What projection should I use along the Gulf coast - spanning the west coast of Texas to the Florida panhandle. I need to perform spatial analysis for a data-set along the coast. I see a similar question has been asked before but my query is different as I am specifically searching for a specific projection in ArcGIS which allows for spatial analysis in the region described above The answer to the similar question is to adopt an Orthographic projection near the center of the Gulf Coast Region. I am new to ArcGIS and wanted to confirm a projection which can be used for spatial analysis and will not generate wide error margins.

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    Do you have a compelling reason to not keep the data in GCS84? As you are spanning multiple UTM zones as well State Planes; you should consider a global coordinate system.
    – D.E.Wright
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 23:49
  • Thank you. No I don't. I am a PhD student new to ArcGIS and was not able to find the answer to my question by reading my text book. If someone can confirm I can use GCS84 and perform the spatial analysis without a wide margin of error, I will go ahead and use it.
    – ana.lmb
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 3:04
  • Type of the analysis is also important. If analysis is based on the feature of the spatial data(i.e. routing table with length as feature for each segment) I think that GSC84 would be enough. If analysis is dependant on distance/area measurement some other more accurate projection for the area could be better. Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 5:07

1 Answer 1


I found the answer to my question here.

Finding a custom projection for the Gulf Coast was difficult because my data spans five states (west to east coast) and in some cases data points fall far off-shore. The spatial reference required making reasonably accurate estimates of distance and estimates of area.

The ppt in the link above recommends using a modified (custom) Albers Equal area projection with two standard parallels – see attached. The percent errors are acceptable for distance measured between the any given pairs of points using this recommended Albers projection versus the ellipsoidal distance (WGS84) as calculated here.

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