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How to add the what3words Locator to ArcGIS Online and Field Maps


This tutorial will take you through the steps required to add the what3words ArcGIS Locator to ArcGIS Online followed by the steps to create a map for ArcGIS Field Maps.

Further information on the features of the Locator can be found here.

Setting up the locator in ArcGIS Online takes a few minutes. Once set up it will be available across the ArcGIS Online suite.


You will need a what3words API key to complete this tutorial.


Adding as Content

First login to your ArcGIS Online portal using your normal ArcGIS Online login.

Go to the “Content” tab and click on “New Item”.

Select from the list the “URL” option.

Enter as URL the following URL for the what3words locator. There is a different URL for each language or one containing all languages. The English URL is

Next, Select “ArcGIS Server web service” as Type.

Select store credentials with service item and do not prompt for authentication.

Here is the list of all the what3words locator URLs for all languages:

Username: your email address

Password: your what3words API Key

Then click Next.


Making Available to your team

You will need to ensure that the content item is shared with all the users who need to access the Locator.

For example, you may need to click “Share” and select the whole “Organization“.

You will need to be an ArcGIS Administrator to add to your whole organization.

1. Go to the “Organization” tab;

2. Click the “Settings” tab;

3. Select “Utility Services” from the left-hand menu;

4. Under the “Geocoding” section, select “Add Locator”.

After clicking “Add Locator”, select “From Existing Locator”.

For “Locator Item” select the new Locator from the dropdown. You can change the Locator name and placeholder text if required.

Alternatively, select “From URL” and specify the URL of the Locator Content item added in the previous step (to get this URL click on the Locator in Content and on the Overview tab copy the URL in the bottom right).

The new Locator will now appear in the list of Locators.

To verify the Locator is now working, go to the ArcGIS Online Map Viewer Classic by selecting the “Map” tab and from the search dropdown what3words should appear in the list.

When opening the “Map” in the new ArcGIS Online Map Viewer, click on the search icon on the right-hand sidebar. The search bar will appear at the top and in the search dropdown what3words should appear in the list.


Creating a survey with a Map

In order to use what3words in ArcGIS Field Maps, please go to ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise and click on the app icon on the navbar as shown in the image.

A list of ArcGIS apps will appear and you should see ArcGIS Field Maps icon within the list. If it doesn’t appear you may need to check you have a licence available.

Click on this icon to go to the ArcGIS Field Maps Desktop application.

The requirements to use what3words in ArcGIS Field Maps are:

  • Data must be available on ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise;
  • Data must include a basemap;
  • Data used in a map enabled for editing must include at least one editable layer;
  • (Optional) Layers must be enabled for offline use;
  • what3words ArcGIS Locator must be shared among the organisation on ArcGIS Online.

Here is an example where a map has been successfully made available online and users should be able to display it on the ArcGIS Field Maps desktop application. It also appears on the mobile application.

Then click on the available Map.

On the ArcGIS Field Maps Desktop App in order to collect information in specific fields, users need to add these fields to a form.

To locate this form, go to Contents > Layers, then click on the layer. In the middle of the webpage, start configuring the form by adding or dragging the required fields for data collection. The fields are displayed on the right-hand side of the screen.

One of the fields specified in this example is what3words address that users will need to paste in the address.

Then click the Save button in the top right corner.

A form should now appear.

The what3words address field on the form should be a String field. Additionallty, users should make sure that the “Allow editing” checkbox is checked in order to be able to edit the field as necessary.

Open the Field Maps mobile application, log in using your ArcGIS Online login and open the map with the editable layers uploaded on it.

Currently, the what3words ArcGIS Locator features that are available on the ArcGIS Field Maps mobile application are:

  • Convert to coordinates;
  • AutoSuggest;
  • Convert to 3 word address;

Convert to coordinates

Tap on the search icon on the right side of the navbar at the top of the mobile application.

Type a valid what3words address in the search bar.

Tap on the what3words address to drop a pin on the map to obtain the coordinates.


When typing a what3words address on the search bar right after the first character of the third word, e.g. filled.count.s, a list of suggested words appear below the search bar.

Convert to 3 word address

Alternatively, users can press and hold the map to get the 3 word address for a point on the map.

At this point, to collect this location, users can press the Collect Here tab, below the what3words address.

Currently, what3words address isn’t recorded automatically when users collect data with the Field Maps mobile app. The only location recorded is the coordinates.

To overcome this issue, users can add an extra field to the layer that would be uploaded to the ArcGIS Online Map and used for data collection.

This extra field must be a String field type and is used to paste the what3words address that appears on the Field Maps mobile app.

To copy the what3words address on the application, press on the address. A pop-up “Copy” will be displayed on top of the address, tab on it to copy the address.

Then select Collect Here, and the predefined form, that has been created previously on the Field Maps Desktop application, will be displayed below the point just collected.

As mentioned previously, users need to add an extra string field to their form to be able to paste the what3words address and then plot this layer on the ArcGIS Maps using the what3words address as a location.

Paste the what3words address previously copied and then press Submit in the top right corner of the navbar.

Currently, what3words ArcGIS Locator does not work offline on the Field Maps mobile app. A workaround would be to still use the application offline, after making the map and layers available offline, and then add the what3words address later when back online.

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