Support for MGRS in ArcGIS

The Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) is used widely within the military to define locations on the Earth's surface. Support for MGRS in ArcGIS is provided in three main ways:

  1. Through the MGRS locator installed in ArcGIS, so any tool or geoprocessing tool that can accept a locator as input can use the MGRS locator
  2. Through the Units button that exists on various tools, such as the Identify and Go To XY location tools (The Units button controls the units in which the user can enter coordinates; by selecting MGRS units, you can enter coordinates in MGRS.)
  3. In the data frame units display drop-down list (By selecting MGRS, the coordinates are displayed in MGRS units on the status bar.)

Listed below are the various tools and geoprocessing tools that support MGRS, grouped by functional category.

Map navigation

The following table describes tools that support MGRS and let you move around the map and determine or find locations within the map.




Identify tool Identify

Tools toolbar

Identifies the geographic feature or place on which you click

Find tool Find

Tools toolbar

Finds features in the map

Go To XY tool Go To XY

Tools toolbar

Allows you to type an x,y location and navigate to it

Address Input text box

Geocoding toolbar

Allows you to find a location by entering a location in single-line format

Address Inspector tool Address Inspector

Geocoding toolbar

Displays locations on the map when you click a point location on the map

Coordinate Display

Set in data frame properties

Displays coordinates on the ArcMap status bar

Feature creation

The following table describes ways you can create features using MGRS, either through automated operations (for example, using geoprocessing tools) or by drawing them on a map.




Editing tools

Advanced/Editing toolbars

Any editing tool that allows you to choose the units in which coordinates are entered supports MGRS. Examples are the Absolute X,Y and the Construct Geodetic tools.

Geocode Addresses tool Geocode Addresses

Geocoding toolbar

Geocodes a table of locations and shows the results on the map.

Geocode Addresses

Geocoding Tools toolbox

Geocodes a table of locations.

Reverse Geocode

Geocoding Tools toolbox

Creates locations from point locations in a feature class.


Data Management toolbox

Converts coordinate notation from the input table to a new field in a new point feature class.

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