I am using QGIS 3.14 and I want to project a layer with a particular CRS, extent and units.

Starting situation: I have 2 shapefiles that are in different projections, have different extents and are displayed in different units.

  • The first layer (fishnet) has the (correct) projection of EPSG:32617 - UTM Zone 17N - Projected, extent in meters and units in meters.
  • The second layer (polygon) has a projection of EPSG:4326 - WGS 84 - Geographic, extent in decimal degrees and units in degrees.

When I both import them into QGIS, the layers are on top of each other.

Issue: Since the second shapefile is slightly tilted (due to different projection), I want to change its information to reflect that of the first shapefile. When I right-click on the layer in the Table of Content, click 'Set CRS' --> 'Set layer CRS' --> WGS 84 / UTM zone 17N, the shapefile disappears from field overview i.e. the shapefiles are no longer overlapping. When I right-click on the newly projected shapefile and click 'layer properties', I read that its CRS was indeed correctly changed as well as the units, but the extent is still decimal degrees. When I right-click the same layer and click 'zoom to layer', it appears somewhere completely different.

Any suggestions on how I could solve this issue?

1 Answer 1


Changing layer's CRS is wrong approach in this case. You do that only if you believe QGIS did not recognise CRS correctly, or layer has by mistake wrong CRS assigned to it.

What you need to do is reproject the layer, meaning create new converted one in the desired target CRS. Simply right click on layer, choose Save as, and choose your target CRS.

Saying so, you should be aware there is "Map projection" in QGIS, all the layers with other CRS than map are being reprojected on the fly in map. The "Map projection" is, depending on QGIS settings, usually set by first loaded layer. And you can see it and change it any time at the bottom of the map window.

  • 1
    Great that worked! I realize in hindsight that this is a duplicate of gis.stackexchange.com/questions/331767/convert-decimal-degrees-to-meters-qgis. Your suggested solution works, thank you! Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 16:31
  • @FlyingDutch yep, it is pretty common problem for beginners, and there are many ways to ask this question, so there are surely some duplicates here :)
    – Miro
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 16:39
  • @FlyingDutch I added info about map projection as by reading your question again, it seems you might not be aware of it.
    – Miro
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 16:48

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