used to display the location marker's current elevation.

Configure location display settings

The Device Location tab contains tools and settings for use with GNSS navigation or data collection. You can use these settings to determine how the canvas displays as the location changes or moves around the map or scene.

To get started, check the Show Location check box to draw the device's location on the map. This setting is checked by default. You can turn it on or off for the current map or scene view at any time. Because the device is still connected to the application, you can continue to use its signal to interact with the view.

Check the Accuracy Buffer check box to show an outer circle around the device location point symbol on the map. This outer circle represents the area in which your device is most likely positioned. A larger circle means there is less certainty (or a weak signal). The accuracy buffer is turned off when Show Location is unchecked.


The accuracy buffer may appear pixelated around its edges. You can smooth the display of the buffer by adjusting the antialiasing settings in the application options. See Set display options for more information.

Automatic panning modes

After your map is enabled to display the device's location, you can manually navigate around the map to display your device's location. Under Map, on the Device Location tab, in the Navigation group, click Zoom to Location Zoom to Location to zoom the map to the current location. Similarly, click Pan to Location Pan to Location to move the map or scene to the device's location without changing the view's zoom level.

Optionally, you can turn on automatic panning modes. The modes change the view automatically every time your location changes. Click the Keep at Center button Keep at Center to enable the setting, and click the button again to turn off the setting. When this mode is active, the location of the device always stays at the center of the map. The map updates periodically as new location information is received.

To pan the view automatically only when you move beyond the extent of the map, click Keep within View Keep within View to make this mode active. The map moves the device's location to the center of the map to keep the current location within the view.

Click the Track-up Mode button Track-up Mode to adjust the map or scene's heading so that the top of the map or scene view is always facing the same direction as the device. Click the button again to return the view to the map's default degree of rotation (in most cases, this is North-up).

When an automatic panning mode is active, changes to the view's extent are not saved to your navigation history. You cannot navigate to the previous or next extent. If you manually pan around or zoom in or out of the view, any of the above modes are turned off automatically.

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