Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a list of lat/long coordinates in .xlsx format. I imported this table into ArcMap, but when I plot the points, they are not showing up in the proper place. Instead of showing up in South Africa, the points are showing up somewhere the Gulf of Guinea.

In GoogleMaps, when I get the coordinates for the area where ArcMap is plotting my data, I get somewhere around (-0.418588, 2.013222).

Using Add XY data, I am setting the X to longitude and the Y to latitude. I am using the WGS_1984_Web_Mercator_Auxiliary_Sphere coordinate system.

Sample data:

latitude    longitude
-33.49      18.68
-26.56      25.82
-33.38      20.23
-26.23333   28.13333
-34.31667   19.88333
-26.11667   28.1
-32.36667   27.56667

How can I get these points to show up in South Africa, where they belong, as opposed to in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean?

share|improve this question

The WGS_1984_Web_Mercator_Auxiliary_Sphere coordinate system is a PROJECTED coordinate system, its units are METERS. Your coordinates are read in meters so they fall near the origin of the coordinate system which is the meeting of the equator and the Greenwich meridian. If you want to map Lat/Long coordinates (degrees), use a GEOGRAPHIC coordinate system (WGS_1984).

share|improve this answer

Your project (*.mxd) can be projected in any projection you want, but the coordinates of Google Earth are in Geographic (WGS84). So when you plot your points must define the correct projection. Then you can export it to shapefile and reproject to the project projection system.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.