Introduction to finding places on a map

Finding places on a map is an integral part of a GIS. Geocoding is the process of transforming a description of a location—such as a pair of coordinates, an address, or a name of a place—to a location on the earth's surface. You can geocode by providing one location description at a time to zoom to a location on a map or convert an entire table that can be used for spatial analysis.

Find places on a map (geosearch)

Learn more about converting a table

You can quickly find the following types of locations (among others) and display them on a map:

  • Cities
  • Landmarks
  • Business names
  • Geographic locations
    • Mountains
    • Rivers
  • Addresses
    • Street intersections
    • House numbers with street names
    • Postal codes
  • Coordinates
    • Latitude and longitude
    • Values in the map document's coordinate system
    • Military Grid Reference System (MGRS)
    • United States National Grid (USNG) system
    • Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinate notation

No specific locators are needed in the project to find these x,y locations. ArcGIS Pro supports finding these x,y locations using the Locate pane using XY provider.

A locator that is created with the Create Locator tool or the Create Feature Locator tool and ArcGIS StreetMap Premium locators supports global search for coordinates (latitude/longitude, MGRS, DD, or USNG). Support for coordinate searching is disabled or enabled under Categories to support on the Geocoding options page of the Locator Properties dialog box for the locator.

The following describes how you can enter the x,y coordinates to use for searching.

  • You can enter the coordinates in longitude-latitude or latitude-longitude order. Remember, x is longitude (east-west), and y is latitude (north-south)—the same order in which coordinates appear on the status bar. Spherical coordinates aren't always specified in this order. For example, to plot 17.1325, -60.666 on the map, you need to know if these coordinates are in longitude-latitude or latitude-longitude order. The way to tell the order from the coordinates is if they contain E, W, N, or S characters to signify the hemisphere. The found candidate indicates if the result is a LongLat point or LatLong point.
  • When you are using decimal degrees (DD), degrees minutes seconds (DMS), or degrees decimal minutes (DM), coordinates can be entered using a minus sign before the numeric value to signify the western or southern quadrants or using E, W, N, or S characters before or after the numeric values.
  • Values in DMS and DM coordinates can be separated with spaces; with the °, ', and " special characters (such as when you paste coordinates that you have copied from other dialog boxes or applications that use those characters); or with both.
  • Regardless of whether you use DD, DMS, or DM on the dialog box, coordinates can be entered in any of these three formats and are automatically converted to match the specified format.
  • When using MGRS or USNG locations, make sure there are no spaces in the coordinate string.

Valid longitude-latitude inputs



45 W

45 S





45 30.5W

44 30.5S

45° 30'30"W


45 30 30 W

45 30 30 N

-45 30 30

45 30 30

45 30.50W

45 30.50



Valid MGRS and USNG inputs


100,000-meter square

0-digit coordinate


10,000-meter square

2-digit coordinate


1,000-meter square

4-digit coordinate


100-meter square

6-digit coordinate


10-meter square

8-digit coordinate


1-meter square

10-digit coordinate

Valid UTM coordinate notation input

17R 419230 2714967

1-meter square

13-digit coordinate

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