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GeoConvert -- convert geographic coordinates


GeoConvert [ -g | -d | -: | -u | -m | -c ] [ -z zone | -s | -t ] [ -n ] [ -w ] [ -p prec ]
[ -l | -a ] [ --comment-delimiter commentdelim ] [ --version | -h | --help ] [
--input-file infile | --input-string instring ] [ --line-separator linesep ] [
--output-file outfile ]


GeoConvert reads from standard input interpreting each line as a geographic coordinate and
prints the coordinate in the format specified by the options on standard output. The
input is interpreted in one of three different ways depending on how many space or comma
delimited tokens there are on the line. The options -g, -d, -u, and -m govern the format
of output. In all cases, the WGS84 model of the earth is used (a = 6378137 m, f =

2 tokens (output options -g, -d, or -:) given as latitude longitude using decimal
degrees or degrees, minutes, and seconds. Latitude is given first (unless the -w
option is given). See "GEOGRAPHIC COORDINATES" for a description of the format. For
example, the following are all equivalent

33.3 44.4
E44.4 N33.3
33d18'N 44d24'E
44d24 33d18N
33:18 +44:24

3 tokens (output option -u) given as zone+hemisphere easting northing or easting
northing zone+hemisphere, where hemisphere is either n (or north) or s (or south).
The zone is absent for a UPS specification. For example,

38n 444140.54 3684706.36
444140.54 3684706.36 38n
s 2173854.98 2985980.58
2173854.98 2985980.58 s

1 token (output option -m) is used to specify the center of an MGRS grid square. For



-g output latitude and longitude using decimal degrees. Default output mode.

-d output latitude and longitude using degrees, minutes, and seconds (DMS).

-: like -d, except use : as a separator instead of the d, ', and " delimiters.

-u output UTM or UPS.

-m output MGRS.

-c output meridian convergence and scale for the corresponding UTM or UPS projection.
Convergence is the bearing of grid north given as degrees clockwise from true north.

-z set the zone to zone for output. Use either 0 < zone <= 60 for a UTM zone or zone = 0
for UPS. Alternatively use a zone+hemisphere designation, e.g., 38n. See "ZONE".

-s use the standard UPS and UTM zones.

-t similar to -s but forces UPS regions to the closest UTM zone.

-n on input, MGRS coordinates refer to the south-west corner of the MGRS square instead
of the center; see "MGRS".

-w on input and output, longitude precedes latitude (except that, on input, this can be
overridden by a hemisphere designator, N, S, E, W).

-p set the output precision to prec (default 0); prec is the precision relative to 1 m.

-l on output, UTM/UPS uses the long forms north and south to designate the hemisphere
instead of n or s.

-a on output, UTM/UPS uses the abbreviations n and s to designate the hemisphere instead
of north or south; this is the default representation.

set the comment delimiter to commentdelim (e.g., "#" or "//"). If set, the input
lines will be scanned for this delimiter and, if found, the delimiter and the rest of
the line will be removed prior to processing and subsequently appended to the output
line (separated by a space).

print version and exit.

-h print usage and exit.

print full documentation and exit.

read input from the file infile instead of from standard input; a file name of "-"
stands for standard input.

read input from the string instring instead of from standard input. All occurrences
of the line separator character (default is a semicolon) in instring are converted to
newlines before the reading begins.

set the line separator character to linesep. By default this is a semicolon.

write output to the file outfile instead of to standard output; a file name of "-"
stands for standard output.


prec gives precision of the output with prec = 0 giving 1 m precision, prec = 3 giving 1
mm precision, etc. prec is the number of digits after the decimal point for UTM/UPS. The
number of digits per coordinate for MGRS is 5 + prec. For decimal degrees, the number of
digits after the decimal point is 5 + prec. For DMS (degree, minute, seconds) output, the
number of digits after the decimal point in the seconds components is 1 + prec; if this is
negative then use minutes (prec = -2 or -3) or degrees (prec <= -4) as the least
significant component. Print convergence, resp. scale, with 5 + prec, resp. 7 + prec,
digits after the decimal point. The minimum value of prec is -5 and the maximum is 9 for
UTM/UPS, 9 for decimal degrees, 10 for DMS, 6 for MGRS, and 8 for convergence and scale.


The utility accepts geographic coordinates, latitude and longitude, in a number of common
formats. Latitude precedes longitude, unless the -w option is given which switches this
convention. On input, either coordinate may be given first by appending or prepending N
or S to the latitude and E or W to the longitude. These hemisphere designators carry an
implied sign, positive for N and E and negative for S and W. This sign multiplies any +/-
sign prefixing the coordinate. The coordinates may be given as decimal degree or as
degrees, minutes, and seconds. d, ', and " are used to denote degrees, minutes, and
seconds, with the least significant designator optional. (See "QUOTING" for how to quote
the characters ' and " when entering coordinates on the command line.) Alternatively, :
(colon) may be used to separate the various components. Only the final component of
coordinate can include a decimal point, and the minutes and seconds components must be
less than 60.

