Create points with specific distances and bearings from a known origin point in ArcMap

Last Published: April 25, 2020


To create points with specific distances or bearings from a known origin point, ArcMap with Standard or Advanced licensing can use COGO (Coordinate Geometry) tools to add point features to an existing dataset. Points, lines, polygons, and traverses are the basic building blocks for COGO. For more information on COGO, refer to ArcGIS Help: An overview of COGO.

However, Basic licensing in ArcMap does not include COGO tools . The instructions provided below offers alternatives to COGO tools in ArcMap. These alternatives require the usage of multiple tools and can be time-consuming.


Use the Sketch tool in an edit session to create points in an existing point feature class at a specific distance and bearing from a known point.

  1. Add the desired point feature class to ArcMap, right-click on the point feature class, and click Edit Features > Start Editing.
  2. On the Editor toolbar, click the Editor dropdown menu, and click Options.
  3. Select the Unit tab, set the Direction Type to Quadrant Bearing, and the Direction Unit to Degrees Minutes Seconds.
  4. Click OK to begin the edit session.
  5. On the Editor tool bar, click the Editor dropdown menu, and click Editing Windows > Create Features.
  6. In the Create Features panel, select the desired feature class to add the desired points. Subsequently, under the Construction Tool section, select the Point at end of line option.
  7. In the data frame, select the starting point, then press Control + G to open the Direction/Length sketch tool.

    Create Features panel with Construction Tools section
  8. In the Direction/Length sketch tool dialog box, type the desired bearing and distance, and press Enter.

    Direction Length sketching tool dialog box
Press F2 or right-click anywhere in the data frame and select Finish Sketch to end the sketching session.
  1. Once the points are added, save the edits via the Editor drop-down menu.

Article ID:000014031

  • ArcMap

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