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In QGIS 2.18.7 I want to change the projection of my shapefiles into a form that preserves distances for the sake of analysis. But when I do this from WGS84 to "WGS84 UTM zone 48N" or "south asia equidistant conic" I get very small measurements of distance for known features. For example 1km real world features are about 6cm using the measuring tool.

As suggested in other posts I have tried changing the project projection and resaving shapefiles in new projections but I still keep getting the same tiny feature representations. I have also tried turning 'on the fly' CRS transformations off

How can I preserve the real world distances on my map?

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    What are you exactly doing to change the projection? It seems to me that you just assign a new CRS without actually reprojecting. That doesnt work. – pLumo Jul 6 '17 at 13:02
  • Perhaps I haven't reprojected them. I have tried saving them with a new CRS or simply changing the CRS in QGIS. How is reprojection done exactly? – Nebulloyd Jul 6 '17 at 13:08
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    "saving them with a new CRS" should work. Change "Layer properties -> Coordinate reference system" does not work. – pLumo Jul 6 '17 at 13:16
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    ... and if you did, you better change that back before reprojecting, or start with a fresh copy. – AndreJ Jul 6 '17 at 13:21
  • Thanks for the feedback. Ok, so change the project CRS back to WGS84 and then re-project the layers into UTM with 'on the fly' transformation on? – Nebulloyd Jul 6 '17 at 13:27
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I returned the project to the original CRS (WGS84) then reprojected the layers into a UTM format from original excel files. With 'on the fly' transformation on this appears to give accurate distance measurements and allows for processing such as creating a buffer around a polygon using meter measurements.

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