I have a shapefile that shows up in QGIS and ArcGIS correctly.

But when I inspect the attributes of the layer it does not have latitude or longitude.

I need to extract the coordinate system so I'm looking for the lat/longs using QGIS.

  • May be related to this question "Identifying Coordinate System of Shapefile when Unknown?": gis.stackexchange.com/questions/7839/…
    – cmrRose
    Dec 8, 2017 at 22:14
  • Beware of posting illegible images in your question. Usually this is an issue with alternate devices (phone, etc), but the attribute printout isn't even legible on an HD monitor.
    – Vince
    Dec 8, 2017 at 22:52
  • Just convert shapefile to geojson. You can see vertices of your polygon as coordinates Dec 9, 2017 at 0:52
  • The data may not be in degrees lat/long, not all coordinate systems use degrees as a unit of measure.
    – nmtoken
    Dec 10, 2017 at 16:13

2 Answers 2


That's what shapefiles do: keep the coordinates in a binary where you cannot see them. In qgis go to the field calculator, ad a field "x": double, length 12 with 8 precision, and then write "$x" in the calculator, the same for "y"; if you want the nodes of a polygon or a line, first extract them (there's an option in the toolbox), then do the field calculator procedure.

  • Or, more simple, go for Vector->Geometry tools->add geometry column
    – Erik
    Dec 9, 2017 at 12:17
  • he said he was looking for latitude and longitude, not for area and perimeter
    – Elio Diaz
    Dec 11, 2017 at 15:54
  • 1
    If the x and y values aren't in lat/long format, right click on the layer and save a copy in WGS 84 coordinate system. Then re-calculate the x and y columns.
    – csk
    Dec 15, 2017 at 18:29

You can find the coordinate system in the 'general' tab of the layer properties dialog box (right click on the layer to bring up the properties option). You can also find coordinate system info in the .prj file of the shapefile (if you are indeed using a shapefile).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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