I came across a shapefile (no information available about the original CRS) with some unknown Reference System (City of Stuttgart in Germany). Example of coordinates looks like 3465878, 5482952. I assume it is lat/lon.

How can I change the CRS to the decimal system of WGS84 with QGIS 3?

Is it possible to overlay it to another shapefile with the borders and match the CRS?

  • You need to determine the original CRS to be able to apply the correct transformation to WGS84. see this to learn how :gis.stackexchange.com/questions/7839/…
    – J.R
    Oct 1, 2019 at 13:19
  • 1
    Have you tried one of Zones from DHDN / 3-degree Gauß-Krüger, or one Zone from ETRS89 UTM North?
    – Taras
    Oct 1, 2019 at 13:25
  • 1
    3465878, 5482952 (I assume lat/lon)) Obviously not lat long otherwise you'd expect lat values +/- 90 degrees and long +/- 180 degrees but your values are in the 100,000's so more likely to be units of metres
    – nmtoken
    Oct 1, 2019 at 13:34

2 Answers 2


Step 1. Defining unknown CRS

I would suggest double-checking if suddenly there is a prj-file, placed in the shapefile location.

If not, you can try using projfinder. For instance, when one tried it with provided coordinates (3465878, 5482952)


There are two options:

I would proceed with EPSG:31467 because EPSG:31463 is not maintained anymore.


DHDN / 3-degree Gauss-Kruger Zone 3

WGS84 Bounds: 7.5000, 47.2700, 10.5000, 55.0600
Projected Bounds: 3386564.9400, 5237917.9109, 3613579.2251, 6104500.7393
Scope: Large and medium scale topographic mapping and engineering survey, cadastral survey
Last Revised: Sept. 24, 2008
Area: Germany - 7.5°E to 10.5°E

Step 2. Changing unknown CRS into WGS84

It is already a well-known topic in the GIS domain. So, I would highly suggest to simply searching it online.

There are several references that I may point out:

Step 3. Overlaying with another shapefile

The vital trick is that all of your shapefiles that have to be overlapped must match the same CRS.

  • 1
    Very useful website. Will bookmark it.
    – MrXsquared
    Oct 1, 2019 at 14:57
  • 1
    Yeap, Mr. @spacedman first demonstrated it to me
    – Taras
    Oct 1, 2019 at 14:59

I am pretty sure this is GK3 (EPSG:31467).

Go to layer properties --> Source and set source CRS to EPSG:31467

Then do the transformation (Export as...) to WGS84.

If everything is located perfectly, you are good to go. (If not, I was wrong about the CRS...)

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