Some shapefiles have a .prj file associated with it, and the .prj file contains the projection info of the shapefile in the format of WKT. Sometimes I need to convert WKT to proj4 string, and sometimes I need to convert it back.

Is there any ready-made library to do this?

4 Answers 4


The OGR Spatial Reference part of GDAL should do the trick. capooti provided an excellent answer to another question which demonstrates how to peform the translation from a shapefile to WKT. You may also want to check out the class reference. The reverse is simply:

from osgeo import osr

srs = osr.SpatialReference()
wkt_text = 'GEOGCS["GCS_WGS_1984",DATUM["WGS_1984",' \
# Imports WKT to Spatial Reference Object
srs.MorphToESRI() # converts the WKT to an ESRI-compatible format
print "ESRI compatible WKT for use as .prj:" % srs.ExportToWkt()
  • Anyone have a solution that doesn't require osgeo, which doesn't seem to work for Python 3?
    – dancow
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 2:51
  • OP asked about Proj4. Did you mean ExportToProj4() in the last line instead?
    – user99665
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 8:08

You can also use PyCRS:

import pycrs

# +proj=longlat +ellps=WGS84 +a=6378137.0 +f=298.257223563 +pm=0.0  +no_defs

I don't know any library, but you can use this site to get the translations: http://spatialreference.org/

EDIT: I found a python script that works with ogr python bindings to do that. Here it is.

  • thanks, but i need to do that programmatically. Commented Apr 14, 2011 at 16:11
  • 1
    After some googling: spatialreference.org is powered by GDAL as well & uses the same code path (more or less), it seems.
    – Dan S.
    Commented Apr 14, 2011 at 17:11
  • That's interesting
    – Pablo
    Commented Apr 14, 2011 at 18:33

I need to pragrammatically transform to custom projection based on proj4text string, so used

projection = '+proj=lcc +lat_1=53 +lat_2=70 +lat_0=0 +lon_0=136 +x_0=0 +y_0=0 +ellps=intl +units=m +no_defs'

source = osr.SpatialReference() source.ImportFromEPSG(4326) target = osr.SpatialReference() target.ImportFromProj4(projection) transform = osr.CoordinateTransformation(source, target)

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