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?

  • 2
    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, 2017 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, 2017 at 13:08
  • 2
    "saving them with a new CRS" should work. Change "Layer properties -> Coordinate reference system" does not work.
    – pLumo
    Jul 6, 2017 at 13:16
  • 1
    ... and if you did, you better change that back before reprojecting, or start with a fresh copy.
    – AndreJ
    Jul 6, 2017 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, 2017 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.