State Plane Coordinate System (SPS or SPCS)

The State Plane system was created to manage data at a state level. It is only for the United States but other countries have developed similar systems for their data. Each state is divided into "zones" as needed. The zones are defined by state and county boundaries and will run north/south or east/west, which ever is better to reduce distortion within the zone. Because of the size of the states, some states will have one zone while others will have more, Alaska has 10!

The Projections

State Plane uses two different projection methods based on the shape of the zone:

Lambert Conformal Conic

Lumbert Conformal Conic

Transverse Mercator

Transverse Mercator

Naming Zones

The zones are either referred to by name:

Or by the Federal Information Processing System (FIPS) Codes.

State Plane for US


California has a large number of zones because it is a very long state.

CA State Plane

Below is an image showing the state plan zones for Calfornia for NAD 83:

California state plane zones

Below is an image showing the state plan zones for Calfornia for NAD 27. Notice the additional zone (7) for Los Angeles County.

State Plane zones for California NAD 27

Images by Matt Savoie.

Origin of the PCS

Within each zone the coordinates are referenced using a Longitude and Latitude of origin that is in the center of the zone while a "False Easting" ensures that we do not have negative easting values.

CA State Plane Zone 1

California State Plane Zone 1

Below are the projection settings for State Plane California Zone I US Feet. Notice that this contains everything we need for a PCS, except the GCS.


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