I have seen in ArcGIS many different State Plane systems for Minnesota (location coordinates in WGS84: 44,07 lat/-94,61 long) within the Projected Coordinate system group:

  • NAD 1983 (CORS 96) (Meters)
  • NAD 1983 (CORS 96) (US Feet)
  • NAD 1983 (CORS 96) (Intl Feet)
  • NAD 1983 (Meters)
  • NAD 1983 (US Feet)
  • NAD 1983 (Intl Feet)
  • NAD 1983 HARN (Meters)
  • NAD 1983 HARN (US Feet)
  • NAD 1983 NSRS2007 (Meters)
  • NAD 1983 NSRS2007 (US Feet)

Which is the best choice for low area distortion?

Is that choice better than the UTM 15 N projection, for that purpose?

  • The difference between the Meters, US Feet, and International Feet is what units the coordinate system is in; choosing a particular one is more a matter of project requirements than accuracy and they're essentially interchangeable. The different datums can affect the accuracy of results by a few feet; the most recent update (and presumably most accurate) is the NSRS2007.
    – Erica
    Sep 22, 2014 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


These are all for the State Plane zones which are conformal (maintain shape, not area) like UTM. They should be slightly better because they're defined for a small area than a UTM zone is.

Even better, but still conformal, would be the county-level Minnesota coordinate reference systems.

Instead using an equal area projection like Albers and customizing it for your area of interest would be a better solution.

  • Thanks. I see in ArcGIS that there are Albers projections for US within "Projected Coordinate Systems/Continental/North America", and "Projected Coordinate Systems/State Systems", but I don't see which can be used for Minnesota. Any help will be welcome.
    – Charly
    Sep 22, 2014 at 17:47
  • Could you confirm that ArcGIS doesn't allow area measurement when working with a Geographic Coordinate System? I think I have read something about a recent ArcGIS improved functionality in that sense. I work with ArcGIS 10.1.
    – Charly
    Sep 22, 2014 at 17:52
  • That's true. We blocked it as making no sense, but have now added calculating area based on geodesics back in again...post 10.2? I think.
    – mkennedy
    Sep 22, 2014 at 19:55
  • Do you have any answer to the previous question: which Albers CRS can be used for Minnesota from "Projected Coordinate Systems/Continental/North America" or "Projected Coordinate Systems/State Systems" groups in ArcGIS?
    – Charly
    Sep 22, 2014 at 21:08
  • I don't recall anything Minnesota-specific. As I mentioned in the answer, you should customize one for your area of interest.
    – mkennedy
    Sep 22, 2014 at 22:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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