User Guide / Working with units and projections

Working with units and coordinate systems in Equator

View and export elevation data in the right format for your job

This article explains how to work with elevation data (contours, LiDAR point clouds, DEMs) in different units and coordinate systems.

  1. Change units from metric to imperial

In the bottom right corner of the user interface, click on the scale bar to toggle between metric and imperial units. This can also be adjusted in the Settings menu.

Changing the unit settings is global, and will become the default for all projects. If you want to reverse the change, simply click on the scale bar again.

Cursor clicking the scale bar in Equator to change measurement units from metric to imperial

2. Change the coordinate system display from lat/long and northing/easting

By default, the coordinates displayed in the bottom right corner of the user interface are in latitude/ longitude. Click on the coordinates displayed to toggle to northing/easting mode. Repeat the process to reverse the change.

Cursor clicking the coordinates of the map to change from lat/long to northing/easting coordinates

3. Copy the coordinates of a point

Double right-click to open the Copy Coordinates Here feature. The horizontal and vertical coordinates will be copied to your clipboard using this feature. Paste the values into a document or spreadsheet to save.

Cursor right clicking to copy coordinates of the current location in the map

4. Find the right coordinate system for your project

When working with elevation data (contours, DEMs, etc.) Equator uses EPSG codes to transform between coordinate systems.

Once you know what coordinate system you need, you can search for the EPSG code using Google or EPSG.io. For example, if I am working in NAD83 / UTM zone 17N, the corresponding EPSG code is 26917.

Knowing the right EPSG code is important for Step 5, especially when working with other CAD software.

EPSG.io screenshot

5. Download elevation data in the right coordinate system, vertical and horizontal units

First, create an elevation deliverable (contours, DEM, DSM, etc.) by following this tutorial.

Once you have an elevation layer in your Layer menu, click on the download button to open the Download Layer menu.

Update all of settings in this menu that are relevant to your project needs:

  • Format: specifics the file format of the layer download
  • Coordinate system: a drop-down menu that allows you to pick from a few popular options, or select custom to input your own.
  • Vertical units: units of the elevation parameter in the data set.
  • Horizontal units: units of the horizontal coordinates in the data set.

IMPORTANT: To ensure that your data download matches your desired coordinate system, select the Custom coordinate system and then enter the EPSG code from Step 4.

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