I have a question regarding geometry transformation using OGR/GDAL (or perhaps another open-source solution).

Let's say I need to transform geometry from one coordinate system to another using specific transformation method.

For instance, I want to achieve this:

  • Input: EPSG:4269
  • Output: EPSG:4326
  • Transformation: EPSG:1188 - NAD83 to WGS 84 (1) - see https://epsg.io/1188

It seems to me, the ogr2ogr doesn't allow to specify the transformation mechanism.

Or am I missing out something?

Is there perhaps another tool I can use for this task?

This functionality is supported by ArcGIS tools, but I'm looking for an open-source solution.

  • 1
    You can specify in the command line the source and target EPSG code, for example "ogr2ogr -s_srs EPSG:4269 -t_srs EPSG:4326 -f "ESRI Shapefile" destination.shp source.shp". If you need special towgs parameters than you can input the definition of the projection in the command line e.g. ogr2ogr -s_srs "the full proj.4 definitionof the projection" ...
    – Zoltan
    Jul 20, 2018 at 18:58
  • Thank you Zoltan. Does it mean that I can use this string epsg-registry.org/… as s_srs, or t_srs? Jul 22, 2018 at 20:06
  • AFAIK you can only use the proj definitions separately for the input and the output e.g. for 4269 see: spatialreference.org/ref/epsg/4269/proj4. But if you use the standard parameters it is the same if you specify only the EPSG ocde.
    – Zoltan
    Jul 23, 2018 at 6:44
  • I'm not sure if I understand correctly. Does it mean that if I want to do the EPSG:1188 conversion, I need to parse the WKT from here - epsg-registry.org/… - and parse these parameters - PARAMETER["X-axis translation"...], PARAMETER["Y-axis translation"...], PARAMETER["Z-axis translation"...] ? So in this case, the towgs84 will be 0,0,0...? And if so, do I put the towgs84 parameters to the source, or target srs? Jul 23, 2018 at 13:35

1 Answer 1


If you refer to EPSG:4269 by the code the following Proj4 string is used:

# NAD83
<4269> +proj=longlat +datum=NAD83 +no_defs  <>

If the result of the transformation is not correct you may have a gridshift file available https://proj4.org/usage/transformation.html and you can utilize them with ogr2ogr by giving the srs with a proj4 string instead of using the code

-t_srs "+proj=longlat +datum=NAD83 +no_defs +nadgrids=your_nadgrid_file"

With Proj4 version 5 it should be possible to write also your own transformation method. Perhaps this part of the documentation is relevant https://proj4.org/usage/transformation.html

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