ESRI China (Hong Kong) Limited

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1 Coordinate Transformation of Hong Kong Spatial Data in ArcGIS Desktop Article ID : Software : ArcGIS ArcView 9.0, ArcGIS ArcEditor 9.0, ArcGIS ArcInfo 9.0 Platform : Windows 2000, Windows XP Date : March 29, 2005 Background There are two types of coordinate systems being used in ArcGIS Desktop: Geographic Coordinate System and Projected Coordinate System. The former one has its coordinates measured in latitudes and longitudes which are angles measured from the Earth s center to a point on the Earth s surface; while the coordinates of the later one is measured in X and Y positions based on a grid lying on a flat surface. They are closely related since projected coordinate systems are derived from geographic coordinate system through the process of Map Projections. Geographic coordinate systems are further divided into two types, earth-centered and local. An earth-centered coordinate system has its origin placed at the earth s currently known center of mass and is more accurate overall. A local coordinate system is aligned so that it closely corresponds to the earth s surface for a particular area and can be more accurate for that particular area. Hong Kong Spatial Data always tied to these two types of coordinate system which are WGS84 and HK80, the former one is earth-centered and is used in Global Positioning System (GPS) to calculate latitudes and longitudes while the later one is local specifically for the Hong Kong Territories. The latitudes and longitudes measured in these two systems can be transformed to one another through the process of Datum Transformation. However, Hong Kong Spatial Data are represented using projected coordinate system which is known as Hong Kong 1980 Grid derived from HK80 and spatial features in this system have their X and Y coordinates in the magnitude of m. The X coordinates are referred to Easting (denoted as me) while the Y coordinates are referred to Northing (denoted as mn). The use of GPS as GIS data collection becomes common over past years, when transforming GPS coordinates, the following transformation path has to be followed in order to map the GPS data on Hong Kong Spatial Data (such as basemap from Lands Department) under Hong Kong 1980 Grid System: Unfortunately, most GIS users skipped the datum transformation process and directly transformed GPS coordinates to Hong Kong 1980 Grid coordinates via map projection which resulted in about 300m shifting of spatial features after transformation. The following steps show how to conduct the coordinate transformation for Hong Kong Spatial Data correctly in ArcGIS Desktop. All rights reserved. P. 1 of 5

2 Procedures 1 Defining spatial reference to your data 1.1 Open ArcCatalog 1.2 Navigate to your data folder 1.3 Right click your layer and click Properties 1.4 The Properties Dialog will open, go to Fields Tab and then click Shape, the spatial reference of this layer can be configured in the Field Properties: Click the Fields Tab Click Shape Click this button to open the Spatial Reference Dialog 1.5 In the Spatial Reference Dialog, click select to browse for Coordinate System If your data is based on Hong Kong 1980 Grid, navigate to Projected Coordinate Systems\National Grids and choose Hong Kong 1980 Grid.prj for your data If your data is based on WGS84, navigate to Geographic Coordinate Systems\World and choose WGS 1984.prj for your data If your data is based on HK80, navigate to Geographic Coordinate Systems\World and choose Hong Kong 1980.prj for your data All rights reserved. P. 2 of 5

3 Click Select to browse the coordinate system 1.6 Click Add upon finish, the details of the chosen coordinate systems will be shown in the dialog. 1.7 Click OK twice to close all dialogs. 2 Defining Data Frame Properties to conduct coordinate transformation from WGS84 to Hong Kong 1980 Grid 2.1 Open ArcMap and add your data of which the coordinate system is defined as WGS Note the status bar, the latitude and longitude will appear 2.3 Right click the Data Frame and click properties Right click the active data frame And then choose Properties 2.4 The Properties Dialog will open, go to General Tab, select display unit as Meters and then go to Coordinate System Tab: All rights reserved. P. 3 of 5

4 2.5 In the Coordinate System Tab, expand the Predefined folder as show above, navigate to Projected Coordinate Systems > National Grids and click on Hong Kong 1980 Grid, the details will be shown in Current coordinate system, this selection will invoke the Map Projection process, then click Transformation button to open the Geographic Coordinate System Transformations Dialog, this will invoke Datum Transformation process: b) Click Transformation button to invoke datum transformation. The Geographic Coordinate System Transformations Dialog will open. a) Highlight Hong Kong 1980 Grid to invoke map projection 2.6 Both map projection and datum transformation processes requires parameters, all these parameters were already built-in in ArcGIS Desktop. It is not necessary to modify map projection parameters but for datum transformation parameters, you are advised to modify the default values if you have acquired a more accurate set of parameters or you want to change the datum transformation method. Click the New button to open the New Geographic Transformations Dialog to modify Methods and Parameters: All rights reserved. P. 4 of 5

5 2.7 If you just want to use the default values, click OK to close the Geographic Coordinate System Transformations Dialog and click OK again to close the Data Frame Properties Dialog, the map display area will refresh and transform the data to Hong Kong 1980 Grid System 2.8 Note that the coordinates shown in status bar has been changed to m magnitudes: 2.9 Add your basemap data to check if the transformation is correct. Note: 1. If you want to transform Hong Kong 1980 Grid data to WGS84 data, follow the above steps but in Step 2.5, navigate to Geographic Coordinate Systems > World and click on WGS 1984, then click Transformation button to invoke datum transformation. 2. If you want to transform Hong Kong 1980 Grid data to HK80 data, follow the above steps but in Step 2.5, navigate to Geographic Coordinate Systems > Asia and click on Hong Kong 1980, it is NOT necessary to click the Transformation button. 3. If your source data is in HK80 coordinate system and you want to transform it to Hong Kong 1980 Grid coordinate system, follow the above steps but in Step 2.5, navigate to Projected Coordinate Systems > National Grids and click on Hong Kong 1980 Grid, it is NOT necessary to click the Transformation button. 4. There will about 310m shift if datum transformation process (Transformation button not clicked) is skipped: Use the on-screen measure tool to measure the shift The End All rights reserved. P. 5 of 5

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