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Prepare SharePoint data

ArcGIS Maps for SharePoint allows you to add content to the ArcGIS Maps web part from several sources, including SharePoint lists in your site collection, external SQL server tables, and ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise. Before you can add data to the map, the list items must be spatially enabled (geocoded) using the ArcGIS Maps workflows. Geocoding is the process of taking data, such as an address, and converting it to a coordinate that corresponds to a location in a coordinate system.

ArcGIS Maps for SharePoint includes two workflows to help you geocode different types of data:

  • ArcGIS Maps Locate workflow
  • ArcGIS Maps Connect workflow (for SharePoint on-premises only)

The following table provides information about how to geocode different types of data.

Data sourceProcess to add to a map

SharePoint list with address data

Run the ArcGIS Maps Locate workflow. See Geocode lists containing address or place name data.

This process consumes ArcGIS service credits.

SharePoint list with place names such as U.S. city, U.S. state, and World country

Run the ArcGIS Maps Locate workflow. See Geocode lists containing address or place name data.

SharePoint list with coordinate data

Add the ArcGIS Location field to the existing list. See Geocode lists containing coordinate data.

External SQL Server tables

Run the ArcGIS Maps Connect workflow to create a connection to the external content. The ArcGIS Maps Connect workflow includes the ArcGIS Maps Locate workflow. See Connect to external data.

ArcGIS (ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise)

No geocoding necessary. See Add data from ArcGIS.

ArcGIS Maps Locate workflow

The ArcGIS Maps Locate can geocode SharePoint lists that contain the following location types:

  • Address—In the United States, address data is comprised of street name, city, state, ZIP Code, and country. There are similar address elements in other countries. The more address elements your data contains, the more accurate your results will be. You can find a complete list of countries for which there is address coverage in the supported countries link on the World geocoding service overview page.
  • US city, State, ZIP code, World city, and Country—Cities (US city and World city) are added to the map as points. States, ZIP codes, and Countries are added to the map as polygons, which represent both the shape and the location of the place. When entering World countries, you can use the Geonames country codes as a reference for accepted spelling variations.
  • Custom location types—This feature allows you to use a hosted service from ArcGIS Online to specify a location type. For example, if your organization has its own boundaries (water districts, sales districts, zoning boundaries) shared on ArcGIS Online, you can map your spreadsheet data using those locations instead of the default location types.

The ArcGIS Maps Locate workflow requires a connection to the ArcGIS platform to access the ArcGIS World geocoding service for geocoding addresses. By default, the ArcGIS Maps Locate workflow connects to, but you can change this connection string to point to a ArcGIS Enterprise instance by editing the ArcGIS connection URL. If you're connecting to a ArcGIS Enterprise portal instance, the default locator of your portal instance is available when running the ArcGIS Maps Locate workflow.


If you're connecting to a ArcGIS Enterprise instance and do not see the fields populate on the Choose the columns with location information page of the ArcGIS Maps Locate workflow, set the geocoding service to be available to Everyone.

When the ArcGIS Maps Locate workflow executes on a list, it adds new columns to the list. For point items, ArcGIS Location, ShapeX, and ShapeY columns are added; for line and polygon items, an ArcGIS Location and single Shape column are added. The ShapeX and ShapeY (or Shape) fields store the geographic coordinate data for the list item. The ArcGIS Location field stores the geometry for the list item in JSON format; this can be a point, line, or polygon, and embeds an interactive map in each item's form, which allows you to view and manipulate an item's location. To remove these columns, use the List Settings page for the list.

For point features, ArcGIS Maps Location, ShapeX, and ShapeY columns added to the list

ArcGIS Maps Connect workflow

Business data often resides in many places. ArcGIS Maps for SharePoint leverages SharePoint's Business Connectivity Services (BCS) to retrieve data stored in Microsoft SQL Server (including SQL Server Express) and pull it in to SharePoint. BCS creates an external content type in SharePoint that allows for read and write access to the connected table. This means that not only can SQL Server external content be added to a connected list in SharePoint, but changes made to the list by the ArcGIS Maps Connect workflow—including location information and enriched attributes—are written back to the original table. The ArcGIS Maps Connect workflow results in a regular SharePoint list, not an external list. That said, the fields created from the SQL database are of an external type, and any edits made to these fields in SharePoint cannot be passed back to the database. SharePoint only passes back the fields it has created, such as those created for the ArcGIS Maps Locate workflow or geoenrichment.

The ArcGIS Maps Connect workflow creates a connected list—a SharePoint list that maintains a connection to the underlying SQL server database. The SharePoint Business Connectivity Service (BCS) uses SharePoint timer jobs to maintain and update the connection between the SQL Server database and the connected SharePoint list. By default, the timer job runs once every hour, but you can change this setting in the SharePoint Central Administration.


If you are using the ArcGIS Maps Connect workflow as a Windows service, you must manually restart the SharePoint Timer Service after you install ArcGIS Maps for SharePoint.

The ArcGIS Maps Connect workflow walks you through the process of connecting to your SQL Server database, selecting the applicable table, creating the connected list, geocoding the list, and enriching the list with demographic and other contextual data-all without custom code or programming. After you create the connected list, you can add the list data to the ArcGIS Maps web part.

Import Excel spreadsheet data

There are several best practices for importing Excel spreadsheets that will be used with ArcGIS Maps for SharePoint:

  • Your spreadsheet must be formatted as an Excel table.
  • Ensure your spreadsheet contains no blank columns or rows.
  • Ensure each column has a header (title).
  • When you use a list that was created by importing an Excel spreadsheet, be aware that SharePoint takes the first text column in your spreadsheet and sets that as the title field with a hyperlink to the original spreadsheet. The ArcGIS Maps web part does not include hyperlinked fields when adding data to the map (that is, content in the title field will not appear in pop-ups). This means that you may need to modify your default list view in SharePoint to include the appropriate fields for displaying information in pop-ups and for connecting web parts
  • Use Internet Explorer to import data from an Excel spreadsheet; Chrome and Firefox browsers do not support importing Excel data into SharePoint.

If you are new to creating and working with lists in SharePoint, see the following guides for more information: