I've got a shapefile which already has a projection, and whose GCS is WGS 1984. When I add it to a blank map document I get:

Warning! Inconsistent extent! error.

The extent of the shapefile is bizarre. How can I clear the .prj file and correct the extent? At this time I don't need actually need it in a specific projection. Here's the extent:

Top: 1647192.701300 dd

Bottom: 388436.828700 dd

Left: -35734.283900 dd

Right: 940661.882900 dd

  • 1
    What location does the data represent?
    – mkennedy
    Commented May 6, 2017 at 21:36
  • @mkennedy Ethiopia. The data was given to me and I've been unable to locate the metadata or any information on the projection.
    – 406LQE
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 12:49
  • The values are matching really closely with UTM zone 37N (North). We can't tell which geographic coordinate reference system though. Try WGS84's, 32637.
    – mkennedy
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 20:10
  • @mkennedy The shapefile itself says the GCS is already defined as WGS1984, so it should be fine, right? Thanks a lot for your help. How were you able to narrow it down?
    – 406LQE
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 21:06
  • Hopefully, it will be fine! But someone managed to define it as a GCS, when it isn't, so...I used ArcMap--add a world basemap with country boundaries, set the data frame's coordsys to what it could be. The coord ranges look like UTM to me. UTM X should be 200k to 700k, but if one zone was used for a whole country, then you'd see extents like yours. For UTM Y, 10 degrees of latitude are about 1million meters.
    – mkennedy
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


Those coordinates are clearly not consistent with a geographic coordinate system.

The numbers should be representing a projected coordinate system instead.

You will need to determine the projected coordinate system that they are derived from and then use Define Projection to define that coordinate system on your shapefile.

If you need help determining the coordinate system, see Identifying Coordinate System of Shapefile when Unknown?

  • Can you suggest some ways of determining the projection? Also, shouldn't the Bottom extent coordinates be negative?
    – 406LQE
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 12:50

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