I know there are several questions regarding issues with with $area function in the field calculator out there, however, but I could not find anything on this exact topic.

All my layers and the projects are set with CRS NAD83 UTM Zone 7. I recently downloaded the new version (2.18) of QGIS.

My $area output for the layer is huge (2241602779.0000). I know the outputs are supposed to be in meters, however, if they were in centimeters it may make sense. Is this possible? Could I have some setting wrong in my field calculator?

I tried starting a new project, setting project projection and only loading the layer of interest with the same results.

I looked at the units for distance and area measurements in the project properties, and these are both set in meters, and square meters.

I am not certain how to proceed.

  • It would be easier if you attached a link to a small test project? It should be relatively easy to do Commented Dec 29, 2017 at 6:51
  • 1
    that is 2241 sqkm - which doesn't seem that huge, but without knowing what you are mapping it is hard to say for sure.
    – Ian Turton
    Commented Dec 29, 2017 at 10:38

1 Answer 1


As far as I could test, it's always in square meters. It's not influenced by layer SRS nor by project SRS. There's a setting in the Configuration > Options > Map Tools submenu that supposedly lets your set your preferred distance and area units, but if it works for anything, that is not $area.

One curiosity: I created a polygon in WGS84, and tried calculating its area...

Field Calculator calculating...

As you may notice, the pre-visualization area below the input box is 8.35(...)e-05, which is precisely the area in square degrees (given that the layer SRS is in geographic coords). However, once you save it:

Attribute table afterwards

It transforms back to square meters. As I said, I observed this behaviour regardless of SRS and area output format setting.

EDIT: QGIS 2.18.10 64bits for Windows.

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