Projection Files (.prj) for ArcGIS

esriI’m still reinstalling applications after building my new killer PC. I moved into the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) apps, and I installed Trimble Pathfinder Office. Pathfinder Office is a Swiss army knife of global positioning systems (GPS) software which is used to process data collected by Trimble Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers. Pathfinder Office has a data export module that I use to transform my GPS data in ESRI shapefiles.  I always customize my export properties so they create shapfiles with consistent attributes, units, and coordinate system properties.

One aspect of setting up the export coordinate system requires that you point to a projection file (.prj) on your PC or network corresponding to the coordinate system that you wish to use for your exported shapefile.

projection files required by Trimble export

This was always a simple step, because prior to ESRI ArcGIS 10, I just browsed to the C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS\Coordinate Systems directory and then picked the appropriate .prj file.

In ArcMap 10.1 and higher, ESRI no longer installs the 4,000+ projection files as they did in earlier versions. They now use a virtual directory structure that is created by the user, typically something like:

C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\ESRI\Desktop10.2\ArcMap\Coordinate Systems.

A projection file can be saved in this directory by clicking the View menu –> Data Frame Properties menu –> Coordinate System tab, selecting the current data frame coordinate system or choosing a new coordinate system, and the clicking the gold star to add it to your favorites.

projection files in ArcGIS data frame properties

I primarily only use one projected coordinate system (NAD 1983 UTM Zone 14N) for most of my mapping, so it isn’t too big of a deal. Someone that uses a large number of coordinate systems would have to be patient creating all of their required projection files this way however.

projection files created in ESRI favorites

I am here to make your lives easier though. I still had a copy of ArcGIS 9.3, so I installed it along with the 4,011 projection files. I copied that coordinate system directory to OneDrive so it will always be available to me wherever I am. I am also making it available to you in the Downloads section of this web site.

ESRI Coordinate System Projection Files - v.9.3 - 2.16 MB


You can learn more about using coordinate systems in ArcGIS at ESRI’s web site.

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Trimble Updates TerraSync Software to Version 3.30

trimble It appears that Trimble Navigation Ltd. refreshed its TerraSync software in December 2008 to version 3.30.  TerraSync is a form-centric data collection and management software designed to run on Trimble’s GeoExplorer, Juno, Ranger, and Nomad series of handheld GPS, as well as notebook or tablets PCs.  TerraSync runs on Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003, Windows Mobile 5.6/6, Windows 2000, Windows XP (Home, Professional, or Tablet PC Edition), and Windows Vista (Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions).  TerraSync comes in Standard Edition and Professional Edition flavors.  A table comparing the relative feature sets is at http://www.trimble.com/mgismedia/product_comparison/Field%20Software.xml

The new features available in the TerraSync 3.30 upgrade include:

  • Support for Juno SB and SC handhelds
  • Enhanced support for adding image files as attributes to features
  • Integration with CoPilot Live 7 Professional for Trimble TerraSync, and TomTom Navigator 6 turn-by-turn navigation software
  • Ability to change the order of raster images in Background Files form
  • Context menus in Map screen
  • Configurable Data Update screen
  • Updated SatDGPS.ini file for recent OmniSTAR frequency changes
  • Not Connected status for External real-time sources

TerraSync 3.30 fixes the following issues:

  • Incorrect Magnetic declination calculation
  • Inaccurate height displayed in the Skyplot and Navigation screens Trimble Survey receivers not initializing correctly and displaying Linkdown message
  • Not able to output NMEA messages from Trimble Survey receivers
  • OmniSTAR position flags in SSF File were incorrect when using Omnistar XP or HP
  • The Select Server window (NTRIP table) is hard to read on devices with VGA displays
  • Some Shapefiles are not able to display as backgrounds files

Customers whose TerraSync software maintenance expiry date is on or after 2 December 2008 are eligible for a free upgrade to the new version. Use your existing installation code to upgrade to v3.30.  TerraSync v3.30 requires the GPS Pathfinder Office software v4.10

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Trimble Planning Software v2.8 is Available


You already knew this, right?  According to Trimble’s web site, version 2.8 of the Planning Software was posted in July 2008.  I was still running version 2.7.  If you aren’t familiar with Planning Software by Trimble, in a nutshell it is software that helps you identify when you will have the greatest opportunity for a successful GPS data collection mission (read lowest DOPs) based on your study site location and local conditions.  Below is a summary of features:

Trimble’s Planning software is a powerful stand-alone software tool supporting any form of analysis to determine visibility for GPS, GLONASS, IGSO and geostationary satellites.

Some of the features include:

Station location:
Pick your location from a list of cities from all over the world, select your location from the world map or type in your local WGS84 position to do more precise mission planning. Add obstructions to your site to determine the best times for GPS observation.

Multi station planning:
Put in multiple station locations to determine the best time to observe these stations simultaneously.

Sky Plots:
Get detailed sky plots (including obstructions) of your site for any time of the day to aid in determining the best available occupation times.

DOP charts:
Chart out the different DOP values by time.

Visible satellites:
Get a quick overview on the number of satellites available for your site, for any time of the day.

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