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I recently received a collection of satellite images (GeoTiffs) and their indice. Originally, the indice came in a geographic projection (GCS WGS 1984) and the Geotiffs projected to the appropriate WGS UTM zone. However, when I loaded the indice and some of the photos together into ArcMap the images are significantly displaced to the north (whether I had the dataframe as geographic or projected). The indice is located in the correct position. Experimentally, I used ArcCatalog to clear all the transformation information. This resulted in the images lining up correctly with the indice, with their units still in meters. I didn't fundamentally like the idea of leaving the images without projection information, but:

  • Setting the projection to GCS WGS 1984 resulted in the images disappearing completely. If I right click and choose "Zoom to Layer", it leaves the window wherever it was at. The map extent also does no change. The layer extent becomes "1,#QNAN", a null value.
  • Setting the projection to the WGS 1984 UTM results in the original displacement (obviously)
  • Setting the projection to GCS WGS 1984 and projecting into UTM results in an unknown error (a 999999 error), which makes sense as there is an error in the aforementioned GCS projection.

I know this has probably been asked a million times here in this forum and elsewhere on the web, but I am stumped.

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Figured it out. My ArcGIS is in English, whereas my computer is in Spanish. Spanish uses a comma in place of a period to signify the beginning of the decimal places, which causes problems with the scale factors in ArcMap 10.0, as explained in this ESRI technical article. Installed the recommended patch, and set the projection to the original UTM and voilà! The geotiffs are located exactly where they should be.

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