I'm trying to use the area of a paddock as its label. The layer is a shapefile containing a single polygon. In Layer Properties/Labels/Label this layer with I define an expression:


The preview correctly yields 4.67Ha but canvas renders 0Ha.

The shapefile .prj file:


The measure tool ellipsoid is Clarke 1866

QGIS 2.8.3/Windows.

  • 1
    Can you confirm that the area isn't simply too small? Sep 30, 2015 at 19:11
  • 1
    It works fine for me (2.8.2).
    – dmh126
    Sep 30, 2015 at 19:12
  • 1
    Also that you're using a projected coordinate system with units in metres. Sep 30, 2015 at 19:13
  • Is what area 'too small? 4.67 hectares is surely a large enough area to be mappable. The project-level CRS is EPSG:3706, NAD83(NSRS2007) / UTM zone 59N and canvas units ( CRS transformation:ON) is meters. Despite repeatedly setting layer-level projection to same, whenever I select Set Layer CRS I do get an anomalous message: This layer appears to have no projection specification. By default, this layer will now have its projection set to that of the project, but you may override this by selecting a different projection below.
    – Bad Loser
    Sep 30, 2015 at 20:57
  • Hmm, sounds like it could be an issue with on-the-fly projection. Does your shapefile include a .prj file? Oct 1, 2015 at 4:23

1 Answer 1


The seeds of this problem were user error combined with what I perceive as a bug in QGIS and were sown many steps previously from the moment I saved the imported GPX file as a line-geometry shapefile:
How NOT to load and save a GPX file
(a) Start a new project (Default: OTF, CRS transformation DISABLED)
(b) Vector/GPS/GPS Tools/Load GPX file/Feature type: Routes
(c) Status line shows Scale=1:6314 and EPSG:4236 (Expected)
NB: Step (d) is the fatal mistake!!!
(d) Right-click layer/properties/Set CRS to EPSG:3706
(e) Right-click layer/save as/BUG.shp [CRS=EPSG:3706]
(f) Remove GPX layer and zoom to shapefile layer.
(g) Status line shows Scale=11:1 and EPSG:3706 (The clue I missed)
(h) Measure tool gives bizarre values. (e.g. cm instead of km)

[Note that setting OTF and (project-level) CRS=EPSG:3706 after step(a) does not affect the final result.]

Here is the ogrinfo 'BUG.shp' output:

INFO: Open ofC:\Users\DAZ\QGIS_maps\Kaihu\epsg3706\BUG.shp' using driver ESRI Shapefile' successful. Layer name: BUG Geometry: Line String Feature Count: 2 Extent: (173.689542, -35.756475) - (173.705586, -35.742893) Layer SRS WKT: PROJCS["NAD83_NSRS2007_UTM_zone_59N", GEOGCS["GCS_NAD83(NSRS2007)", DATUM["NAD83_National_Spatial_Reference_System_2007", SPHEROID["GRS_1980",6378137,298.257222101]], PRIMEM["Greenwich",0], UNIT["Degree",0.017453292519943295]], PROJECTION["Transverse_Mercator"], PARAMETER["latitude_of_origin",0], PARAMETER["central_meridian",171], PARAMETER["scale_factor",0.9996], PARAMETER["false_easting",500000], PARAMETER["false_northing",0], UNIT["Meter",1]]
[The Extent and LINESTRING (not shown) units are in degrees!]
This leaves me at a loss when trying to explain this behaviour as expected!

  • This is one of the most common beginner mistakes in QGIS, but it's not a bug. You simply shouldn't have changed the CRS in the layer properties.
    – csk
    May 11, 2018 at 18:43

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