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KML to Layer cannot measure geometry - WGS84 reprojected with accurate units?

Question asked by geonetadmin on Sep 30, 2011
Latest reply on Oct 1, 2011 by justgis
Original User: carywg

My question is in regard to KML to Layer tool.  When using this tool to generate GIS layers from KML line features, I am left with a GIS layer in WGS84 coordinate system. 

My problem is that I need to measure lengths (using the Calculate Geometry tool) on this newly created layer and in order to do that the layer must be in a Projected Coordinate System and not a Geographic Coordinate System.   When I attempt to reproject the created WGS84 layer to the right coordinate system the units are inaccurate and cannot be used for length calculations.  I have tried a number of Projected Coordinate Systems that should be accurate for the layer but without achieving accurate units. 

I was originally attempting this from CAD (Microstation) based data that I applied the proper coordinate system to within the CAD software, then exported to KML for proper georeferencing.  But the KML embeds it with the WGS84 coordinate system.  Erasing any chances to properly calculate length within ArcGIS. 

I have replicated this effect using a regular stream shapefile from Montana.  The layer starts in State Plane, then is exported to KML, then imported back into GIS from KML to the WGS84 coordinate system.  As you can see from the attached pictures, the units never return to their original state before these conversions.  And ultimately lengths can never be calculated again. 

Is there anyway to using this KML function and still be able to reproject the files back to their original Projected Coordinate System in order to measure their lengths and geometry?

Attached are screenshots and map packages of the data. Thanks or any help on this topic!

Cary G.
New York, NY
GIS Consultant