When I uploaded my maxent output file in ArcMap (it's in ASCII format, a distribution map of a country) it showed me the the spatial reference is unknown. I will create binary maps later (suitable, unsuitable habitat) and calculate the area. So I have to make the file ultimately in a UTM coordinate since its unit in meters. I'm confused which approach of the following is accurate, shall I use Define Projection tool to define it to WGS84 (DD unit) first -which is the original coordinate system of the data I entered into maxent- then use Project tool to change to a projected coordinate system (UTM, meters unit)? Or I can immediately from the define tool choose a UTM coordinate?

If the first approach is the accurate one. I did tried it but when I reach the project tool step it doesn't recognize the file in the input. I tried exporting the file to a tiff the same issue. When I saved the file as a layer (*lyr) it did recognize it but showed me this: ERROR 000840 The value is not a Feature Layer. ERROR 000840: The value is not a Feature Dataset.

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    Assuming maxent output file is ascii raster format, try to use ASCII to Raster first to convert the ascii file into tif, img format , then if the original data is in WGS 84, you need to use define projection first, and then Project raster to UTM.
    – ahmadhanb
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 23:55
  • I followed this method and still the projection tool won't recognize the tif file nor esri grid format.
    – Areej
    Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 17:02
  • Which Projection tool have you tried?
    – ahmadhanb
    Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 23:18
  • Projection & Transformation>Raster>Project
    – Areej
    Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 23:31
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    You know your comment triggered me to do a search and I discovered that I'm using a different tool. Apparently there is a " Project" tool and there is "Project Raster" tool in the same toolbox. I was using the first one which is wrong. Thank you for drawing my attention to that. I just tried it and it worked.
    – Areej
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 0:38

1 Answer 1


I found that there's a tool that can recognize raster layers and no need to convert into shapefile. Indeed, converting into shapefile appeared to be wrong since the values in the maxent output raster is too small and will be converted to zero. The solution is, go to Data Management Tools>Projection & Transformation>Raster> .. note here there are two tools "Project" tool and "Project Raster" tool in the same toolbox. "Project" tool is for shapefiles, feature class, feature layers. The other tool "Project Raster" is used for raster layers, tiff files and other formats mentioned here (https://desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/tools/data-management-toolbox/project-raster.htm).

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