Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've recently noticed that the UTM zone displayed in the Identify box and the "Goto XY" box display a different UTM zone than the one I'm in. I'm working in WGS84 NAD83, Zone 13N but when I use the Identify tool and look at the location of the point it shows the location as '13S X,Y'. Also, if I type in a set of coordinates manually using the "Go To XY" tool, I type it in as 13N X Y, and hit enter, after it flashes the location the zone I had input is changed to 13S.

Can someone explain why the zone is being displayed as 13S and not 13N?

I'm assuming this is one of those weird geometric things that I never picked up in school. Hopefully someone can enlighten me!

enter image description here

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The S references the latitude band, not if it's North or South. See the Wikipedia page at

share|improve this answer
To expand a little, the UTM coordinate system definitions used in ArcGIS use N and S to signify northern or southern hemisphere zones (different false northing values). The 'single point' tools like Go To XY and Identify display a UTM string with a latitude band letter instead. If you switch to MGRS or USNG, their first letter is the latitude band as well. – mkennedy May 29 '13 at 16:33

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.