Need a brief beginner tutorial on convering x,y to a point layer

Discussion created by wizardclown on Jun 23, 2012
Latest reply on Aug 14, 2012 by BruceLang
I admit right away that I'm still not very comfortable with my understanding of coordinate systems, so keeping things basic will help.

I'm attempting to bring a collection of lat/long coordinates into ArcGIS Desktop 10.  If I understand correctly, they are in a geographic coordinate system given they have values like 45.56158233 and -122.34324338.  Some of the tutorials online suggest they need to be in degrees minutes seconds, but before converting I wanted to check.

It appears I'm successful in converting the fields by using "make xy event layer".  The resulting attribute table has the original fields and a new field titled *shape with the word "point" in all records.

The first problem I note is, that if delete the layer and close the map file, open it again and run the make xy event layer using the same name as before I get an indication the name already exists.  Since I don't see a layer, what's GIS telling me and how do I get rid of these old versions?

The next issue I run into is assigning the coordinate systems.  I use the Define Projection tool, select the new event layer, and import a feature class to assign the coordinate system.  The process fails indicating the data set is locked or in use.  Nothing else is running.

What do I need to learn here?