I have with me a polygons of a country, state and city in geographic coordinate system. A grid of latitudes and longitudes is to be created to be displayed within the polygons. The interval between the graticule grid lines will vary depending on the extent (country/state/city) for which the grid is to be created. The grid needs to be a shapefile or feature class since a conversion to kml/kmz is later required.

Are there any tools in ArcMap that will allow to achieve this?

  • 2
    Have you looked at the Make Grids And Graticules Layer (Cartography) tool? resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.2/index.html#//…
    – Aaron
    May 8, 2014 at 15:13
  • A couple of things on using the Fishnet Tool. 1) Remember that the grid it creates has its origin specified from the lower left (SW) and going to the upper right (NE). I set up a grid of polylines to mimic the WGS84 Graticule for an area of Ohio. I specified the origin SW of my AOI and set enough rows and columns in the tool to cover the whole of the AOI and then some. See image below: !Tool Settings Now I noticed that the intersects of the Graticule are off by about 45 feet from what the XY Tool gives. See the results image below: ![Fishnet Result](http:/
    – user23715
    May 9, 2014 at 17:01
  • Shouldn't this be an update/edit to the question? May 9, 2014 at 17:10
  • @Devdatta As I said above "since it does help clarify how to use the tool for radouxju's purpose, and I cannot insert images with a mere comment, I went ahead and posted this as an answer. Hopefully I've met protocol for this site."
    – user23715
    May 9, 2014 at 17:30
  • @Aaron the 'Make Grids And Graticules Layer (Cartography)' tool doesn't seem to be be a very easy to use tool, since the fishnet and 'Grid Index Features' tools exists. But thanks for the help.
    – Thomas
    May 10, 2014 at 11:10

2 Answers 2


you could use the create fishnet tool to make your grid as a shapefile. Just make sure that you work in a Plate carree projection (Or in Lat/Long) so that vertical lines are meridians and horizontal lines are parallel (this is just an example as there are other projections where this is the case). With fishnet you can select the cell size (Width and Height) and the numbers of rows and column will be computed based on the extent if you set them to "0".

You can use model builder (iterate feature selection) or Python (loop with arcpy.sa.searchCursor with SHAPE@ to determine the extent) in a single loop to set the extent of your grid according to each feature of interest so that the distance between your lines is adjusted to the size of the feature.

Note that you will need to densify your lines before reprojecting (in needed), otherwise the line curvature (if any) will not render properly.

  • The fishnet tool does not allow to create a grid of latitudes and longitudes with a specific interval. Say an interval of 1 degree. If possible, please let me know some more specifics on how python can be used especially the part 'You can use model builder or Python in a single'
    – Thomas
    May 8, 2014 at 11:01
  • 1
    @Thomas: I'm not sure why you feel that you can't use the fishnet tool to make a grid. Just give the origin, and then set the required cell width and height. And you are good to go. May 8, 2014 at 11:04
  • I meant a "single loop". I've updated my answer with a few more details. Hope this helps.
    – radouxju
    May 8, 2014 at 11:46
  • 1
    concerning your remark, the interval will be in the coordiante system that you chose for the analysis. If you define your output coordinate system in WGS 84, you can use a cell size of 1.
    – radouxju
    May 8, 2014 at 11:50
  • @DevdattaTengshe I didn't know the interval was to be given in the units of the coordinate system chosen for the analysis. radouxju's comment cleared that out. Also while testing different options, 'Grid Index Features' geoprocessing tool turned out to be a better option (with respect to the input options it gives) giving a very similar fishnet output.
    – Thomas
    May 10, 2014 at 10:53

Another option may be using free Hawth Tool(Add-in for ArcMap). Where you can easily create grids based on meridians and parallels. below is the Tool Summary-


  • Input: a reference layer (a feature or raster layer), or a set of bounding coordinates (XMin, XMax, YMin, YMax)
  • Output: a line or polygon layer representing a regular grid Features:

  1. Allows the user to create polygons or lines as the output feature type

  2. allows the user to snap the grid to major coordinate system intervals (e.g. the lines will occur on the 1000 meter marks on the UTM grid)

  3. allows different spacing intervals in the X and Y axes
  4. output lines are coded with a LABEL field that contains the coordinate of the line (useful for creating a graticule for a printed map)
  5. output polygons contain four fields that contain the Min/Max X/Y values for each polygon

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