I have a shapefile 'watershd.shp' of a region of South Korea without any projections. I want to view this 'watershd.shp' area along with a point shapefile (point.shp) which I got from Google Earth.

When I define the projection of watershed.shp to UTM Zone 52N, the 'watershd.shp' is shown somewhere between Malaysia and New Guennie. This website shows that the UTM zone for South Korea is 52N while another website shows me that UTM zone 52 N is for Malaysia region and for Korea it is UTM 52 S.

How can I assign correction projection to this shapefile which is without projection, but belongs to Korea region?

The proj file for 'watershed.shp' reads as


  • 2
    It sounds like it isn't either, try looking at the metadata or contacting the agency you obtained the data from.. there are many local datums around that area of the world, I wouldn't like to hazard a guess. Korea is not south of the equator so it can't be UTM 52 South are you sure it's projected and not geographic coordinates? Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 5:04
  • Please edit your post and include the entire contents of the prj file. "Tokyo Transverse Mercator" sounds like it came out of ArcInfo Workstation and I can help interpret it. Also, I think you are confusing the 'S' latitude band which Korea falls into with the "N"orth and "S"outh zones. Some software packages only use the zones and don't support the latitude band information.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 17:48
  • @mkennedy The 'S' and 'N' confusion arised from the two websites I have hyperlinked in the question. One website shows Korea in 'S' zone while the other shows Korea belongs to UTM Zone 52 'N'. Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 1:01

1 Answer 1


UTM Zone 52N certainly encompasses the majority of South Korea.

However, without the projection file, it's hard to know which of the many Korean projections were used. Searching for South Korean coordinate systems yields 26 results. I've never mapped South Korea before, so I don't know what is the most common coordinate system, but you might want to try this one.

Other than that, it's always good practice to go back to the provider of the data and ask them for the .prj file or at least the name of the coordinate system that the data was created in. It's probably less time consuming than trying different coordinate systems and hoping for the best...

EDIT (in response to comment):

As per your comment, you indicate that another table, "Source" has the spatial reference of "Tokyo Transverse Mercator". In that case, try copying the .prj file and renaming it to 'watershed.prj'.

When you open your watershed.shp file, assuming it's using the same coordinate system as the source.shp file, then it should open correctly.

  • By opeing 'source' tabe the 'spatial reference' section says : "Tokyo Transverse Mercator". I am also provided with the a .proj file, the first line of proj file also says 'Tokyo Transverse Mercator' . With this information, how can I place my shapefile at its right place? Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 6:22
  • I've edited my answer to reflect your comment.
    – Fezter
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 6:26

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