Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM)

The Universal Transverse Mercator is a system of map projections divided into sixty zones across the globe, with each zone corresponding to 6 degrees of longigude.

Classification Transverse cylindrical, conformal
Available forms Forward and inverse, Spherical and Elliptical
Defined area Within the used zone, but transformations of coordinates in adjacent zones can be expected to be accurate as well
Alias utm
Domain 2D
Input type Geodetic coordinates
Output type Projected coordinates
Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) zones

UTM zones.

UTM projections are really the Transverse Mercator to which specific parameters, such as central meridians, have been applied. The Earth is divided into 60 zones each generally 6° wide in longitude. Bounding meridians are evenly divisible by 6°, and zones are numbered from 1 to 60 proceeding east from the 180th meridian from Greenwich with minor exceptions [Snyder1987].


Convert geodetic coordinate to UTM Zone 32 on the northern hemisphere:

$ echo 12 56 | proj +proj=utm +zone=32
687071.44       6210141.33

Convert geodetic coordinate to UTM Zone 59 on the souther hemisphere:

$ echo 174 -44 | proj +proj=utm +zone=59 +south
740526.32       5123750.87




Select which UTM zone to use. Can be a value between 1-60.


Add this flag when using the UTM on the southern hemisphere.


New in version 6.0.0.

Use faster, less accurate algorithm for the Transverse Mercator.



See proj -le for a list of available ellipsoids.

Defaults to “GRS80”.

Further reading

  1. Wikipedia