Geographic Transformations (Environment setting)

Tools that honor the Geographic Transformations environment will use the transformation methods when projecting data.

Specify transformation methods that can be used to project data on the fly. You can create a list of transformation methods the application can use, including custom transformations (those created using the Create Custom Geographic Transformation tool) and system-supplied transformations (those out of the box).

When working with geographic transformations, if the direction is not indicated, geoprocessing tools will apply the directionality automatically. For example, if converting data from WGS84 to NAD 1927, you can use the NAD_1927_to_WGS_1984_3 transformation, and the software will apply it correctly.

Usage notes

  • When using a geoprocessing tool in an ArcGIS Pro project with an open map that is using map transformations, the tool will use the map transformations. If the map transformations are not valid for the data, they will be ignored. In this situation, transformations specified in the environment will take priority over map transformations. However, if the transformation in the environment is not valid for the data being processed by a tool, and the map transformation is valid, the map transformation will be used.
  • You can include out-of-the-box transformation methods, those supplied with the application, those in the list, and custom transformation methods created using the Create Custom Geographic Transformation tool.
  • A tool will only use transformations appropriate to the projection, ignoring all others.
  • The environment supports composite transformation methods. The Project tool's transformation parameter and the arcpy.ListTransformations function provide valid transformations, for example, ITRF_2000_To_WGS_1984 + ITRF_2000_To_NAD_1983_2011.
  • If a projection requires multiple transformation methods, including composite, a tool will only use a single transformation from the environment. This is the case even if multiple transformation methods have been set. If a projection requires more than one transformation method, use the Project tool.

Dialog syntax

  • Geographic Transformations—Specify transformation methods by name. The transformation methods include system-provided methods as well as custom methods created with the Create Custom Geographic Transformation tool.
  • Alternatively, click the Select transformation button to open the Transformation window. Click the Add button to begin the selection of a transformation. Then set the Source coordinate system and Target coordinate system values, select a Transformation path value, and click OK. The source and target coordinate systems must be geographic coordinate systems that represent the datums between which a transformation will be applied.

Scripting syntax

arcpy.env.geographicTransformations = geographic_transformations



A semicolon-delimited string of transformation methods. This can include system-provided transformation methods as well as custom transformation methods created using the Create Custom Geographic Transformation tool.

geographicTransformations syntax

Script example

Project data into a new coordinate system while buffering.

import arcpy

# Set the workspace, outputCoordinateSystem and geographicTransformations 
# environments
arcpy.env.workspace = "c:/data"
arcpy.env.outputCoordinateSystem = arcpy.SpatialReference("WGS 1984 UTM Zone 18N")
arcpy.env.geographicTransformations = "Arc_1950_To_WGS_1984_5; PSAD_1956_To_WGS_1984_6"

arcpy.analysis.Buffer("roads.shp", "roads_buffer.shp", "10 meters")

Related topics