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ArcGIS Pro

Change The Projection Of My QGIS Project?

How do I change the projection of my QGIS project?

Changing the projection or the Coordinate Reference System (CRS) of your QGIS project is essential for ensuring that your map accurately represents geographic data according to the spatial relationships relevant to your project.

Here’s how you can change the CRS in QGIS:

  1. Open Your Project in QGIS: Start by opening your QGIS project where you want to change the projection.
  2. Access Project Properties: Go to the Project menu on the menu bar at the top of the QGIS interface, then select Properties.
  3. Select the CRS Tab: In the Project Properties window, click on the CRS tab. This tab will show you the current coordinate reference system for the project.
  4. Choose a New CRS:
  • In the CRS tab, you will see a filter box where you can type the name or the EPSG code of the projection you want to use. For example, if you need to use WGS 84, you can type EPSG:4326 or just 4326.
  • Below the filter box, a list of CRSs will appear. You can scroll through this list or continue to refine your search in the filter box until you find the desired CRS.
  1. Apply the New CRS: Once you find and click on your desired CRS in the list, you will see it highlighted. The map canvas will automatically preview the change to give you an idea of how it will alter the map’s appearance.
  2. Save Changes: Click OK to apply the new CRS to your project. This will change the projection system used for your entire project.

Changing the CRS in QGIS will alter how the spatial data is displayed and can affect analyses that depend on geographic locations. Always ensure that you’re using the appropriate projection for the nature of your data and the specific requirements of your project.

Frequently asked questions regarding changing the projection or Coordinate Reference System (CRS) in QGIS:

1. What is the difference between a geographic and a projected coordinate system?

Geographic Coordinate Systems (GCS) are based on a spherical surface and use latitude and longitude to define positions on the globe. These systems are generally used for global references and have degrees as units. Projected Coordinate Systems (PCS), on the other hand, are based on a flat, planar surface, making them useful for regional or local mapping where accuracy and measurement are critical. PCS often use linear units like meters or feet and involves a mathematical projection from the globe to a plane.

2. How do I find the right CRS for my project?

The right CRS for your project depends on the geographical extent of your study area and the nature of your project. For local or regional projects, local projections are preferred because they minimize distortion in the area of interest. For global projects, a GCS like WGS 84 might be suitable. Always consider the purpose of your map and the spatial analysis needs when selecting a CRS.

3. What happens if I change the CRS of a layer versus the CRS of the project?

Changing the CRS of a layer involves transforming the layer’s data from one coordinate system to another, which can potentially lead to inaccuracies or distortions if not done correctly. Changing the project’s CRS, however, only changes how layers are displayed on the screen and does not alter the underlying data of the layers. It’s crucial to ensure all layers align correctly in terms of their CRS for accurate analysis and visualization.

4. Can changing the CRS affect the accuracy of my data?

Yes, changing the CRS can affect the accuracy of your data if not handled properly. Projection transformation can introduce errors, especially if converting between two very different systems or over large geographic extents. It’s important to use appropriate transformation methods and check the results for potential distortions.

5. How do I handle data from multiple sources with different CRSs?

In QGIS, you can reproject layers to a common CRS either temporarily for display purposes or permanently by saving the reprojected data to a new file. Use the “Reproject layer” tool in QGIS to align all data to a single CRS. This ensures that all data aligns correctly for analysis and visualization.

6. How do I save a project with a new CRS permanently?

Once you’ve set a new CRS for your project or layers, saving the project will retain the CRS settings. If you’ve reprojected a layer to a new CRS, save the layer as a new file with the “Save As” feature, ensuring the “CRS” option is set to your desired CRS.

7. Are there any tools to help visualize the effects of different CRSs?

QGIS itself acts as a tool to visualize the effects of different CRSs by allowing you to switch between CRSs and see how the map’s appearance changes. The “On-the-fly CRS transformation” feature lets you compare different projections quickly without altering the underlying data.

8. What is an EPSG code and how do I use it?

EPSG codes are unique identifiers assigned to each CRS by the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP). They simplify the process of identifying and setting coordinate systems in GIS software. In QGIS, you can quickly search and set a CRS by typing its EPSG code in the CRS settings.

About the Author
I'm Daniel O'Donohue, the voice and creator behind The MapScaping Podcast ( A podcast for the geospatial community ). With a professional background as a geospatial specialist, I've spent years harnessing the power of spatial to unravel the complexities of our world, one layer at a time.