Measuring lenghts and area, which coordinate system/datum is best?

Discussion created by Luke_GEO on Jul 29, 2016
Latest reply on Jul 29, 2016 by Dan_Patterson

I would like to have a discussion regarding which coordinate system(s) are best, and/or are typically used, for measuring both the lengths and areas of mapped features at various scales, and addressing the specific limitations/cautions/concerns that arise from using any single coordinate system for this type of work.


This can range from the simple (ex., geographic vs. projected coordinate system (GCS vs. PCS) to measure area, or selecting an appropriate datum) to the more advanced (ex., when it is appropriate to use (or not use) a projected UTM coordinate system).


Impetus: I need to measure both lengths and areas of objects on the scale of 10s to 100s of km across that are located in areas distributed around the globe. In pursuit of developing a simple, efficient, and accurate workflow: I would like to minimize the number of coordinate systems (and conversions between them) that I will need to us to obtain accurate length and area measurements. Is there a single coordinate system that I can use to accurately measure both? Or, will I need to use multiple? What coordinate system(s) are best for this work, and what are their limitations? etc.