I wanted to tie toegther some data from my database table to an ArcGis map. The table contained an Object_Id, GIS_LATITUDE and GIS_LONGITUDE column. I added the feature layer based on the table (x as GIS_LONGITUDE, y as GIS_LATITUDE) and was surprised when my points, instead of being based in California, ended up just off the African coast.
I looked at the details of each point and found that the decimal fields had been translated to be meters away from 0,0 instead of degrees away. So my point:
-119.789 36.793 Meters
I'm new to ArcGis for desktop and can't seem to find an option that will change the projection to use degrees. Most frustrating is that both the feature layer and the topographical layer is using the same Mercator projection.