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Libratory 5: Coordinate Transformation of Hong Kong Spatial Data in ArcGIS

Desktop
(Reference: ESRI China (Hong Kong) Limited)

Background

There are two types of coordinate systems being used in ArcGIS Desktop: Geographic Coordinate
System and Projected Coordinate System. The former one has its coordinates measured in
latitudes and longitudes which are angles measured from the Earth’s center to a point on the Earth’s
surface; while the coordinates of the later one is measured in X and Y positions based on a grid lying
on a flat surface. They are closely related since projected coordinate systems are derived from
geographic coordinate system through the process of Map Projections.

Geographic coordinate systems are further divided into two types, earth-centered and local. An earth-
centered coordinate system has its origin placed at the earth’s currently known center of mass and is
more accurate overall. A local coordinate system is aligned so that it closely corresponds to the
earth’s surface for a particular area and can be more accurate for that particular area. Hong Kong
Spatial Data always tied to these two types of coordinate system which are WGS84 and HK80, the
former one is earth-centered and is used in Global Positioning System (GPS) to calculate latitudes
and longitudes while the later one is local specifically for the Hong Kong Territories. The latitudes and
longitudes measured in these two systems can be transformed to one another through the process of
Datum Transformation.

However, Hong Kong Spatial Data are represented using projected coordinate system which is
known as Hong Kong 1980 Grid derived from HK80 and spatial features in this system have their X
and Y coordinates in the magnitude of 800000m. The X coordinates are referred to Easting (denoted
as mE) while the Y coordinates are referred to Northing (denoted as mN).

The use of GPS as GIS data collection becomes common over past years, when transforming GPS
coordinates, the following transformation path has to be followed in order to map the GPS data on
Hong Kong Spatial Data (such as basemap from Lands Department) under Hong Kong 1980 Grid
System:

Exercise: Transformation from WGS84 to Hong Kong 1980 Grid


1 Defining spatial reference to your data

1.1 Open ArcCatalog

1.2 Navigate to your data folder

1.3 Right click your layer and click Properties

1.4 The Properties Dialog will open; go to XY coordinate system tab

1.5 clicks select to browse for Coordinate System


1.5.1 If your data is based on Hong Kong 1980 Grid, navigate to Projected Coordinate
Systems\National Grids and choose Hong Kong 1980 Grid.prj for your data.

1.5.2 If your data is based on WGS84, navigate to Geographic Coordinate


Systems\World and choose WGS 1984.prj for your data.
1.5.3 If your data is based on HK80, navigate to Geographic Coordinate Systems\World
and choose Hong Kong 1980.prj for your data

Click Select to browse


the coordinate system

1.6 Click Add upon finish, the details of the chosen coordinate systems will be shown in the
dialog.
1.7 Click OK twice to close all dialogs.

2 Defining Data Frame Properties to conduct coordinate transformation from WGS84 to Hong
Kong 1980 Grid (for displaying the spatial data in same coordinates system)

2.1 Open ArcMap and add your data of which the coordinate system is defined as WGS84
2.2 Note the status bar, the latitude and longitude will appear

2.3 Right click the Data Frame and click properties


2.4 The Properties Dialog will open, go to General Tab, select display unit as Meters and then go
to Coordinate System Tab:
2.5 In the Coordinate System Tab, expand the Predefined folder as show above, navigate to
Projected Coordinate Systems > National Grids and click on Hong Kong 1980 Grid, the
details will be shown in Current coordinate system, this selection will invoke the Map
Projection process, then click Transformation button to open the Geographic Coordinate
System Transformations Dialog, this will invoke Datum Transformation process:
2.6 Both map projection and datum transformation processes requires parameters, all these
parameters were already built-in in ArcGIS Desktop. It is not necessary to modify map
projection parameters but for datum transformation parameters, you are advised to modify
the default values if you have acquired a more accurate set of parameters or you want to
change the datum transformation method. Click the New button to open the New
Geographic Transformations Dialog to modify Methods and Parameters:
2.7 If you just want to use the default values, click OK to close the Geographic Coordinate
System Transformations Dialog and click OK again to close the Data Frame Properties
Dialog, the map display area will refresh and transform the data to Hong Kong 1980 Grid
System

2.8 Note that the coordinates shown in status bar has been changed to 800000m magnitudes:

2.9 You can add your basemap data to check if the transformation is correct.

3. Coordinate transformation from WGS84 to Hong Kong 1980 Grid (for creating a new
coordinate system file)

3.1 Project tool will be used for transformation. Show the ArcToolbox window by click the
Show/Hide ArcToolbox Window button.
3.2 Select Data Management Tools >Projections and Transformations > Feature > Project

3.3 Save your output file in an appropriate directory and select Hong Kong 1980 Grid.prj as the
coordinate system.
3.4 Click OK. And you can open both WGS84 and HK 1980 Grid data for checking.
3.5 There will about 310m shift if datum transformation process (Transformation button not
clicked) is skipped:
Note:
1. If you want to transform Hong Kong 1980 Grid data to WGS84 data, follow the above steps but in Step 2.5, navigate
to Geographic Coordinate Systems > World and click on WGS 1984, then click Transformation button to invoke
datum transformation.
2. If you want to transform Hong Kong 1980 Grid data to HK80 data, follow the above steps but in Step 2.5, navigate to
Geographic Coordinate Systems > Asia and click on Hong Kong 1980, it is NOT necessary to click the
Transformation button.
3. If your source data is in HK80 coordinate system and you want to transform it to Hong Kong 1980 Grid coordinate
system, follow the above steps but in Step 2.5, navigate to Projected Coordinate Systems > National Grids and
click on Hong Kong 1980 Grid, it is NOT necessary to click the Transformation button.