I have a public shapefile data set which is in a format that doesn't contain actual latitudes and longitudes (prj file below). I'd like to load it into SQL and be able to utilize the latitude and longitude of the geometry directly, but I don't know how to reproject the shapefile. I don't have ArcGIS. I sounds like ogr2ogr is the best route to do the reprojection. However, I don't know what parameters to enter to a) tell it what to convert from (based on the prj file below) or b) what I should be converting it to (what is a good standard?).

Here is all the information from the prj file:


1 Answer 1


Yes, OGR2OGR is a good way to go. You don't need to give it a "from" projection - it will read that from the shapefile. If you want lat/lon, the parameter -t_srs EPSG:4326 will convert to a geographic coordinate system with the WGS84 datum.

I'm a little confused by your statement that suggests you think UTM Zone 15N is "not standard". It is, in fact, a quite common projection when you're looking at the right places (roughly speaking, that would be Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana). It has the benefit that the coordinates are in meters in planar x,y coordinates. Given two points, you can trivially approximate the distance to pretty good accuracy between them (both straight line distance, as well as the east-west and north-south distances).

  • Thanks, Llaves. I was able to reproject the shp file as you stated above. That's exactly what I needed. And you're right that the title for this post could/should have been worded differently, with the "more standard" wording. I see your point now. Thanks for the clarification.
    – natealvar
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 2:57

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