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# Measuring distance

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04-26-2016 05:44 AM
New Contributor

Hi!

I have to questions concerning measurement.

1.

I was wondering about this statement:
"You want to make accurate measurements from your map and be sure that the spatial analysis options you use in ArcMap calculate distance correctly. Latitude-longitude is a good system for storing spatial data, but not as good for viewing, querying, or analyzing maps. Degrees of latitude and longitude are not consistent units of measure for area, shape, distance, and direction. "

As I understand this that mean that I can not use a geographic coordinate system to measure correct distance. However when choosing Geographic coordinate system -> World -> WGS 1984 I get the distance between London and Los Angeles to be around 8800 km, which is correct according to my GIS textbook. I also tried measuring a street in Norway to look how it turned out in a small scale. This was also the approximately correct measurement.

However using different projected coordinate systems (e.g. Mercator) I got completely wrong distances.

I dont really understand this? I would guess all projected coordinate systems would have errors when measuring large scale distance since it is a flat projection? Shouldn't geographical coordinate systems be better for measuring distance as this is based on a spherical world?

2.

And another question:

If I want to make polygons of an area in one UTM zone and compare the size of it visually by moving it into another polygon in another zone  how do I do this without getting error? If I draw a polygon in one UTM zone (lets say UTM zone 45) using UTM 45 as the projection and move it to the reference zone (utm zone 29) will I not get error when changing the utm zone to 29? How do I best solve this issue? I tried to do it with a polygon in zone 33 and measured it. Then I moved it to 29 and then I got a measurement error compared to when I measured the polygon in zone 33. Dont know if this is even possible to solve?

Best regards

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6 Replies
MVP Honored Contributor

Hi Anja,

These are some big questions. You may want to consider moving your post to a more appropriate place like Coordinate Reference Systems

I am tagging Melita Kennedy​ on this since she would likely know how to best answer some of your questions.

Regular Contributor

+1 on "These are some big questions". You need to read some of the reference material available and look at some free training courses and other courses like those Dan Patterson​ suggests. Melita Kennedy​ can help answer specific questions as an expert however I would suggest perhaps starting with some of the reference links and blogs on Coordinate Reference Systems

Once you feel more comfortable in what is possible...try breaking down the questions to specific issues.

New Contributor

Hi,

I have already taken the course coordinate refererence system, but I dont

really know the awnser to my question by doing that cource.

Btw how do I move my question to the coordinate system section?

Best regards

Anja Nielsen

2016-04-27 9:31 GMT+02:00 Simon Kettle <geonet@esri.com>:

GeoNet <https://community.esri.com/?et=watches.email.thread>

Measuring distance

reply from Simon Kettle

<https://community.esri.com/people/spk578?et=watches.email.thread> in *Community

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<https://community.esri.com/message/604684?et=watches.email.thread#comment-604684>

Regular Contributor

Mentioning Coordinate Reference Systems​ will put the question in the group feed.

MVP Honored Contributor

Anja,

If you click on Edit at the top of your original post, you can then 'change' the place in which to post this.

MVP Emeritus

If you belong to a university/college, you probably have access to a number of esri courses online for free.  If this is the case, check with your organization for courses that may help in answering these questions.