How to add lat, long coordinates from an Excel spreadsheet into ArcGIS?
If you have GPS data from the field or a long list of Excel lat long coordinates in a spreadsheet, giving them locations can be a daunting task for those starting out in ArcGIS.
That’s why we’ve made this easy-to-follow tutorial to guide you in the right direction.
Let’s look at a quick and easy approach to transform an Excel table into geographic data in ArcMap.
1 Convert degrees/minutes/seconds to decimal degrees
If you have latitude and longitude coordinates, you will have to prepare these columns in decimal degrees. Use this online decimal degrees converter or the conversion formula below.
Decimal Degrees = Degrees + (Minutes/60) + (Seconds/3600)
Please note: column headers should have no special characters and should be kept to a minimum.
2 Ensure data frame is set to your geographic coordinate system
In ArcGIS, right-click the Layers data frame in the table of contents. Select properties. In the coordinate system tab, expand geographic coordinate systems. Click world and select WGS 1984.
Now the data frame is set to WGS 1984 geographic coordinate system.
3 Add Excel lat long coordinates table to ArcMap
Now, add your excel data to ArcMap (file > add data). Navigate to your Excel spreadsheet and double-click the sheet with the lat long coordinates.
The Excel table will be added to ArcGIS and appear in the table of contents.
4 Display XY Data
Right click the table and select display XY data.
The X field should equal longitude.
The Y field should equal latitude.
Click OK. An event later will be created with your points.
5 Save as feature class
This XY data will not be saved in memory once ArcGIS is closed. To save the points data, you need to create a feature class or shapefile.
So right-click the event layer and export data (data > export data). Click “use the same coordinate system as the data layer”.
Save the file and you have just created a spatial file from an Excel spreadsheet.
5 Quick Steps:
1. Convert degrees/minutes/seconds to decimal degrees
2. Ensure data frame is set to WGS 1984
3. Add Excel table to ArcMap
4. Display XY Data
5. Save as feature class
Follow these quick 5 step guide and turn an Excel spreadsheet with latitude and longitude coordinates into spatial data.