Is there a way for ArcGIS Desktop to populate a field automatically when a new point is dropped on the map?

We have our map in State Plane Feet, and we want to the database to automatically add WGS XY coordinates to fields in the table when a new point is added.

Something like a calculated field, but always there?

  • For reference, QGIS has a plugin that does these automatic calculations. It's called AutoFields. Besides geometric properties (area, perimeter, x coordinate, etc.), you can also set custom expressions (e.g., Field1 + Field2, Area/10000, etc.). – Germán Carrillo Sep 20 '16 at 2:55

I'm not aware of out-of-the-box functionality within ArcMap that dynamically adds X/Y coordinate fields when you add a point. However, you can use the tool Add XY Coordinates both manually and programatically (Python) if you want. For example, you could create an automated task to run Add XY Coordinates on the layer(s) you want on a daily/weekly/monthly basis that will add/update the XY fields.

  • So there is no trigger like functionality to features? – masterofnone Aug 22 '12 at 20:58
  • They only one I'm aware of is that you can select an attribute while actively digitizing that is symbolized uniquely and it will add that attribute to your new features. E.g., a Name field that has Smith and Jones symbolized differently in the layer. You can choose Smith or Jones and it will auto-populate that field in the next feature you digitize. – Baltok Sep 5 '12 at 18:06

Baltok's option is probably what you are looking for, but you can also use XTools to populate all your records with XY. The tool is called Add XY Coordinates and its a free tool within XTools.

  • 1
    It is likely that @Baltok was referring to the Add XY Coordinates Tool that is part of the core package, so you do not need to add an extension to do it. – Get Spatial Aug 22 '12 at 16:16

This is an old question, but thought I would provide an possible answer. If you are using ArcSDE (e.g. with MS SQL Server, Oracle, or PostGIS), you can set up a database trigger to automatically populate the values in x and y fields whenever a new record is added (inserted) or edited. There is an example on this post here for case of MS SQL Server: Populate X and Y fields in SDE Point Data Using SQL trigger Although note that the example would only trigger when a new record is inserted. I would recommend also triggering when records are updated, so that if you say need to shift a point it will recalculate the coordinates.

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