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Understanding Map Projections and Coordinate Systems

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  • Format: Web Course
  • Duration: 6 modules (18 hours)
  • Price: $160 USD
  • ArcGIS Version: 9.2, 9.3
  • Authored by Esri

Accurately representing features found on the earth's three-dimensional surface on a flat piece of paper or computer screen is a huge logistical problem-one whose solution involves mathematics, human ingenuity, and ever-evolving technology. In a GIS, map projections and coordinate systems are used to map real-world features. This six-module course introduces the fundamental concepts behind map projections and coordinate systems. Essential characteristics of all map projections—aspect, perspective, and distortion—are discussed. The emphasis is on theory, but students gain practical experience working with ArcGIS software to apply map projections, modify their properties, and manipulate data stored in different coordinate systems. This course does not teach the mathematics behind individual map projections.

This course is designed for students and GIS professionals who want to understand the properties of different map projections and coordinate systems.


Students should be familiar with basic GIS concepts. Familiarity with ArcGIS software is beneficial.

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Contact us via e-mail or call toll-free at 888-377-4575, select option 3, between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM (Pacific Time).

This was an extremely useful course for anyone who uses data that may be submitted in various coordinate systems, and for understanding why different systems are used. Thank you!

John Erickson, Wyoming