Universal Transverse Mercator coordinate system

  • the universal transverse mercator (utm) is a system for assigning coordinates to locations on the surface of the earth. like the traditional method of latitude and longitude, it is a horizontal position representation, which means it ignores altitude and treats the earth as a perfect ellipsoid. however, it differs from global latitude/longitude in that it divides earth into 60 zones and projects each to the plane as a basis for its coordinates. specifying a location means specifying the zone and the x, y coordinate in that plane. the projection from spheroid to a utm zone is some parameterization of the transverse mercator projection. the parameters vary by nation or region or mapping system.

    most zones in utm span 6 degrees of longitude, and each has a designated central meridian. the scale factor at the central meridian is specified to be 0.9996 of true scale for most utm systems in use.[1][2]

    utm zones on an equirectangular world map with irregular zones in red and new york city's zone highlighted
  • history
  • definitions
  • latitude bands
  • locating a position using utm coordinates
  • see also
  • references
  • further reading

The Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) is a system for assigning coordinates to locations on the surface of the Earth. Like the traditional method of latitude and longitude, it is a horizontal position representation, which means it ignores altitude and treats the earth as a perfect ellipsoid. However, it differs from global latitude/longitude in that it divides earth into 60 zones and projects each to the plane as a basis for its coordinates. Specifying a location means specifying the zone and the x, y coordinate in that plane. The projection from spheroid to a UTM zone is some parameterization of the transverse Mercator projection. The parameters vary by nation or region or mapping system.

Most zones in UTM span 6 degrees of longitude, and each has a designated central meridian. The scale factor at the central meridian is specified to be 0.9996 of true scale for most UTM systems in use.[1][2]

UTM zones on an equirectangular world map with irregular zones in red and New York City's zone highlighted