I am running QGIS 1.7.0 on windows, and I donwloaded a shapefile of census block group boundaries from TIGER. This file appears to be in the WGS 84 coordinate system, and when I open it in QGIS the unit of measure is degrees.
I tried re-projecting the file into the NAD 83 coordinate system, and saving it as a new shapefile, but when I open the new file it still displays a ruler in degrees. If I try to make a buffer, it interprets buffer distance as degrees.
Assuming I'm starting with a shapefile from TIGER, what's the best way to convert my unit of measure from degrees to meters?
/edit: For posterity, it seems like the following workflow make sense when dealing with US census TIGER shapefiles:
1. Download the relevant shapefile
2. Open it in QGIS
3. Click the
Settings menu and select
4. Select a projected coordinate system, like NAD83 / UTM zone 19N
5. Click the box
Enable 'on the fly' CRS transformation
6. Click ok
7. Click the 'zoom full' button (one of the magnifying glasses)