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cs2cs - Cartographic coordinate system filter


cs2cs [-eEfIlrstvwW [args]] [+opt[=arg] ...] [+to +opt[=arg] ...] file ...


cs2cs [-eEfIlrstvwW [args]] {source_crs} {target_crs} file ...

where {source_crs} or {target_crs} is one of the possibilities accepted by proj_create(), provided it expresses a CRS

  • a proj-string,
  • a WKT string,
  • an object code (like "EPSG:4326", "urn:ogc:def:crs:EPSG::4326", "urn:ogc:def:coordinateOperation:EPSG::1671"),
  • an Object name. e.g "WGS 84", "WGS 84 / UTM zone 31N". In that case as uniqueness is not guaranteed, heuristics are applied to determine the appropriate best match.
  • a OGC URN combining references for compound coordinate reference systems (e.g "urn:ogc:def:crs,crs:EPSG::2393,crs:EPSG::5717" or custom abbreviated syntax "EPSG:2393+5717"),
  • a OGC URN combining references for references for projected or derived CRSs e.g. for Projected 3D CRS "UTM zone 31N / WGS 84 (3D)": "urn:ogc:def:crs,crs:EPSG::4979,cs:PROJ::ENh,coordinateOperation:EPSG::16031" (added in 6.2)
  • a OGC URN combining references for concatenated operations (e.g. "urn:ogc:def:coordinateOperation,coordinateOperation:EPSG::3895,coordinateOperation:EPSG::1618")
  • a PROJJSON string. The jsonschema is at (added in 6.2)
  • a compound CRS made from two object names separated with " + ". e.g. "WGS 84 + EGM96 height" (added in 7.1)

New in version 6.0.0.


before 7.0.1, it was needed to add +to between {source_crs} and {target_crs} when adding a filename


cs2cs performs transformation between the source and destination cartographic coordinate reference system on a set of input points. The coordinate reference system transformation can include translation between projected and geographic coordinates as well as the application of datum shifts.

The following control parameters can appear in any order:

Method to specify inverse translation, convert from +to coordinate system to the primary coordinate system defined.

Where a specifies a character employed as the first character to denote a control line to be passed through without processing. This option applicable to ASCII input only. (# is the default value).

-d <n>
New in version 5.2.0.

Specify the number of decimals in the output.

-e <string>
Where string is an arbitrary string to be output if an error is detected during data transformations. The default value is a three character string: *\t*.

Causes the input coordinates to be copied to the output line prior to printing the converted values.

List projection identifiers that can be selected with +proj. cs2cs -l=id gives expanded description of projection id, e.g. cs2cs -l=merc.

List of all projection id that can be used with the +proj parameter. Equivalent to cs2cs -l.

Expanded description of all projections that can be used with the +proj parameter.

List of all ellipsoids that can be selected with the +ellps parameters.

List of all distance units that can be selected with the +units parameter.

This options reverses the order of the first two expected inputs from that specified by the CRS to the opposite order. The third coordinate, typically height, remains third.

This options reverses the order of the first two expected outputs from that specified by the CRS to the opposite order. The third coordinate, typically height, remains third.

-f <format>
Where format is a printf format string to control the form of the output values. For inverse projections, the output will be in degrees when this option is employed. If a format is specified for inverse projection the output data will be in decimal degrees. The default format is "%.2f" for forward projection and DMS for inverse.

Where n is the number of significant fractional digits to employ for seconds output (when the option is not specified, -w3 is assumed).

Where n is the number of significant fractional digits to employ for seconds output. When -W is employed the fields will be constant width with leading zeroes.

Causes a listing of cartographic control parameters tested for and used by the program to be printed prior to input data.

The +opt run-line arguments are associated with cartographic parameters.

The cs2cs program requires two coordinate reference system (CRS) definitions. The first (or primary is defined based on all projection parameters not appearing after the +to argument. All projection parameters appearing after the +to argument are considered the definition of the second CRS. If there is no second CRS defined, a geographic CRS based on the datum and ellipsoid of the source CRS is assumed. Note that the source and destination CRS can both of same or different nature (geographic, projected, compound CRS), or one of each and may have the same or different datums.

When using a WKT definition or a AUTHORITY:CODE, the axis order of the CRS will be enforced. So for example if using EPSG:4326, the first value expected (or returned) will be a latitude.

Internally, cs2cs uses the proj_create_crs_to_crs() function to compute the appropriate coordinate operation, so implementation details of this function directly impact the results returned by the program.

The environment parameter PROJ_LIB establishes the directory for resource files (database, datum shift grids, etc.)

One or more files (processed in left to right order) specify the source of data to be transformed. A - will specify the location of processing standard input. If no files are specified, the input is assumed to be from stdin. For input data the two data values must be in the first two white space separated fields and when both input and output are ASCII all trailing portions of the input line are appended to the output line.

Input geographic data (longitude and latitude) must be in DMS or decimal degrees format and input cartesian data must be in units consistent with the ellipsoid major axis or sphere radius units. Output geographic coordinates will normally be in DMS format (use -f %.12f for decimal degrees with 12 decimal places), while projected (cartesian) coordinates will be in linear (meter, feet) units.

Use of remote grids

New in version 7.0.0.

If the PROJ_NETWORK environment variable is set to ON, cs2cs will attempt to use remote grids stored on CDN (Content Delivery Network) storage, when they are not available locally.

More details are available in the network section.


Using PROJ strings

The following script

cs2cs +proj=latlong +datum=NAD83 +to +proj=utm +zone=10 +datum=NAD27 -r <<EOF
45d15'33.1" 111.5W
45d15.551666667N -111d30
+45.25919444444 111d30'000w

will transform the input NAD83 geographic coordinates into NAD27 coordinates in the UTM projection with zone 10 selected. The geographic values of this example are equivalent and meant as examples of various forms of DMS input. The x-y output data will appear as three lines of:

1402293.44  5076292.68 0.00

Using EPSG CRS codes

Transforming from WGS 84 latitude/longitude (in that order) to UTM Zone 31N/WGS 84

cs2cs EPSG:4326 EPSG:32631 <<EOF
45N 2E


421184.70   4983436.77 0.00

Using EPSG CRS names

Transforming from WGS 84 latitude/longitude (in that order) with EGM96 height to UTM Zone 31N/WGS 84 with WGS84 ellipsoidal height

echo 45 2 0 | cs2cs "WGS 84 + EGM96 height" "WGS 84 / UTM zone 31N"


421184.70   4983436.77 50.69


proj(1), cct(1), geod(1), gie(1), projinfo(1), projsync(1)


A list of know bugs can be found at where new bug reports can be submitted to.



Frank Warmerdam


September 1, 2020 7.1.1