I have a .csv file with multiple well locations in Australia. The data is in GDA 1994, although I have put in the easting and northings into GIS manually in UTM Zone 52S and it plots them right where they belong. Among the data columns are three different type of coordinates: lat/long in d m s; easting and northing in meters; and lat/long in decimal degrees. I can manually enter a well's coordinates with the easting and northing and they plot where they should just fine. I have around 3000 wells so manually entering them all will take forever.

Unfortunately, when I bring in the .csv, right click, and go to Display XY Data the easting and northing columns/fields are not available. Both lat-long fiels show up, but of course they plot incorrectly. I have tried different coordinate systems in the base map, doesn't work. I have tried just bringing them in, then projecting them. No surprise, that didn't work. I even tried deleting all the other columns except the easting, northing, and name. Then nothing was available.

Any ideas as to why it would not want the easting and northing?

The map coordinate system is set to UTM, so I don't understand.

  • 4
    Can you include some of the problem data in your question? It sounds like your easting/northing fields are not being recognized by ArcGIS as numeric fields, maybe you have some text values or spaces in those fields?
    – Dan C
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 18:11
  • Turns out that if I format the cells in the easting and northing columns to have no decimal points GIS will then recognize it.
    – moendopi
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 20:16

1 Answer 1


Sounds like your easting and northing fields are not being recognized by ArcGIS as numeric fields. When you use the Display XY Data command, ArcGIS only displays numeric fields in the drop-downs for X and Y coordinate values. There are a few things you can try to fix it:

  1. Make sure there are no text characters in any records in those fields. This includes empty spaces before or after your numeric values.
  2. Strip your field names down: eliminate any spaces, special characters like slashes, quotation marks, etc.
  3. Bring your CSV into a spreadsheet program like Excel or Calc, format those fields as numeric, and save it as a spreadsheet file that Arc can understand, like .XLS. Then import that instead of the CSV.
  • Thanks! As it turns out, GIS didn't like that I had my northings and eastings left as floating point values, so I told Excel to have no decimal places and it works.
    – moendopi
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 18:04

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