I am trying to use the QGIS Field Calculator to calculate the area of a feature. When I do this, the area returned is calculated using the planimetric method. This differs to $area which uses the ellipsoidal method.

When I try area(intersection(feature1, feature2), it returns the planimetric area, but I need the ellipsoidal area.

How can I change the method of the area command from planimetric to ellipsoid in QGIS? Or is there a way to get the ellipsoidal area of intersection(feature1, feature2) in Field Calculator?

  • 2
    Why do you need to change? $area already gives ellipsoidal area. Sep 22, 2020 at 18:47
  • This response isn't helpful. The question is not, WHY do I need this, it's HOW do I do it. There is clearly more going on in the background than this question outlines. You don't need to know why.
    – hojkoff
    Sep 23, 2020 at 8:09
  • 6
    I asked so, because there are two different methods to calculate an area in Field Calculator. 1. area($geometry) which returns the planimetric area, 2. $area which returns ellipsoidal area. Which method do you use to calculate the area of a feature? Sep 23, 2020 at 8:37
  • 2
    The question in my first comment is just an ordinary, a usual question that we, volunteer answerers, usually ask to understand what the post owner exactly needs and asks. Well, yes, I did understand your question as "How can I change area($geometry) ...." and I asked (in my first comment) like that because I was unsure you asked what I understood. Sep 23, 2020 at 10:38
  • 1
    I tried to make a new function in Field Calculator, I couldn't figure it out how to solve this problem. Though, it looks like the best way is to make a new custom expression function like area_v2(feature1, feature2). There is a simple tutorial here. Sep 24, 2020 at 21:49

1 Answer 1


You can transform the geometry inside the area() function of QGIS expression to a local CRS where the difference between planimetric and ellipsoidal measurements are minimal - be it UTM zone of your area of interest or any other.

As local CRS, I use EPSG:2056 for Switzerland for demonstration purpose. My polygon layer is in EPSG:3857, so the difference between planimetric and ellipsoidal measurements is high. I use this expression on the layer with layer CRS EPSG:3857 to get measurements in EPSG:2056:

area (
    transform (
        intersection ([feature1], [feature2]),

All layers in EPSG:3857. Measurement of the intersection in the middle with the expression above: 956'301; intersection created as a separate layer and calculation of ellispoidal area: 956'281, so quite close: enter image description here

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