I use the last versions of R -4.0.3- and sf -0.9.6- (thus relying on PROJ version 6.3.1).

I want to transform a layer from one system of coordinates (EPSG:27572) to another (EPSG:2154). This can be done with (accurate) or without (less accurate) using a transformation grid file. Once I have copied the appropriate transformation grid file (ntf_r93.gsb for PROJ 6) in the proj directory of sf (located at "C:\Program Files\R\R-4.0.3\library\sf\proj" on my PC), st_transform automatically use it and gives the most accurate results:


My question is:

  • how to get rid of the transformation grid, coming back to the non-gridded transformation, without removing the file in the proj directory?
  • Is there any sf command, or any parameter in st_transform to do this simply?
  • Perhaps using the pipeline parameter?
  • How?

1 Answer 1


You can check the pipeline that is used for the conversion with projinfo https://proj.org/apps/projinfo.html.

projinfo -s epsg:27572 -t epsg:2154

PROJ string:
+proj=pipeline +step +inv +proj=lcc +lat_1=46.8 +lat_0=46.8 +lon_0=0 +k_0=0.99987742 +x_0=600000 +y_0=2200000 +ellps=clrk80ign +pm=paris +step +proj=hgridshift +grids=ntf_r93.gsb +step +proj=lcc +lat_0=46.5 +lon_0=3 +lat_1=49 +lat_2=44 +x_0=700000 +y_0=6600000 +ellps=GRS80

Test with cct https://proj.org/apps/cct.html to prove if your thoughts about the pipeline are correct. First conversion includes the gridshift step +step +proj=hgridshift +grids=ntf_r93.gsb, the second is without it.

echo 557994.61 2101992.70 0|cct +proj=pipeline +step +inv +proj=lcc +lat_1=46.8 +lat_0=46.8 +lon_0=0 +k_0=0.99987742 +x_0=600000 +y_0=2200000 +ellps=clrk80ign +pm=paris +step +proj=hgridshift +grids=ntf_r93.gsb +step +proj=lcc +lat_0=46.5 +lon_0=3 +lat_1=49 +lat_2=44 +x_0=700000 +y_0=6600000 +ellps=GRS80
  606610.4430   6535955.8606        0.0000           inf

echo 557994.61 2101992.70 0|cct +proj=pipeline +step +inv +proj=lcc +lat_1=46.8 +lat_0=46.8 +lon_0=0 +k_0=0.99987742 +x_0=600000 +y_0=2200000 +ellps=clrk80ign +pm=paris +step +proj=lcc +lat_0=46.5 +lon_0=3 +lat_1=49 +lat_2=44 +x_0=700000 +y_0=6600000 +ellps=GRS80
  606665.9540   6535960.4163        0.0000           inf

The results are different so editing the pipeline should resolve your problem. Unfortunately I do not know R and how to feed the pipeline for st_transform.

  • To feed the pipeline for st_transform in R, we just have to provide the PROJ string to the pipeline parameter: st_transform(MyLayer, pipeline="...") However, the change you made in the PROJ string does not give the good result (the one which is obtained without the proj grid file). Nov 9, 2020 at 15:25
  • 1
    The correct PROJ string to provide is "+proj=pipeline +step +inv +proj=lcc +lat_1=46.8 +lat_0=46.8 +lon_0=0 +k_0=0.99987742 +x_0=600000 +y_0=2200000 +ellps=clrk80ign +pm=paris +step +proj=push +v_3 +step +proj=cart +ellps=clrk80ign +step +proj=helmert +x=-168 +y=-60 +z=320 +step +inv +proj=cart +ellps=GRS80 +step +proj=pop +v_3 +step +proj=lcc +lat_0=46.5 +lon_0=3 +lat_1=49 +lat_2=44 +x_0=700000 +y_0=6600000 +ellps=GRS80", much longer probably because the grid transformation has to be replaced by the Helmert transformation, in the middle of the string. Nov 9, 2020 at 15:46
  • I was wondering whether a simpler solution exists, just to prevent the use of the grid by st_transform. Nov 9, 2020 at 15:46
  • By default, when no grid file exists in the sf library, st_transform "knows" the correct transformation to apply. It should be simple to mimic this case. Nov 9, 2020 at 15:48
  • So what would happen if you edit the gridshift file +grids=ntf_r93.gsb -> +grids=foo.gsb? But my Proj version finds just one candidate operation projinfo -s epsg:27572 -t epsg:2154 --spatial-test intersects Candidate operations found: 1. I do not know how it could change the transformation path to use Helmert. My Proj version is rather old Rel. 6.3.2, May 1st, 2020.
    – user30184
    Nov 9, 2020 at 15:51

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