I am working on a NASA grant to produce gridded satellite passive microwave data products. Our products are formatted in netCDF-CF and we are producing geotiffs of data layers using gdal_translate. The data are projected to one of three EPSG ProjectedCRS codes (6931, 6932, 6933). The gdal developers have been very responsive with changes to make sure they handle our data correctly.

I have been testing the resulting geotiffs with ArcMap 10.4. I expect that I will be able to open legitimate geotiffs and reproject them using ArcMap. However, while the current geotiffs that I am producing seem to have metadata that looks entirely accurate and correct, ArcMap is throwing the following error when I try to open them.

The following data sources you added are missing spatial reference information. This data can be drawn in ArcMap but cannot be projected.

Sure enough, the data image is rendered, but the the frame says Current Coordinate System is "No coordinate system".

The gdalinfo output for this file looks like I would expect:

$ gdalinfo NSIDC-0630-EASE2_N25km-F13_SSMI-1997061-19H-E-GRD-CSU-v1.0.nc.TB.tif
Driver: GTiff/GeoTIFF
Files: NSIDC-0630-EASE2_N25km-F13_SSMI-1997061-19H-E-GRD-CSU-v1.0.nc.TB.tif
Size is 720, 720
Coordinate System is:
PROJCS["WGS 84 / NSIDC EASE-Grid 2.0 North",
    GEOGCS["WGS 84",
            SPHEROID["WGS 84",6378137,298.257223563,
Origin = (-9000000.000000000000000,9000000.000000000000000)
Pixel Size = (25000.000000000000000,-25000.000000000000000)

I would be obliged if someone can tell me why ArcMap is unable to read our data.

I can say that I worked with EPSG in 2013 to define these 3 ProjectedCRS entries, so I know that they are relatively recent additions to the EPSG data base. And I wonder if perhaps ArcMap is using EPSG and if it needs to be told to use the most recent EPSG release? But I'm only guessing on this, I don't have direct evidence or enough knowledge about how ArcMap is actually working.

  • 1
    ArcGIS as of 10.0 uses GDAL internally to read rasters. As of 10.3 ArcGIS was still using a (customised) GDAL 1.8 library which is pretty old. The GDAL maintainers periodically import the EPSG database to GDAL. I don't know how old (or how customised) the version of GDAL in ArcGIS 10.4 is but perhaps it doesn't include a new enough EPSG database.
    – user2856
    Oct 22, 2016 at 10:52

1 Answer 1


Try setting the data frame properties to:

PROJCS["WGS 84 / NSIDC EASE-Grid 2.0 North",
    GEOGCS["WGS 84",

Unless I'm missing something that's the projection your data is set to.

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