I'll link an image to this question so it'll hopefully make a bit more sense. For some background, I'm sort of a "Jack-of-all-trades" tech guy for my family company. Problems often get tossed onto my desk that I actually have no experience with, and the manager expects me to figure it out one way or another. So, here we are.

We recently won a job for a construction project, but there's one issue: There aren't any specific property pins out there where we can get a baseline to actually know where to start construction. As such, the engineer for the drawings gave me a map of the property pins with GPS coordinates so that we'd have a good survey on where to start. The only problem is this:

I can't read this.

So, based on the image, I'm seeing a lot of coordinates that I can't really just look up. I'm seeing N - 749179.87, E-1319180.70 and a bunch of actual GPS coordinates that land me in the Greenland sea when I look them up. I'm sure this really isn't a difficult problem for anyone basically versed in reading drawings, but I am not one of those people. My question is two parted:

  1. What is this system? Is it traditional GPS that I'm just using wrong, or is it some sort of Engineering GPS system stuff that I don't know about?

  2. how do I read and/or convert these so that I can use them in an everyday application, such as Google Earth?


  • 2
    $\begingroup$ UTM, but you need the grid number. $\endgroup$ Jan 5, 2021 at 21:28

2 Answers 2


What you are looking at is UTM or MTM. Similar system but they are basically Northings and Eastings and in CAD your North is your Y value and Eastings your X. The key thing to know in order to convert your Northings and Eastings to Lat and Lon or some other form that Google will recognize is to know which UTM/MTM Zone you are in. In order to figure that out you will need to know the basic location of the site on the planet. You can look up at a the UTM/MTM map and figure out which zone it is. Once you figure that part out you just need to convert it to GPS cordinates/Lat and Lon. When you do that you need to figure out which Model of the earth you want to work with. Google uses WGS 84.

UTM Maps: UTM Map

If you google "UTM MAP " you will probably find a more detailed map which will make things a little clearer.

Canada Canada UTM



Canada I personally find this one hard to read but only one I could find with a quick search

Canada MTM

A site that will help with the conversion is:


There are probably a lot of other sites that will do this as well and may be geared specifically for your area.

I have to convert MTM coordinates my company receives from our client and convert them to lat and lon for import to Google Earth so project managers can see various locations for bidding on jobs. I wrote a step by step process on how to do this so other could handle the task and not just me. Unfortunately I do not have access to that document this weekend.


That being a surveyor’s property boundary map indicates the coordinates are state plane.

State plane can be converted to geodesic (latitude/longitude) Google Earth through a conversion available at: NGS Conversion Tool


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.