Skip navigation
All Places > Esri Technical Support > Blog > 2012 > August
It is always challenging when your coordinates are in Decimal Degrees (DD) format and you need them in Degrees, Minutes, Seconds (DMS).  Amidst this challenge is determining how to do the conversion.  Is it best to open the table in Microsoft Excel and build an advanced formula?  Is there a Python or VB code snippet that will work in the Field Calculator?  You know there has to be an easier way.

Within the Projections and Transformations toolset is a tool called Convert Coordinate Notation (Data Management > Projections and Transformations).  This tool will convert between the following coordinate formats:
  • DD—Decimal degrees
  • DDM —Decimal minutes
  • DMS—Degrees-minutes-seconds
  • GARS—Global Area Reference System
  • GEOREF—World Geographic Reference System
  • UTM —Universal Transverse Mercator
  • USNG—United States National Grid
  • MGRS—Military Grid Reference System

To convert between coordinate formats using the Convert Coordinate Notation tool, follow these steps:
  1. Open the tool and select the table or feature class that has the values for conversion.
  2. Set an output location for the converted values to be saved.
  3. Set the X/Y fields and the Input/Output coordinates.
  4. Optionally, set an ID as the output will not carry over existing attribute fields.

5. Set up a table join so that the new format can be accessed in the original table.


Be sure to check out the Convert Coordinate Notation tool help for more information and also to learn the format of each notation.
Timothy H. – Senior Support Analyst

Have you ever wanted to redirect your Default Geodatabase to a location other than your My Documents folder? This has been a popular idea supported by many users, and at 10.1 and 10.0 Service Pack 5, this is now possible.

At the ArcGIS 10.1 release, you can redirect your Default Geodatabase  through the Catalog Window Options in ArcMap. Click the button on the top right corner of the Catalog Window and then click the Home Folder tab. You can set a new location for your Home Folder by clicking the browse button and navigating to your desired location.

At 10.0 SP5, you can achieve the same outcome by adding a new key in the registry editor (the same UI option that is available at 10.1 is not available here). The workflow to do this is highlighted in Knowledge Base Article 40332:

1. Go to Start > Run.

2. In the Run window, type 'regedit'.

3. In the Registry Editor window, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > ESRI > Desktop 10 >

4. Select Edit > New > Key and name it 'DefaultHomeFolder'.

5. Right-click the new DefaultHomeFolder key, select New > String Value, and name it 'Location'.

6. Double-click the new 'Location' string value and change its value to the path of the desired Home folder.

 Lucas D. - Desktop Support Analyst

With the changes in how new enterprise ArcSDE geodatabases are created in ArcGIS 10.1, I wanted to share a few tips on how to authorize your geodatabase when it is created, when it is upgraded, and when your license has expired.

Before version 10.1, the Post Installation Wizard allowed you to authorize enterprise geodatabases with an authorization file or by using   the ECP registration number from the Customer Care   Portal. If the registration number was used, the Post Installation Wizard had an option to register online, which validated the registration number with your customer information and populated the necessary system tables. At the 10.1 release, the Create Enterprise Geodatabase and Enable Enterprise Geodatabase tools  require the .ecp file or the keycodes file for authorization.

Creating New Geodatabases

At ArcGIS 10.1, two new tools have been added to the Geodatabase Administration toolbox: Create Enterprise Geodatabase and Enable Enterprise Geodatabase. The Create Enterprise Geodatabase tool performs the geodatabase administrator creation, geodatabase  creation, and authorization functions previously performed through the  ArcSDE for SQL Server, Oracle, and PostgreSQL Post Installation wizards  on Windows.

TIP: Within the Customer Care Portal you have access to the ECP registration number, but this format of the license information is not a valid input for the Create Enterprise Geodatabase tool. If you are an ArcSDE administrator and have been using ArcSDE for several releases you may be wondering where to get the correct file format for these new tools at 10.1. You'll need to authorize ArcGIS Server first and use the keycodes file, or obtain a physical .ecp authorization file.

The Create Enterprise Geodatabase and Enable Enterprise  Geodatabase tools' Help documentation gives a summary of what is needed for the  authorization file and the path that can be used to locate the keycodes file.

Examples of valid input for the Authorization File field in this tool include the keycodes file within the ArcGIS for Server Enterprise directory and the physical .ecp authorization file.


NOTE: You must have authorized ArcGIS Server to create the keycodes file ahead of time!

Upgrading Existing Geodatabases

If there is a valid license in the geodatabase when upgrading (Upgrade Geodatabase tool), you will not be prompted for this information. If the license has expired, you will be prompted to navigate to a valid license to update the database tables.

Expired Enterprise Geodatabase License

In the case of an expired geodatabase license, the geodatabase administrator is prompted with an Update ArcGIS Server License dialog box when making a database connection.


This tool guides you through updating the ArcSDE enterprise geodatabase license if it has expired. This populates the database server_config table with the updated license information.

Previous Tools from the Customer Care Site

The ArcSDE and ArcIMS Authorization Form on the Esri Customer Care site can still be used to convert your registration numbers to physical .ecp files if this is preferred; however, the keycodes file can be used interchangeably with the .ecp file.

Helpful Links

ArcGIS 10.1 for Server Enterprise Quick Start Guide (Including ArcGIS 10.1 Spatial Data Server and ArcSDE 10.1)  > See the Authorize ArcSDE section

Melissa J. - Geodata Support Analyst
One of the most important parts of web application development and design is the overall performance of the application. It's important from the beginning stages of development to implement code that does not hinder performance. There are a number of tools available to help monitor the overall performance of a web application during development.

Google provides a great web application development resource called Page Speed.  Page Speed works as an in-browser tool analyzing a browsed site's client-side code. Once Page Speed has completed the analysis of the browsed site it lists a number of client side performance improvements that can be made. The improvements are grouped in order of importance with descriptions of each improvement that can be made.
Page Speed can be downloaded from Google's Developers site. Downloads are available for both Chrome and Firefox.
Jamie P. - Support SDK Analyst

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: