Can ModelBuilder or LoadBuilder use shapefiles that have just a defined geographic coordinate system?

Applies To
Product(s): WaterGEMS, SewerGEMS, CivilStorm, StormCAD, PondPack,  StormCAD, HAMMER, WaterCAD
Version(s): 08.11.XX.XX, 10.XX.XX.XX
Area: Layout and Data Input
Original Author: Mark Pachlhofer, Bentley Technical Support Group

Problem Description

Can ModelBuilder or LoadBuilder use shapefiles that have just a defined geographic coordinate system? (degrees of latitude and longitude)

After using ModelBuilder to import my network, the coordinates are not populated and all elements are in the same location.


ModelBuilder and LoadBuilder cannot use a shapefile that has just a geographic coordinate system defined because a geographic coordinate system only takes into account angular units (degrees or gradians). This means that there are no measured linear units, such as meters or feet, assigned to the file. ModelBuilder and LoadBuilder need a "projected" coordinate system with linear units of measure in order to build a model from a shapefile.

To resolve this you will need to project the information into a coordinate system. This will assign measurable linear units to the file after which ModelBuilder and LoadBuilder should be able to properly recognize the spatial locations of the elements. If you have access to ArcGIS, this is done using the Project tool in ArcToolbox. From ArcToolbox, go to Data Management Tools > Projections and Transformations > Project.

Next, you will get the dialog below:

Enter the shapefile you need to reproject under Input Dataset or Feature Class. A name will be automatically generated for the Output Dataset. Next, click the Spatial Reference Properties button next the Output Coordinate System field to send the coordinate system you wish to use. 

What if my model is already built?

If your model was already built and you need to move it to a new coordinate system, you will need to update the coordinate/geometry of the existing model elements to a reprojected version using the process described in this article, using ArcGIS or QGIS: Is it possible to reproject a model to a different coordinate system?

See Also

A workflow for automating the projection, which can support multiple distinct models across a variety of local projections: Importing External Data in Geographic Coordinate Systems

Is it possible to reproject a model?