I am using rgdal to render some shapefile. The first is a set of building zones from NYC Open Data. The second is the NYC coast line from OSM.

The Zone files seems to generally render an X axis between 850000 and 1150000. And a Y axis with numbers from 150000 and 250000. The OSM coastline renders an X-axis between -8400000 and -8100000 (note the difference in order of magnitude as well as being negative). The OSMs Y axis is between 4900000 and 5050000.

I'm using this as my example and I don't the author doing anything special to format the axes.

My code is here:

# render a plot based of shapes in nycgiszoningfeatures_201311_shp/
# shapes downloaded from https://nycopendata.socrata.com/api/geospatial/kdig-pewd?method=export&format=Shapefile

# OSM Coastline of NYC Data from http://osm-extracted-metros.s3.amazonaws.com/new-york.coastline.zip
mapBase <- readOGR('new-york-city.coastline', 'new-york')

shapeDir <- 'nycgiszoningfeatures_201311_shp'
shapeFiles <- dir(shapeDir, '\\.shp$')
shapeLayers <- sub('\\.shp$', '', shapeFiles)
# to see the files sprintf("%s/%s", shapeDir, shapeFiles)
# TODO: I'm told for loops are evil in R. Find a better way
for (i in 1:length(shapeLayers) ) {
    map <- readOGR(shapeDir, shapeLayers[i])
    #plot(mapBase, col="khaki2",border="grey", axes=TRUE, xlim=c(-8300000,-8200000), ylim=c(4900000, 5050000))
    #plot(map, add=TRUE, col="gray",border="blue")
    plot(map, col="gray",border="blue", axes=TRUE)

How do I get these shapes to plot with longitude and latitude numbers for the axes instead of those numbers.


Your shapefiles have the following projections:

R> proj4string(map)
[1] "+proj=lcc +lat_1=40.66666666666666 +lat_2=41.03333333333333 +lat_0=40.16666666666666 +lon_0=-74 +x_0=300000 +y_0=0 +datum=NAD83 +units=us-ft +no_defs +ellps=GRS80 +towgs84=0,0,0"
R> proj4string(mapBase)
[1] "+proj=merc +lon_0=0 +lat_ts=0 +x_0=0 +y_0=0 +datum=WGS84 +units=m +no_defs +ellps=WGS84 +towgs84=0,0,0"

Reproject your data to WGS84 with spTransform (package sp):

crs <- CRS("+proj=longlat +ellps=WGS84 +datum=WGS84 +no_defs")

i <- 3
map <- readOGR(shapeDir, shapeLayers[i])
mapBase <- readOGR('new-york.shp', 'new-york')

plot(spTransform(mapBase, crs), axes=TRUE)
plot(spTransform(map, crs), add=TRUE, border="red")


| improve this answer | |
  • aka the NYC data is using the NAD 1983 State Plane New York Long Island coordinate reference system. – mkennedy Jan 8 '14 at 16:52
  • @mkennedy wow, so basically before computers, there were geographically local coordinate systems that assumed the earth was flat to make the math easier? That's amazing to think about today. – Justin Dearing Jan 8 '14 at 20:22
  • @rcs that worked but the renderings don't line up. – Justin Dearing Jan 9 '14 at 3:22

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