# HOW TO CHOOSE AN APPROPRIATE

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1 PTV VISUM TIPS & TRICKS: HOW TO CHOOSE AN APPROPRIATE COORDINATE SYSTEM? I imported network data in WGS84, calculated my link lengths, but they are all still zero. Why is that and how can I get to correct link lengths? * WGS84 stands for World Geodetic System The PTV Vision Traffic Support Team often receives this question. Given that PTV Visum is not a GIS system it threats coordinate values as unit less numbers, without knowing that WGS84 leads to nodes with coordinates in geographic degrees. On calculating link lengths, you end up with degrees, which are for example long. So you need link lengths in meter? Then you need your coordinates in meter too. This answer is associated with the wide theme of coordinate systems and how to use them. First, a coordinate system is useful: To be able to easily add or exchange network data with external sources To add stop points or line routes collected using GPS equipment To be able to use the AddIn Google Maps To be able to calculate the correct link lengths, important to obtain correct travel times PTV AG Aug-13 Page 1/5

2 How does PTV Visum handle a coordinate system? To understand this better, we will need a short detour through some geodesy basics. The term coordinate system, or better spatial reference system can, simplified said, contain three components: 1. A so-called Datum describing the Earth mathematically as some spheroid or ellipsoid. 2. A projection to match the spheroid s surface to the flat surface of a map or screen. However, a spheroid s surface cannot be flattened without distortion. Instead, you might put the spheroid inside a narrow cylinder. The circle where spheroid and cylinder have direct contact is never distorted. The surface closely to the circle will take only minor distortions. So you could project this surface from the spheroid onto the cylinder, strip off this are, unroll it and you ll have a flat surface. This is the basis for all Mercator projections. If you would lay down the cylinder, the contact circle leads over the poles. This is the idea behind the Transverse Mercator Projections, on which the German Gauß-Krüger system or the international UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) are based. 3. A Cartesian coordinate frame, describing that flat surface with an origin point, orientation of its X and Y axis, their scale and offsets. If it uses Meters as unit scale, it is a metric coordinate frame. It may be however a spherical coordinate frame, offering longitude and latitude to describe a spherical surface in degrees. PTV AG Aug-13 Page 2/5

3 There are numerous spatial reference systems, each valid for some piece of the Earth s surface. To create a correct map in PTV Visum, you need to choose one matching to your model area, preferably a Projected Coordinate System (as PTV Visum calls it). Usually a metric system is used. Be aware, that an appropriate spatial reference system will minimize distortion, but it will alays be a trade off between preserving distances (correct lengths), areas (correct surfaces) or angles (correct shapes ). Distances are important to calculate the correct link lengths. Shapes are important, if you want to use a background image, showing some aerial image or map. The World Geodetic System, abbreviated as WGS84, can be viewed as a special spatial reference system. It uses its own WGS84 datum (in fact it is an adapted GRS80 ellipsoid). It uses a spherical coordinate frame, describing the Earth s surface with a geographic coordinate system, dividing the spheroid in longitude and latitude degrees. To display a map or aerial image onto the computer screen, it needs a projection. Accurate implementation in PTV Visum: Thus if you imported network data in WGS84, you first need to inform PTV Visum that your current network data complies with this spatial reference system. WGS84 is found as follows: 1. Go to Network Network Parameters System of co-ordinates Choose From file Click the button Geographic Coordinate Systems (double click to open) World choose WGS 1984.prj Zum Schluss beide Dialoge mit OK bestätigen. PTV AG Aug-13 Page 3/5

4 Leave both dialogs with OK. 2. If you want to change it to some matching projected coordinate system, look in: Network Network Parameters System of co-ordinates (click the button GCS_WGS_1984 ) Double click Geographic Coordinate Systems to close them) Projected Coordinate Systems 3. Das deutsche DHDN (Deutsches Hauptdreiecksnetz), auch als Gauß-Krüger bezeichnet, findet man unter: Projected Coordinate Systems National Grids drücke die Taste <d> und wähle die entsprechende Zone: For example the German DHDN ( Deutsches Hauptdreiecksnetz = main triangulation), often simply denoted Gauß-Krüger is found in: Projected Coordinate Systems National Grids press <d> and choose the appropriate zone: PTV AG Aug-13 Page 4/5

5 If you can t find any matching national system, you will always be able to find a UTM system, as following: Projected Coordinate Systems Utm Wgs 1984 choose a zone: A helpful overview of the UTM zones can be found on Wikipedia. Germany is within the zone 32. You do not need the latitude bands, coded like 32U for Germany. Sufficient is N or S for the northern or southern hemisphere respectively. Thus choose for Germany WGS 1984 UTM Zone 32N.prj. Note that these spatial reference systems use the WGS84 datum, share a transverse Mercator projection and define a Cartesian coordinate frame per zone. Still in need for your local system, which is not listed in PTV Visum s Projected Coordinate Systems? Than look in which offers to download PRJ files too. Please copy these in a user defined folder in \Documents and Settings\ [Username]\Application Data\Visum\115\Projections\Projected Coordinate Systems\and not in any \Program Files\PTV_Vision\ folder. Once a matching metric spatial reference system has been set, you will be able to obtain correct link lengths: PTV AG Aug-13 Page 5/5

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