This page documents use of the script and the HTDP (Horizontal Time Dependent Positioning) grid shift modelling program from NGS/NOAA to produce PROJ.4 compatible grid shift files for fine grade conversions between various NAD83 epochs and WGS84. Traditionally PROJ.4 has treated NAD83 and WGS84 as equivalent and failed to distinguish between different epochs or realizations of those datums. At the scales of much mapping this is adequate but as interest grows in high resolution imagery and other high resolution mapping this is inadequate. Also, as the North American crust drifts over time the displacement between NAD83 and WGS84 grows (more than one foot over the last two decades).

Getting and building HTDP

The HTDP modelling program is in written FORTRAN. The source and documentation can be found on the HTDP page at

On linux systems it will be necessary to install gfortran or some FORTRAN compiler. For ubuntu something like the following should work.

apt-get install gfortran

To compile the program do something like the following to produce the binary “htdp” from the source code.

gfortran htdp.for -o htdp


The script can be found at

It depends on having the GDAL Python bindings operational. If they are not available you will get an error something like the following:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "./", line 37, in <module>
    from osgeo import gdal, gdal_array, osr
ImportError: No module named osgeo

           <src_crs_id> <src_crs_date> <dst_crs_id> <dst_crs_year>
           [-griddef <ul_lon> <ul_lat> <ll_lon> <ll_lat> <lon_count> <lat_count>]
           [-htdp <path_to_exe>] [-wrkdir <dirpath>] [-kwf]
           -o <output_grid_name>

-griddef: by default the following values for roughly the continental USA
          at a six minute step size are used:
          -127 50 -66 25 251 611
-kwf: keep working files in the working directory for review. 29 2002.0 8 2002.0 -o nad83_2002.ct2

The goal of is to produce a grid shift file for a designated region. The region is defined using the -griddef switch. When missing a continental US region is used. The script creates a set of sample points for the grid definition, runs the “htdp” program against it and then parses the resulting points and computes a point by point shift to encode into the final grid shift file. By default it is assumed the htdp program will be in the executable path. If not, please provide the path to the executable using the -htdp switch.

The htdp program supports transformations between many CRSes and for each (or most?) of them you need to provide a date at which the CRS is fixed. The full set of CRS Ids available in the HTDP program are:

 1...NAD_83(2011) (North America tectonic plate fixed)
 29...NAD_83(CORS96)  (NAD_83(2011) will be used)
 30...NAD_83(2007)    (NAD_83(2011) will be used)
 2...NAD_83(PA11) (Pacific tectonic plate fixed)
 31...NAD_83(PACP00)  (NAD 83(PA11) will be used)
 3...NAD_83(MA11) (Mariana tectonic plate fixed)
 32...NAD_83(MARP00)  (NAD_83(MA11) will be used)

 4...WGS_72                             16...ITRF92
 5...WGS_84(transit) = NAD_83(2011)     17...ITRF93
 6...WGS_84(G730) = ITRF92              18...ITRF94 = ITRF96
 7...WGS_84(G873) = ITRF96              19...ITRF96
 8...WGS_84(G1150) = ITRF2000           20...ITRF97
 9...PNEOS_90 = ITRF90                  21...IGS97 = ITRF97
10...NEOS_90 = ITRF90                   22...ITRF2000
11...SIO/MIT_92 = ITRF91                23...IGS00 = ITRF2000
12...ITRF88                             24...IGb00 = ITRF2000
13...ITRF89                             25...ITRF2005
14...ITRF90                             26...IGS05 = ITRF2005
15...ITRF91                             27...ITRF2008
                                        28...IGS08 = ITRF2008

The typical use case is mapping from NAD83 on a particular date to WGS84 on some date. In this case the source CRS Id “29” (NAD_83(CORS96)) and the destination CRS Id is “8 (WGS_84(G1150)). It is also necessary to select the source and destination date (epoch). For example: 29 2002.0 8 2002.0 -o nad83_2002.ct2

The output is a CTable2 format grid shift file suitable for use with PROJ.4 (4.8.0 or newer). It might be utilized something like:

cs2cs +proj=latlong +ellps=GRS80 +nadgrids=./nad83_2002.ct2 +to +proj=latlong +datum=WGS84

See Also