GNSS and location devices

You can connect a global navigation device, such as a GNSS receiver, to ArcGIS Pro to view your current location in a map or scene. After connecting the device to the application, you can configure the device for high-accuracy data collection, create features based on its location, and log data to a point feature class.

To use a GNSS receiver with ArcGIS Pro, you must connect the device to the application and configure it for use.

What is GNSS?

GNSS stands for Global Navigation Satellite System and is used to describe any satellite navigation system with global coverage. Satellite navigation systems relay highly accurate geolocation information to GNSS devices and receivers to determine your current location.

In most parts of the world, it is common to refer to global navigation as GPS (Global Positioning System). In practice, GPS is a singular system based in North America. There are an increasing number of satellite navigation systems available to the international public. It is recommended that you use the term GNSS to describe all systems, as it is the more internationally representative term.

ArcGIS Pro documentation primarily uses the term GNSS. When referencing other ArcGIS product documentation, GPS can be considered synonymous.


The following terms serve as reference material for ArcGIS Pro device location documentation. Some of the definitions may vary in other contexts.

  • GNSS—Global Navigation Satellite System. Represents all currently used global satellite systems, such as GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo.
  • GPS—Global Positioning System. The commonly used satellite system in North America.
  • NMEA—National Marine Electronics Association.
  • Device (location)—The machine, whether mobile or desktop based, that is used to track global position.
  • Accuracy buffer—The circular outline that surrounds the device's location. The buffer represents the likelihood that if the device is not exactly at the specified location, it is within this area.
  • Track-up—A term used in global navigation that refers to when the direction you are heading on a map is always at the top of the screen. The opposite of this is North-up, or the map's set angle of rotation.

Device location support in ArcGIS Pro

Similar to mobile products such as ArcGIS Field Maps, ArcGIS Pro can connect to a GNSS receiver and display the current location of the device. You can view your device's location in any map or scene. You can also create features as points and record changes to your location in a point feature class for further analysis. Many devices can be configured for use, but only one device can be displayed in a map at a time.

The location of the device is displayed with a blue point symbol. The heading (angle) or bearing (direction of motion) is represented by a white arrow in the symbol. This symbol cannot be changed.

Device location symbol

A gray circular outline around the location displays location accuracy. You can enable this outline to view the level of accuracy and precision of the device's location. If the accuracy threshold is surpassed, the blue point symbol becomes red, and warning messages are posted in the Device Location pane. As the position of the device changes, you can keep the location visible inside the view by enabling automatic panning controls.

Through the Device Location API, you can connect a GNSS receiver to ArcGIS Pro and visualize its data. For more information about using the API, see the ArcGIS.Desktop.Mapping namespace documentation.

Related topics