It is also possible to carry out addition or subtraction operations in geographic
coordinates. If the coordinate includes interior signs (i.e., not at the beginning or
immediately after an initial hemisphere designator), then the coordinate is split before
such signs; the pieces are parsed separately and the results summed. For example the
point 15" east of 39N 70W is

39N 70W+0:0:15E

WARNING: "Exponential" notation is not recognized for geographic coordinates; instead
7.0E+1 is parsed as (7.0E) + (+1), yielding the same result as 8.0E.

Various unicode characters (encoded with UTF-8) may also be used to denote degrees,
minutes, and seconds, e.g., the degree, prime, and double prime symbols; in addition two
single quotes can be used to represent ".

The other GeographicLib utilities use the same rules for interpreting geographic
coordinates; in addition, azimuths and arc lengths are interpreted the same way.


Unfortunately the characters ' and " have special meanings in many shells and have to be
entered with care. However note (1) that the trailing designator is optional and that (2)
you can use colons as a separator character. Thus 10d20' can be entered as 10d20 or 10:20
and 10d20'30" can be entered as 10:20:30.

Unix shells (sh, bash, tsch)
The characters ' and " can be quoted by preceding them with a \ (backslash); or you
can quote a string containing ' with a pair of "s. The two alternatives are
illustrated by

echo 10d20\'30\" "20d30'40" | GeoConvert -d -p -1
=> 10d20'30"N 020d30'40"E

Quoting of command line arguments is similar

GeoConvert -d -p -1 --input-string "10d20'30\" 20d30'40"
=> 10d20'30"N 020d30'40"E

Windows command shell (cmd)
The ' character needs no quoting; the " character can either be quoted by a ^ or can
be represented by typing ' twice. (This quoting is usually unnecessary because the
trailing designator can be omitted.) Thus

echo 10d20'30'' 20d30'40 | GeoConvert -d -p -1
=> 10d20'30"N 020d30'40"E

Use \ to quote the " character in a command line argument

GeoConvert -d -p -1 --input-string "10d20'30\" 20d30'40"
=> 10d20'30"N 020d30'40"E

Input from a file
No quoting need be done if the input from a file. Thus each line of the file
"input.txt" should just contain the plain coordinates.

GeoConvert -d -p -1 < input.txt


MGRS coordinates represent a square patch of the earth, thus "38SMB4488" is in zone "38n"
with 444km <= easting < 445km and 3688km <= northing < 3689km. Consistent with this
representation, coordinates are truncated (instead of rounded) to the requested precision.
Similarly, on input an MGRS coordinate represents the center of the square ("38n 444500
3688500" in the example above). However, if the -n option is given then the south-west
corner of the square is returned instead ("38n 444000 3688000" in the example above).


If the input is geographic, GeoConvert uses the standard rules of selecting UTM vs UPS and
for assigning the UTM zone (with the Norway and Svalbard exceptions). If the input is
UTM/UPS or MGRS, then the choice between UTM and UPS and the UTM zone mirrors the input.
The -z zone, -s, and -t options allow these rules to be overridden with zone = 0 being
used to indicate UPS. For example, the point

79.9S 6.1E

corresponds to possible MGRS coordinates

32CMS4324728161 (standard UTM zone = 32)
31CEM6066227959 (neighboring UTM zone = 31)
BBZ1945517770 (neighboring UPS zone)


echo 79.9S 6.1E | GeoConvert -p -3 -m => 32CMS4328
echo 31CEM6066227959 | GeoConvert -p -3 -m => 31CEM6027
echo 31CEM6066227959 | GeoConvert -p -3 -m -s => 32CMS4328
echo 31CEM6066227959 | GeoConvert -p -3 -m -z 0 => BBZ1917

Is zone is specified with a hemisphere, then this is honored when printing UTM

echo -1 3 | GeoConvert -u => 31s 500000 9889470
echo -1 3 | GeoConvert -u -z 31 => 31s 500000 9889470
echo -1 3 | GeoConvert -u -z 31s => 31s 500000 9889470
echo -1 3 | GeoConvert -u -z 31n => 31n 500000 -110530

NOTE: the letter in the zone specification for UTM is a hemisphere designator n or s and
not an MGRS latitude band letter. Convert the MGRS latitude band letter to a hemisphere
as follows: replace C thru M by s (or south); replace N thru X by n (or north).


echo 38SMB4488 | GeoConvert => 33.33424 44.40363
echo 38SMB4488 | GeoConvert -: -p 1 => 33:20:03.25N 044:2413.06E
echo 38SMB4488 | GeoConvert -u => 38n 444500 3688500
echo E44d24 N33d20 | GeoConvert -m -p -3 => 38SMB4488

GeoConvert can be used to do simple arithmetic using degree, minutes, and seconds. For
example, sometimes data is tiled in 15 second squares tagged by the DMS representation of
the SW corner. The tags of the tile at 38:59:45N 077:02:00W and its 8 neighbors are then
given by

for y in -$t +0 +$t; do
for x in -$t +0 +$t; do
echo 38:59:45N$y 077:02:00W$x
done | GeoConvert -: -p -1 | tr -d ': '


An illegal line of input will print an error message to standard output beginning with
"ERROR:" and causes GeoConvert to return an exit code of 1. However, an error does not
cause GeoConvert to terminate; following lines will be converted.


UTM Universal Transverse Mercator,

UPS Universal Polar Stereographic,

Military Grid Reference System,

World Geodetic System 1984, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WGS84>.

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