Does anyone have experience using QGIS to submit shapefiles to the Minnesota DOT (MNDOT)?

I am using EPSG:26915 but got rejected due to an error in the CRS. MNDOT Specs call for "UTM coordinates, Zone 15E extended, NAD83, GRS80, horizontal units = meters, vertical units (if used) = feet."

  • Dave, building on the answers below, my suggestion is to just go spatialreference.org/ref/epsg/26915/esriwkt copy the text string and paste it into an empty text document and save it as yourShapeName.prj Swap out the .prj created by QGIS with this new one. – DavidF Jul 30 '14 at 0:41
  • OK - thanks for the help. I will replace my *.prj file in my next submission as see if that works. Zone 15E extended does indeed mean that parts of the state are outside of Zone 15 but are expressed in Zone 15 coordinates. – Dave Jul 30 '14 at 21:10

I bet it may be the slight discrepancy between Esri's WKT definition of 26915 and the OGC WKT version. I think the only real difference is in the name (NAD83 / UTM zone 15N vs NAD_1983_UTM_Zone_15N). You could try making a copy of the shapefile, then replace the PRJ file text with the Esri version linked above.

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    There is no such thing as UTM Z15 E. (Unless you count the area in the ocean off of Antarctica, but I am pretty sure that is not what they are looking for.) – DavidF Jul 29 '14 at 22:09
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    Like Kevin, I would point them to spatialreference.org/ref/epsg/26915 and if that doesn't work, ask them for a wkt representation of the SRS. – DavidF Jul 29 '14 at 22:13

Most of Minnesota is in UTM Zone 15-N, but the western portion (basically, the Red River Valley and points south) is in 14, and the easternmost part (the "Arrowhead") is in 16. So, for a statewide dataset, you need to either use a state plane CRS or extend the UTM Zone a little on both sides (the "E" in 15-E stands for extended).



I downloaded a county shapefile from the MnDOT Geodetics website in hopes of getting the WKT projection directly from the source, but the shapefile came without a .prj file. Foiled!

I would have thought that they may have changed the false easting value, but a cursory glance at the coordinates in the county file makes it seem like they are indeed just EPSG:26915. I overlaid a NAD83 county shapefile I had on hand and projected it into UTM15N for a quick check:


I don't have your specific data, so I can't say for sure, but this seems to corroborate Kevin's answer that it's probably just a projection naming issue. Their "UTM15 Extended" probably just means some counties or data falls outside of the UTM 15 border, so they "extend" the zone to encompass the entire state. None of the parameters seem changed, though.

You might even try removing the projection information altogether, since that seems to be how they are delivering data to users!

  • The irony isn't lost on me that they don't distribute .prj with their data... I work with this SRS all of the time, and it is the same as the 'non-extended' 26915. The central meridian is still at -93. Features that fall in UTM Z14W or UTM Z16W are just given XY values expressed in Z15. – DavidF Jul 30 '14 at 0:37

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