Finding Latitude and Longitude for a Point

Question: Is there anyway to click on a point on a map (aerial photograph, shapefile, etc that has been projected in NAD 1983 UTM Zone 15N) and get a latitude and longitude value for that point? Without using the editor tool and creating a new point file? Thanks.

Answer: There are two ways (and probably even more than that) that you can do this — the one you choose will depend on how precise you need to be. If you just need approximate values, then right click on the name of the data frame in the table of contents and click Properties. On the General tab, set the display Units to Decimal Degrees (or Degrees Minutes Seconds – whichever you prefer). Then use the Selection tool to select and then zoom to the feature (of course, there are also many other ways to zoom in on the feature). Move your cursor over the feature and in the bottom right you will see the coordinates displayed in either DD or DMS, whichever you selected as the Display Units.

If you need to be more precise, then the best thing is to add the lat and long to the feature class. This is easy and does not require an edit session. Just open the attribute table of the point feature class and add a short integer field called Latitude. Then add another called Longitude. Right click the Latitude field and click Calculate Geometry. Set the Property to be the Y Coordinate of Point. Then do the same for the Longitude except select the X Coordinate of Point. Now, for any point feature in your feature class, you will have the exact latitude and longitude coordinates.

Formerly a Mapping Center Ask a Cartographer  Q & A.

About the author

Dr. Aileen Buckley is a cartographer who’s been at Esri since 2003. She finds and shares best practices for mapping and analysis with ArcGIS, which leads her to publish widely and present world-wide.


Next Article

Changing the Map Projection in ArcGIS Online

Read this article