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After adding several datasets to an ArcMap Data Frame, features in some layers do not align correctly with other layers.
When adding data to ArcMap, the application reads the coordinate system (projection) information stored with the dataset. When displaying multiple datasets with different coordinate systems, ArcMap will project the data 'on-the-fly' to the coordinate system that is set for the Data Frame:
• If there is no coordinate system associated with the data, or
• If the coordinate system definition is incorrect, or
• If the proper geographic (datum) transformation is not specified,
the data will not line up properly with other data displayed in the map document.
The following are suggestions for troubleshooting the cause of data alignment problems in ArcMap.
The coordinate system of the Data Frame is adopted from the first data added to the new Data Frame. If that data does not have a defined coordinate system, the map's coordinate system will be set to 'Unknown', and subsequent data added to the map cannot be projected on the fly.
Units of measure (Decimal degrees, feet, meters)
Zone (UTM coordinate system)
Zone or Fipszone (State Plane coordinate system)
geographic coordinate system (Datum)
1st standard parallel
2nd standard parallel
Latitude of origin
False easting value and units
False northing value and units