Add x,y coordinate data as a layer

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 collect coordinate data directly using a GNSS device, or you can obtain tabular data that contains geographic locations in the form of x,y coordinates from a variety of data sources. You can then add that tabular data to a map. If the table also contains z-coordinates, such as elevation values, you can add the tabular data as 3D content to a scene.

To add x,y coordinates to a map, use the XY Table To Point tool, which creates a feature class from the tabular data and adds a layer based on that feature class to the current map or scene.

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 are converted and displayed as decimal degrees.

Once you add the table to your map or scene, it becomes a point feature layer. You can display, symbolize, set the visible scale, or display a subset of the layer's features that meet some criteria. In 3D, you can also change properties such as the layer's vertical exaggeration (extrusion) or its offset from an elevation surface.

Add x,y coordinate data to a map or scene

Complete the following steps to add x,y coordinate data to a map or scene:

  1. On the Map tab, in the Layer group, click the XY Table To Point button XY Table to Point. If the stand-alone table is already in the map, you can right-click it in the Contents pane and click Create Points From Table > XY Table To Point XY Table to Point.
  2. The XY Table To Point geoprocessing tool opens in the Geoprocessing pane. Specify the parameters and click Run Run to execute the tool and create the point feature layer.

If you are working with tabular data that updates often, you may want to create an x,y event layer instead. On the Map tab, in the Layer group, click the Add Data drop-down menu, and click Create Points From Table > Make XY Event Layer Add XY Event.

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