# Projections and Coordinate Systems

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1 Projections and Coordinate Systems Using Corpscon, the Projector! Extension in ArcView, and Project in ArcInfo Maryland s stateplane coordinate system is based on a Lambert Conformal Conic projection. This projection is based on the mathematics of a cone intersecting a sphere (Earth) at two different latitudes such that the area where the cone and sphere are approximately tangent corresponds to the geographic location of Maryland. The figure below illustrates the basic idea: For the state of Maryland, the indicated constants are: φ n = degrees φ s = degrees φ b = degrees λ o = degrees N b = 0.0 E o = 400,000 meters (northern standard parallel) (southern standard parallel) (latitude of grid origin) (central meridian longitude of grid origin) (false northing) (false easting) The figure at the top of the next page illustrates the 7.5 minute USGS quads that completely cover the state of Maryland. The x and y axes of this graph are in Maryland stateplane coordinates in units of meters. (Note that x=400,000 meters corresponds to the 77 degree meridian.). Another common projection you may encounter is the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) projection. The figure on the next page also illustrates the zones which span the United States. Note that western Maryland (west of 78 degrees) is in zone 17, while eastern Maryland is in zone

2 42

3 Performing Projections on the Computer There are three facilities: one stand-alone, one in ArcView, and one in ArcInfo that allow you to convert information from one coordinate system to another. The stand-alone facility is a program produced by the Topographic Engineering Center of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers called Corpscon. The ArcView facility is an extension produced by ESRI called Projector! that allows you to project vector data. The ArcInfo facility is more powerful than the Projector! extension and can project vector and grid data. It is not as user-friendly as Projector! but must be used if you wish to project grids or vector data (under certain circumstances). Corpscon The Corpscon program is available for download free of charge from: Once installed, the use of Corpscon is fairly intuitive. Menu choices controlling the input and output formats must first be defined. For both input and output, you must select a horizontal and vertical coordinate system, datum, and system of units. For instance, suppose our conditions are the following: Input Specifications: Horizontal Coordinate System: Geographic Datum: NAD 1927 Units: Decimal Degrees Vertical Datum NGVD 1929 Units: U.S. Feet Output Specifications: Horizontal Coordinate System: Stateplane (Maryland) Datum: NAD 1983 Units: U.S. Feet Vertical Datum NAVD 1988 Units: U.S. Feet After specifying these conditions for input and output formats, the Corpscon communication window would look as shown on the next page: 43

4 There are several options for data conversion: single point (manual input), Corpscon batch file, and user-defined input file. The help utility supplied with Corpscon addresses the latter two options. We will discuss the single point option which is the simplest, but perhaps least powerful choice. Selecting this choice, you will be prompted with input consistent with your previously defined input format. For example, say we wanted to convert the point at 39 degrees north, 77 degrees west, with an elevation of 0.00 feet: We would enter this information in the pop-up window as shown at left. Clicking the OK button produces the illustrated output window at the top of the next page. This window conveniently summarizes the input/output formats specified/calculated coordinates in both coordinate systems. As illustrated, we have selected the send data to output window choice, but you can also send data to an output file or directly to a printer. When working with a single point, the output window selection probably makes the most sense, however for batch files, you would probably prefer to use the output file option. 44

5 Projector! Extension The Projector! extension is enabled in the same fashion that the Spatial Analyst extension was enabled previously: with the View window active in ArcView, choose File: Extensions... and then click the box to the left of Projector! and select the OK button to enable this choice. The Projector! extension can be used to project any ArcView feature (vector) theme from one coordinate system to another. This extension will create a new theme (in the form of a new shapefile) which can then be used in subsequent tasks. Using Projector! is not as straightforward as Corpscon but adhering to the following rules should lead to success: Rules for using Projector!: 1. It doesn t make sense to have themes in two different coordinate systems displayed in the same view window. Create a View1 and View2 windows and use them for your input and output coordinate systems, respectively. 2. With the View1 window active, choose View: Properties.... Under the Map Units entry you will need to specify either decimal degrees, feet, meters, or whatever units the information in the View1 window is reported in. 3. Select the Projector! button and you will be prompted for the input projection (unless the input projection is Geographic). A sample input projection dialog box is shown below. Under Category you would likely enter either UTM or Stateplane and simultaneously specifying the 45

7 ArcInfo is only available on the Glue machines and is accessed similarly to ArcView. A sample session is shown below: unix-prompt> tap arc unix-prompt>arc Arc: grid Grid: &wo /homes/moglen/ce688z ce688z) Grid: newgrid = project(oldgrid, #, #, newresolution) command) (puts ArcInfo into Grid mode) (changes working directory to (this is the key Please define the input and output map projections. (ArcInfo will echo this information to the screen) Use INPUT to define the input projection, OUTPUT to define the output projection, and END to finish. Project: input parameters) Project: projection utm Project: units feet Project: datum nad27 Project: zone 18 Project: parameters Project: output parameters) Project: projection stateplane Project: units meters Project: datum nad83 Project: zone 4126 zone) Project: parameters Project: end (begin specifying the input (identify the input projection) (identify the input horizontal units) (identify the input datum) (identify the input zone) ( spacer between input and output) (begin specifying the output (see help files this is Maryland s ( spacer ) (indicates to Grid you are done) The above dialogue illustrates the projection of a grid called oldgrid to a new resolution of newresolution (this should be a number). The resulting projected grid will be called newgrid. The projection illustrated goes from UTM, Zone 18, NAD 1927, feet to Maryland Stateplane, NAD 1983, meters. In some cases, you will not need to identify an input projection if that information is already stored in the oldgrid. It is strongly encouraged to consult the help files associated with the ArcInfo project command. To access this information, type help at the Arc: prompt and wait for the help window to appear. Choose index and then select Project () (Grid function). 47

8 References: Stern, J. E., State Plane Coordinate System of NOAA Manual NOS NGS 5, U.S. Department of Commerce, Rockville, Maryland. 48

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