I'm try to load this shapefile with Basemap in order to plot it in Python:


But I get the following error:

ValueError: shapefile must have lat/lon vertices - it looks like this one has vertices
in map projection coordinates. You can convert the shapefile to geographic
coordinates using the shpproj utility from the shapelib tools

I tried using shpproj or ogr2ogr as another answer in this site suggested, but for the life of me I can not figure out what parameters I should pass to those programs, as I have zero knowledge about GIS in general. So if anyone here could help me with the conversion command that would be great.

I am on Ubuntu and the code I'm using is pretty simple I guess:

from mpl_toolkits.basemap import Basemap
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
map = Basemap()


map.readshapefile('periphereies/periphereies', 'periphereies')


1 Answer 1


Because a projection file (*.prj) is attached to the shapefile (i.e. "GGRS87 / Greek Grid" aka EPSG:2100, source: EPSG Geodetic Parameter Registry), we can easily transform it to WGS84 (EPSG:4326) using ogr2ogr without declaring the source SRS:

ogr2ogr -t_srs EPSG:4326 periphereies_WGS84.shp periphereies.shp

where periphereies_WGS84.shp is the transformed shapefile.

  • Thanks, this works! The code only works with Python 2 (not 3), but this must be a problem with basemap Mar 17, 2017 at 13:15

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