Skip To Content

Location types

In this topic

When you add data from Microsoft Excel, choose the ArcGIS location type that best represents your information. Location information from Excel is used to create a relationship between your business data and the specified location type.

Default location types

The following default location types are available if your organization is using ArcGIS Online. If you're using Portal for ArcGIS, only the first two location types in the list (Address and Latitude, Longitude) are supported by default.

  • Address—Depending on the geographic region of your organization, address data can be comprised of any of the following: address, neighborhood, city, subregion, region, state, province, postal code, United States ZIP Code, country, and so on. The more address elements your data contains, the more accurate your results will be. The address elements can be in separate fields, or they can be contained in one field (single-line address). Both methods of finding addresses are supported, but the best results are obtained by using all address elements and storing them in separate fields.
    Note:
    • A map layer can contain a maximum of 1024 columns.
    • The Address location type is available only if your administrator has specified a geocoder for your organization. By default, ArcGIS Online uses the Esri World Geocode Service to locate addresses, but multiple geocoders can be specified, and any one of those can be set as the default geocoder. If you're using the World Geocode Service, see Geocode coverage for information about supported countries.

      Your ArcGIS administrator may impose user credit limits on some features, and you may receive a message stating that you have insufficient credits to perform a request. If so, contact your administrator.

  • Latitude, Longitude—Latitude and longitude values represent an X, Y coordinate location on the map. You can map X, Y coordinate data in either the World Geodetic Survey 1984 (WGS84) or the Web Mercator coordinate system. If your latitude (Y) values fall between -90 and 90 and the longitude (X) values range from -180 to 180, use WGS84. If your latitude and longitude values are in meters and have 6, 7, or 8 digits before (to the left of) the decimal point, use Web Mercator. You can also choose one of the many coordinate systems that ArcGIS supports; see Geographic coordinate systems for a detailed list.

    Alternatively, you can specify a custom coordinate system by choosing a map service or feature service from your ArcGIS organization that contains the spatial reference you want to use.

  • Standard administrative boundaries (only available with ArcGIS Online)—Standard administrative boundaries include states, provinces, United States ZIP Codes, postal codes, and countries. The administrative boundaries available to you are determined by your locale. States, provinces, postal codes, United States ZIP Codes, and countries are added to the map as polygons, which represent both the shape and the location of the place. By default, ArcGIS Maps for Office uses the Esri GeoEnrichment Service to find standard administrative boundaries, but multiple geocoders can be specified, and any one of those can be set as the default geocoder. If you're using the Esri GeoEnrichment Service, see GeoEnrichment coverage for more information.

Custom location types

If none of the default location types represent your data, you can specify a dynamic map service or a feature service from ArcGIS to use as a location type. For example, if your organization has its own boundaries (water districts, sales districts, or zoning boundaries), you can map your data using those locations instead of the default location types as long as there is a one-to-one relationship between the rows in your business data and the shapes in the service used as a location type. ArcGIS Maps for Office supports feature services and map services.

For more information about configuring a custom location type, see Configure a custom geocoder in the ArcGIS Maps for Office Installation Guide.

For more information about adding a location to use with your map, see Add a custom location type.

Custom coordinate systems

To use a spatial reference other than the standard WGS, Web Mercator, or other well-known coordinate system, you can specify a map service or feature service from your ArcGIS organization and import its coordinate system to display your data on a map. For detailed information, see Add a custom coordinate system.

Choose a location type

When you use ArcGIS Maps for Office to plot your data on the map, it's important to choose the correct location type.

Address and Latitude, Longitude

When you choose the Address location type, points are generated using the Esri World Geocoder by default, but your ArcGIS administrator may also have configured other geocoders for your organization and set one of those as the default.

For the Latitude, Longitude location type, data from the identified X and Y location columns is used to generate points.

Latitude, Longitude location type

Standard administrative boundaries and custom types

When you choose any standard administrative boundary or custom location type, the appropriate shapes are located and retrieved using the specified column or columns for the chosen location type. This is done by associating the rows of data with the location type through a common column, known as a key. ArcGIS Maps for Office typically uses the GeoEnrichment Service to locate standard administrative boundaries, but your ArcGIS administrator may also have configured other geocoders for your organization and set one of those as the default.

The name of the column in your data does not have to match the column name in the location type; however, the information in the column must be in the same order to produce a match. When a row of data cannot be located—that is, the shape cannot be retrieved from the location type—it's assigned a null shape and is not drawn on the map. The following table shows the supported keys for each location type:

Location typeShape typeSupported keys

US State

Polygon

The following is required:

  • State—State name. Can be a full name, two-letter abbreviation, or the state FIPS code (for example, "New York", "NY" or 36)

US ZIP Code

Polygon

One of the following is required:

  • ZipCode—ZIP Code (for example ("92373")
  • ZipCodePlus4—ZIP Code + 4 (for example, "92373-8100")

World City

Point

The following is required:

  • City—City name (for example, "Budapest")

Optionally, the following can be specified:

  • Country—Country name or ISO-3166 alpha 2 code (for example, "France" or "FR")

Country

Polygon

The following is required:

  • Country—Country name or ISO-3166 alpha 2 code (for example, "France" or "FR")

Custom

Point, line, or polygon (determined by selected map or feature service layer)

Configured by administrator on ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS.

Specified for use in ArcGIS Maps for Office when adding a layer to a map. See Add a custom location type.

When locating data using standard administrative boundaries or a custom location type, it's important to ensure that there is a one-to-one relationship between the rows of input data and the shapes in the chosen location type. In a one-to-one relationship, each row of input data corresponds to a single shape on the map. In the following example, each row of input data (Profit by state) corresponds to one U.S. state; the State column represents the unique key. The shape for each row of input data can therefore be easily determined and drawn on the map. In this example, a single polygon shape corresponding to each row in the Profit by state input data (for example, Arizona) is drawn.

One-to-one relationship example

Choosing an inappropriate location type can cause unexpected results. This is because the wrong location type often leads to a many-to-one or a one-to-many relationship between the input data and the shapes in the chosen location type.

In some cases, where your data contains duplicate areas such as multiple ZIP Codes in a state, you can choose to aggregate the data to summarize the values of the locations. If you choose not to aggregate the data, features will be rendered on the map stacked on one another. In the following example, the input data shows profit by ZIP Code. The data also contains U.S. state information. Here, ZIP Codes represent the unique key in the input data. Many ZIP Codes are found in any given U.S. state. If the US State location type is chosen—that is, if State is treated as the unique key—each input row will be located to its associated state, creating a many-to-one relationship between the rows of input data and the shapes in the location type. This means that polygon shapes corresponding to the many input rows will be drawn directly on top of one another on a map. In this example, Arizona will be drawn four times.

Many-to-one relationship example