I obtained ETRS89 (ETRS_1989_ETRS-TM32;WKID: 3044 Authority: EPSG) data and I am using a Gauss-Krüger coordinate system (DHDN_3_Degree_Gauss_Zone_3;WKID: 31467 Authority: EPSG). Now I need to calculate the WGS84 Lat/Long coordinates. Using ArcGIS for Desktopts field calculator, I have the option to use the "Calculate Geometry" tool depending on the coordinate system of the data source (ETRS89) or the data frame (Gauss-Krüger). Depending on the choice, values differ by the third digit, which is an offset of approximately 200 m. I use the right transformation (DHDN_To_ETRS_1989_8_NTv2), the data is shown on the correct position, but the Lat/Long output using Gauss-Krüger is wrong. When I load the Lat/Long data again it is not on the correct position anymore. I am trying to understand that issue and also to solve that, if possible.

1 Answer 1


You are using the wrong transformation as you are having actually 3 reference systems.

You want to have WGS84 coordinates. To obtain those you set the you dataframe to WGS and calculate the geometry based on the dataframe. I guess you forgot to set the transformation here to DHDN_to_WGS84. You only set transformation DHDN_to_ETRS for your two layers. Arcmap won´t use it for your third transformation to WGS84. Thats why you get the typical 180-200m transformation offset.

  • I would change my dataframe to every coordinate system I want the output for. However, I always thought that is different for WGS84, because I can calculate Lat/Long without changing the dataframe coordinate system using the coordinate system of the dataframe or of the source data. So ESRI is misleading here?
    – Alex
    Jul 28, 2017 at 12:28
  • WGS84 gets no special treatment. It's just a geographic coordinate reference system like DHDN, ETRS89, NAD83, etc.
    – mkennedy
    Jul 28, 2017 at 16:56

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